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Verizon announces new data plans, gets rid of phone contracts in the process

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With T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint no longer forcing customers to opt for the oft-hated two-year phone contract, Verizon finally decided to join the party in earnest.

Up until now, Verizon offered customers either a phone contract or Verizon Edge, which allowed them an early upgrade to a newer phone if they pay off their current phone in full. With today’s announcement, Verizon will completely do away with two-year contracts, with Big Red giving customers the option of either paying full-price for the handset or paying for the phone through a monthly installment plan. This will make Verizon and T-Mobile the only big carriers in the U.S. to completely forgo phone contracts.

In addition, Verizon announced several new data plans while doing away with single-line and family plan options. First up is Small, which gives you 1GB of shareable data for $30 a month. Next up is Medium, which ups the monthly price to $45 while giving you 2GB of additional shareable data. Third is Large, which nets customers 6GB of shareable data for $60 a month. Finally, X-Large stays true to its name by offering customers 12GB of shareable data for $80 a month.

Regardless of which plan you choose, you can share the data with up to 10 devices. In addition, a smartphone line will now cost $20 a month, while tablet and Jetpack hotspot products will set you back $10 a month. Finally, connected devices, such as smartwatches, will cost you $5 a month.

Finally, Verizon will give customers “a simpler and more streamlined bill, making it easier to see and understand monthly charges.” Of course, this last bit is likely due to both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) levying a $90 million fine against Big Red for “mobile cramming.” This particularly nasty business practice found entities like Verizon continually adding small charges to a bill, thus inflating how much customers pay by the end of their billing cycles.

All of these changes will take effect beginning August 13.

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