Verizon Targets 'Heavy Data' Users With Rate Plans

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Aiming to make its recently launched 3G 1XRTT Express Network more appealing to business customers, Verizon Wireless this week unveiled alternative rate plans based on the amount of data transmitted rather than minutes used. The company also plans a significant expansion of the network beginning next month.

The Express Network is a wireless data network capable of data transmission speeds up to 144 kbps. Verizon Wireless launched the network in the Northeast U.S. in late January as an add-on service that allows high-speed Web connectivity on mobile phones, laptops and PDAs.

Since the launch, Verizon claims many business customers and individual consumers in current Express Network markets are averaging speeds of between 40 and 60 kbps, with many achieving speeds up to 144 kbps.

The new pricing plan is an appeal to heavy data users. It offers rate plans that start at $35 a monthly for 10 MB, $55 a month for 20 MB, and tiers up to 150 MB. Users of the plan will pay the same amount, no matter how long it takes to download the same amount of data. Verizon said the $35 a month for 10 MB plan would allow users to download the equivalent of thousands of e-mails or hundreds of Web pages.

"Our corporate customers who are heavy data users will find value in these per-megabyte rate plans," said John Stratton, vice president and chief marketing officer of Verizon Wireless.

Also, beginning on April 2, Verizon Wireless plans to expand its network into a number of additional markets, including more Northeast cities, several metropolitan areas in the Midwest and several cities in the South. Verizon said the expansion would make its Express Network available on one-third of the Verizon Wireless footprint.

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