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Verizon Wireless gets rid of monthly fee for smartphone users live streaming NFL games

Deals Verizon Wireless is giving football fans one more reason to be excited about the upcoming NFL season. The carrier announced Thursday that its smartphone customers can now live stream local Sunday afternoon games, along with all Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football games — all for free. On top of that, NFL Network is also available; users need only download the NFL mobile from Verizon app.

In addition to regular season games, Verizon Wireless will also live stream select preseason games. Users will be able to watch two games on Sept. 3: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the Miami Dolphins at 7 p.m. EDT; and the San Diego Chargers vs. the San Francisco 49ers at 10 p.m. EDT. Those who want still more football can purchase NFL RedZone through Verizon Wireless for $1.99 a month, giving them access to a channel with “whip-around” coverage of key moments in games across the league.

Related: CBS will live stream select NFL regular season games, playoffs, and Super Bowl 50

Customers will, of course, have to keep their cellular network data usage in mind, but this marks the first time that Verizon Wireless has made such streaming free to all smartphone users. Previously, most customers’ plans required an additional monthly fee of $5 to live stream NFL games. By getting rid of the added expense, the wireless provider is creating a strong incentive for fans of America’s most popular sport to possibly increase their data plans.

Verizon Wireless hyped the news on Twitter on Sept. 2, just in time to get the word out prior to the two preseason games the company will live stream the following evening.

Related: Twitter, NFL expand social partnership for new football season

Verizon Wireless is currently in the midst of a four-year deal with the NFL that goes through 2017, giving the company exclusive U.S. mobile streaming rights to the league’s games on smartphones.