Verizon opts to keep unlimited data plan in its first LTE phone


Verizon said in its announcement that the ThunderBolt comes with a voice plan that starts at $39.99 a month in addition to the $29.99 unlimited data plan. However, there are other options for data on the ThunderBolt that are not easy to find on Verizon's Web site, including an unlimited data plan for corporate customers that costs $44.99 a month and provides service for several e-mail accounts behind a firewall.

Raney also said that if a customer wants to use the ThunderBolt solely for data, the device must be purchased unlocked with a data service plan of $49.99 a month for 5GB. Various sources have put the unlocked price of the ThunderBolt at $669.99. Verizon sells the 2.2 ThunderBolt with a 4.3-in. screen for $249.99 with a two-year service agreement, although online retailer Wirefly is charging $199.99 with a two-year agreement.

Also, Verizon customers on a data plan that costs $15 for 150 MB per month can move that plan to the ThunderBolt, although that plan is no longer offered to new customers, Raney said.

Verizon has taken a different approach to data costs for tablet devices such as the 2 and Motorola Xoom, offering four tiers of service that start at $20 per month for 1GB and top out at $80 for 10GB. Tablets do not require a long-term service agreement. Overage charges on the range from $20 for 1GB on the entry-level plan, but the other three plans charge $10 for 1GB of overage.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at or subscribe to . His e-mail address is .