October 28, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Now that the Droid has officially been let out of the bag, it’s time to start considering which Verizon calling plan is the best option. Verizon has a history of being one of the more expensive carriers in the United States, and the company justifies it by being – in their view – the most available and most dependable service in the country. Verizon argues that a top-notch product is worth the extra money subscribers spend in comparison to other carriers.
You, the consumer, probably don’t give two craps about that; you want a deal. However, anyone who wants the Droid next week will have to bite the bullet and sign-on to Verizon’s service. I just returned from speaking with a local Verizon store employee who told me about plan options and a temporary discount. I can’t confirm this for any market other than Miami, but Verizon is offering a $30 bill credit to anyone who signs a 2-year agreement and ports a number from another carrier. Contact your local Verizon retailer to see if a similar deal is available in your area.
The Verizon store employee also recommended that people visit their local retailer and attempt to reserve a Droid. There’s no guarantee that all stores or authorized dealers will maintain a list, but a high-profile device like this has the potential to sell out very quickly. It’s worth making an attempt to get on the list in case early morning campout lines prove too long.
While browsing the Verizon website, I saw a $39.99 per month plan for 450 minutes of talk time, unlimited mobile to mobile minutes, and unlimited night & weekend minutes that was perfect for me. At least it was until I saw that data costs $1.99 per MB and text messaging 20 cents per message. My monthly bill would be more than my car payment under those terms. Next!
I asked the store employee to help me find the cheapest solution that offers something comparable to what I have on T-Mobile – at least 300 minutes, free nights and weekends, and unlimited data/texting for $60 before local fees/taxes. The best he could do was $79.99 for 450 minutes, unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes, unlimited texting, and unlimited data.
That’s a $20 per month increase from my current plan, which isn’t that bad considering that Verizon throws in mobile-to-mobile minutes and has significantly better 3G coverage. I often visit places where T-Mobile 3G is non-existent, so I can almost warrant that extra money.
I’m not ready to pull the trigger on a switch to Verizon just yet. I’m still on the hook for an ETF with T-Mobile and will have to pay more for the Droid since I refuse to sign a 2-year contract any longer. But from a monthly perspective, switching to Verizon won’t put as much drain on my monthly budget as I suspected. You may be in the same boat depending on your current calling plan.
UPDATE: Jeff brings up an important point in the comments – ask for a corporate discount! Employees of several companies are eligible for getting a break on monthly contracts.
Note: the Verizon employee explained to me that a $29.99 unlimited data plan does not include text messaging or instant messaging, so I would have to get a Select, Connect, or Premium plan to get unlimited messaging. Verizon offers a $5 add-on that allows up to 250 messages per month.