NEW YORK (Reuters) - Verizon Wireless, the biggest U.S. mobile operator, will start offering a lower priced mobile data service with limited downloads on October 28, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The move by the venture of Verizon Communications (VZ.N) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L) follows smaller rival AT&T Inc’s (T.N) elimination of unlimited data service plans earlier this year, when AT&T also introduced a choice of lower-priced plans with limited downloads of items such as email or games.
Verizon Wireless has said recently it would move to tiered pricing but the company declined to comment on Tuesday.
The idea for the operators is to ensure heavy data users pay more than consumers who use little mobile data in order to attract first-time smartphone users who want to try out data services without having to commit to a big monthly fee.
The Verizon Wireless promotion will allow for fewer downloads of items such as email or games than AT&T’s lowest-price plan but, unlike AT&T, Verizon is keeping its $29.99 unlimited data service for smartphones, according to the person who asked not to be named as the company has not yet announced the promotion to consumers.
Verizon’s new offer, which will be marketed as a promotion that lasts at least through the end of December, includes 150 megabytes of data for $15, the person said.
AT&T provides 200 megabytes for the same price and another option for 2 gigabytes of downloads for $25.
According to the Verizon Wireless website, a hour of online gaming involves downloading of roughly 150 megabytes of data to a handset while sending or receiving 250 emails without attachments every day would involve roughly 73 megabytes of downloads per month, according to the site.
Consumers who open 100 web pages per day are downloading roughly 1 gigabyte of data per month, it said.
If a person on Verizon’s $15 plan goes over the limit he or she would have to pay another $15 for the same amount of data again, according to the person. This is similar to AT&T’s policy.
On the New York Stock Exchange, Verizon fell 43 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $32.16, and AT&T slid 52 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $28.10 late Tuesday afternoon.
Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Richard Chang