Verizon has made their prepaid data plans official and they’re looking very affordable. For $30 per month, you get unlimited data which supports Verizon’s Curve 8330, 8530, Storm 9550, Tour 9630 and Bold 9650. The plans are all set to go live on September 28th, 2010. Verizon’s prepaid system also includes talk minutes for 25 cents per minute and 20 cents per text message.
Cricket Wireless is expected to carry BlackBerrys later this year, with some decent calling plans, but average data rates. There is no word on which device or price, but we do know the price isn’t to exceed $299. Cricket is a small, contract-free carrier with over 4 million users, and they it mostly covers metropolitan areas. Expect some of the following rates from Cricket:
- $30/month unlimited calling
- +$10/month unlimited text, MMS and voicemail
- $50/month email and GPS services (unsure if the above is included)
- $60/month for data in the form of “mobile video clips and 100 minutes of roaming”
BerryScoop is reporting that Verizon will be offering a BlackBerry data plan within the next 90 days as part of their prepaid service. We don’t know what devices will be available on a prepaid service, but my guess is it will be relegated to the older and cheaper devices. The data plan is rumored to run an additional $35 on top of the voice plan. Any Verizon users looking for a prepaid plan?
WIND Mobile have announced they will offer the Bold 9700 on a prepaid plan. While prepaid plans are hugely popular in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, postpaid dominates the North American markets. With no contract, the device goes for $450. This is a really decent price when you compare it to the fact that the Bold 9000 cost $680 with no contract a year ago.
Earlier this month, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 launched in India on a prepaid model. According to RIM executive Frenny Bawa, the 8520 “was designed with India in mind. It’s the lowest price BlackBerry we have ever launched and [with social networking trends in mind], it is loaded with dedicated multimedia keys and a trackpad.”
As RIM continues to grow in developing markets with great potential such as Latin America, countries such as India are key to a global strategy. According to Bawa, “India adds an average of 10 million new mobile phone subscribers a month. This is significant and, of course, RIM wants to participate in this growth.”
BlackBerry devices are selling well in India and the market could prove as a testing bed for successful sales strategies in a developing market. In the past year, RIM has increased its partners in India to 8, and tripled staff.
“One of the most significant changes is that we have tweaked our strategy to better suit the way the Indian consumer buys a smartphone,” said Bawa. RIM has partnered with Reddington India, a national distributor, to put BlackBerry devices into retail outlets across nine Indian cities instead of making them available only via carriers.
“Since then, the availability of BlackBerrys in India has mushroomed significantly,” said Bawa. “It was very obvious that we didn’t have the right distribution strategy. When we entered the Indian market [about five years ago], we were exporting the North American business model, which focused more on corporate users. Today, however, 45 per cent of our global users are consumers.”
It should be interesting to see what sort of strategies are needed to sell devices in Latin America and Africa. While prepaid is a major driving force behind sales, the price point is key as well. Perhaps we’ll see a resurgence of older models in the developing world.
Indonesian carrier Indosat recently launched some nice prepaid options for week- and month-long BlackBerry service. It’s all-you-can-thumb internet browsing, e-mail, instant messaging and whatever else you want to do with your data, just remember that it doesn’t count SMS, voice or tethering. The 7-day deal will cost 50,000 rupiahs (or $3.50), and the 30-day prepaid service goes for 175,000 rupiahs (or $20). For travelers with an unlocked BlackBerry, this is a pretty sweet deal, and even local users who only need occasional data use, the plan could come in handy. Head on over here for more info on Indosat’s BlackBerry On Demand service, or text “BIS1 BB” and your BlackBerry model number to 889 to get started.