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Verizon Wireless to offer a tiered $15 data plan

verizon-wireless-moneybagVerizon Wireless will offer a restricted, less expensive data plan for its smartphone users on Oct. 28, reports Engadget. The move is an obvious nod to AT&T, which began tiering its data plans some months back. Verizon customers can now pay $15 for 150MB of data access. If a user exceeds this arbitrary limit, a 10 cent charge is added for each additional megabyte. In essence, Verizon is charging 10 cents a megabyte, with a $15 minimum fee. ¬†The carrier will, however, continue to offer “unlimited” data access for $29.99.

Unfortunately, it is very easy to eat through 150MB of data on a smartphone. Watching a few YouTube videos, browsing a few websites, and downloading a podcast or two will easily surpass the 150MB minimum. Many users may end up paying more than $30 in overages if they use their phone too much.

AT&T made a similar move in June when it eliminated its “unlimited” $29.99 data plan in favor of a $15 plan that includes 200MB and a $25 plan with 2GB of data. The company charges an additional $15 if the 200MB plan users go over the limit, which buys 50MB more, and an additional $10 if the 2GB users go over, which buys another 1GB of data. (We’ve got a breakdown of AT&T’s prices here.)

Verizon is also eliminating its $9.99 for 25MB plan for regular phones. Those users can now purchase the $15 and $30 plans, or pay $1.99 per MB. Netbook and laptop modem users can choose between 5GB for $50 and 10GB for $80. iPad users will get 1GB for $20, while other tablets are priced at 1GB for $10.

Confused by all the numbers? We are too. With an expanding array of devices and services, AT&T and Verizon’s plans keep getting more complex and inconsistent. With the introduction of 4G just around the corner, pricing will likely get worse before it improves.