Verizon Wireless has a promotion running in November that doubles the data allowance for 4G phones. This is a great deal compared to competitors, and it comes with Verizon’s excellent 4G LTE coverage and performance. But it only applies to smartphones, not MiFi “mobile broadband” devices, and the offer ends in December. Let’s hope they offer similar promotions for 4G data devices in the future!
My Verizon 4G LTE Update
I recently tested the various 4G data offerings from the major US mobile providers. After flirting with Clear’s WiMax I decided to purchase a Novatel MiFi 4510L from Verizon. The Verizon LTE network is just all-around better: Much faster (especially for uploads), much more consistent indoors, and even better coverage as 2011 wears on.
I’ve been reasonably happy with my choice since then: The service performs well and 4G is available in most of the cities I visit. Even when I’m outside the 4G service area I can use Verizon’s 3G network. Performance remains solid, with 5 Mbps or more up and down in most places, and four times that in some.
The Novatel device is a little less impressive, though. I’ve had a weird issue where it doesn’t present a WiFi SSID sometimes, an issue I’m working with Verizon support to resolve. I wish it was USB tetherable, but it refuses to connect this way. And it would be very useful if it included a data meter inside instead of forcing me to use Verizon’s web site to check my usage!
Upgrade Your 4G Account
The only real issue I’ve had with the Verizon service is how easy it is to burn through the 5 GB data allowance. At a realistic 5 Mbps of throughput, it’s possible to use up the entire monthly package in less than a day. Connect in a high-speed area (I’ve seen 20 Mbps or more) and you can do it in just a few hours!
When I saw that Verizon was offering double data through November, I decided to call support and ask to have the offer applied to my MiFi data plan. Sadly, they refused to do this. The supervisor I spoke to was very helpful but insistent that it just isn’t possible to get double data on a mobile broadband device.
Still, if you’re interested in getting a 4G phone, the offering is enticing. A 10 GB allowance for $50 per month is very competitive with today’s metered offerings from Sprint, Clear, and AT&T. It might even beat the grandfathered “unlimited” plans from those other carriers, since most will throttle speed once a threshold is reached. This is 10 GB of real, full-speed data!
Sadly, Verizon’s official mobile hotspot add-on is still capped at 2 GB. This won’t stop jailbreakers or Android hackers, though, and they’ll get the whole 10 GB to share.
The service rep also said this was only for new customers, but hinted it was possible to add it to existing 4G smartphone accounts.
Unlimited mobile data is a thing of the past, so it’s good to see a company at least flirting with increasing data plan allowances. Hopefully this is a sign that more data liberalization is coming! For now, if you’re thinking about buying a Verizon 4G smartphone, make sure you get this “double data” plan. And if you’re an existing customer, call support and ask to have it added!