Great news for those who love to yap: Verizon Wireless is slashing the price of its unlimited voice plan, from $99.99 to $69.99 per month on January 18.
Additionally, unlimited family voice plans will cost $119.99 per month. Unlimited text and voice will cost $89.99 per person and 149.99 per family (more details here).
Data users, unfortunately, are getting no love. 3G smartphones, such as Android and Blackberry phones, will still require a $30 per month data plan. Also, a mandatory plan of $9.99 per month for 25 MB of data will apply to more phones than ever, including the LG Chocolate Touch, LG enV3, LG VX8360, Motorola Entice W766, Nokia 7705 Twist and Samsung Alias 2.
I won't get on a pulpit and demand cheaper data plans -- although it'd be nice - but Verizon's strategy seems funny. Chief executive Lowell McAdam said in a conference call that the carrier's plan is to build up a 3G subscriber base now so that over the next two years, customers can be sold on 4G Long Term Evolution technology, which is rolling out this year.
So, why the emphasis on voice? My best guess is that people who sign up for unlimited talk, now $30 cheaper than before, might be more inclined to get a phone that requires a $10 data plan. Then, when it's time for a new phone, and they've gotten used to having the Internet in their pockets, they'll upgrade to a 4G phone, possibly with a pricier plan.
Still, Verizon's price changes do nothing for people who don't talk incessantly on their cell phones, nor are they a lure to existing smartphone users. But with Verizon carrying the Droid, Palm's upcoming Pre and Pixi Plus and eventually Google's Nexus One, perhaps the carrier doesn't need another influx of bandwidth hogs right now anyway.