Verizon may expand its unlimited $50 prepaid plan

The carrier has been pleased with the initial trials of the prepaid plan and may look to launch it beyond its current markets, says The Wall Street Journal.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
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Verizon Wireless could expand its unlimited $50 prepaid plan following a small but successful trial, according to a story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal.

Known as Unleashed, the carrier's prepaid plan offers unlimited talk, texting, and Web access for $50 per month and was introduced this past April in Southern California and Florida.

"The trial has gone very, very well for us," Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said during a presentation in Boston, according to the Journal. "It didn't cannibalize the base and we actually evaluated our prepaid business and took some share."

By offering unlimited, prepaid access, Verizon's Unleashed plan presents direct competition to Sprint, which picked up Virgin Mobile in 2009 as a way to expand into this market. Sprint also offers an unlimited plan through its Boost Mobile service that starts at $50 a month but can shrink in price the longer a customer stays.

Likewise, MetroPCS sells a series of prepaid plans that range in price from $40 to $60 a month.

Despite the initial popularity of these types of plans, some of the carriers in the prepaid market have been hit by sluggish financial results lately, leading some analysts to wonder if consumer demand has been waning.

Though the Journal hinted that Verizon could expand its Unleashed plan based on the success of the trial phase, the company was mum about any future steps. Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney confirmed with CNET that, as Shammo indicated, "the company has been pleased with the results, but beyond that we don't share the specifics about the future of these plans."

CNET's guide to prepaid plans offers a look at the current options offered by several carriers.