Verizon Wireless is on the verge of bulking up its prepaid smartphone offerings with BlackBerry and Android-based handsets, according to reports. But, when considering that no-contract users will have to fork out full price for those handsets, and when taking into account the approximately $75 monthly fee for voice and data access, its worth asking whether Verizons strategy will pay off.
The companys plan is obvious: beat rivals to the prepaid-smartphone punch and land a ton of new customers. But, in this instance, even if you build it, will they come? The question is raised because subscribers would have to foot the entire cost of their new BlackBerry model or Motorola Droid or Samsung Fascinate or LG Ally or Palm Pre Plus or Palm Pixi Plus. Some of those devices retail for around $500 without carrier subsidies. Add in the minimum $75 per month and, despite the absence of a contract and early termination fees, the deal doesnt look so good for consumers.
That Verizon wants to improve its prepaid device selection is a smart move. Service providers have a terrible array of next-gen handsets for prepaid users, many of whom want to be part of the smartphone craze. They just dont want to commit to contracts and cancellation fees. Still, will they be willing to cough up hundreds of dollars for devices? The answer remains anybodys guess but since Verizon reportedly will announce its prepaid-smartphone lineup any day now, well soon find out.