A HowardForums user has confirmed weeks of speculation concerning Verizon’s reported plan to force new customers who wish to purchase smart devices such as the XV6900 or the forthcoming Samsung Saga on data plans regardless of the customer’s desire for the plan.
Beginning November 14th, new customers who purchase BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices will be required to add on a $30 or higher smartphone data plan in order to purchase the devices and use 3G data. As a further anti-consumer practice, Verizon will be eliminating the option to block 3G data access from such devices (for those that prefer using Wi-Fi access exclusively in lieu of 3G if the device supports it) as well as disabling pay as you go data and 10MB access plans.
This initiative will also be expanded in 2009 to include feature phones with HTML browsers, with Verizon forcing $15 or higher data plans for those devices. Â It remains to be seen whether these changes will reduce customer confusion which is the intention of the move, or drive savvy consumers away from the carrier for its business practices.