Verizon has changed the way its prepaid plans work.
Called ALLSET (because you’re all set, get it? oh, Verizon…), the new system starts at $45 per month. That’s not the cheapest prepaid smartphone plan we’ve seen, not by a long shot, but it does bring unlimited anytime minutes and unlimited text messaging to all subscribers.
It’s when data comes into the picture that things start to get interesting.
The new ALLSET plans use what Verizon is calling Bridge data. Basically, you pick one of these buckets of data, use it until it’s gone, and then buy some more. The structure of this is very similar to how discount carriers offer prepaid calling and texting, with a set number of minutes or messages that you can use as you see fit.
Bridge data plans are a little complex, so we’ll try to break things down.
By default, you get 500MB of data every month, included with your $45 ALLSET monthly access fee. This data is use-it-or-lose-it; you won’t get to roll it over every month to save up for an extended usage period.
The Bridge data buckets, however, can be rolled over each month. Let’s say you’re an ALLSET subscriber. Between some mobile Netflix and downloading a few apps, you blow through your 500MB monthly data allowance on March 8th, leaving you 3 more weeks until things reset. You decided to buy a 1GB data bucket, giving you a full 1GB of data to use until the month turns. Between March 9th and April 1st, you only use 450MB of this data, leaving 550MB left over.
That 550MB is what gets rolled over to the next calendar period. Now it’s April, and you have another 500MB of data to use, as well as your left over 550MB bucket plan. If you use only 400MB of data that month, you’d have a full 550MB you could roll over into May.
And so on. As the table above suggests, Verizon gives you 30 days to use your 500MB data buckets, and 90 days to use your 1GB or 3GB data buckets. You can even purchase multiple buckets at once, so you never have to worry about running out of data; the expiration date for your data bucket doesn’t begin ticking down until you use all of a previously purchased data tier.
New dumbphone subscribers on Verizon’s ALLSET network will be subject to the same plans – though they’ll also have access to a $35 tier that cuts the unlimited voice calling down to just 500 minutes per month.
It’s difficult to say how successful Verizon’s new plans may be at this point in time – they’re pricier than discounted alternatives, but they do offer a security and peace of mind thanks to Verizon’s super widespread coverage.
Our current favorite prepaid Verizon smartphone is the Moto G, which you can pick up from Best Buy or VZW’s website for just $100 – it only has 3G, but that’s fine, considering Verizon restricts prepaid customers to using only 3G data, even if the phone is LTE-compatible.