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Verizon adding fee on older wireless plans

A Verizon Wireless retail store in Griffin, Spalding County, Georgia.
A Verizon Wireless retail store in Griffin, Spalding County, Georgia. (Photo by Michael Rivera via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

Verizon is tacking on a maintenance fee on some of its older wireless plans that are no longer offered for sale.

The $2 fee will start appearing on bills in April for customers who are grandfathered in to some of Verizon’s older unlimited data plans, including Beyond Unlimited, Go Unlimited and the legacy Verizon Unlimited plan.

A version of the Beyond Unlimited plan for some senior customers over the age of 55 will also be impacted by the new fee.

A Verizon spokesperson justified the fee as needed “to account for the added cost of maintaining these legacy plans.”

Traditionally, wireless companies like Verizon have introduced new plans with adjusted rates and additional features while allowing existing customers who are on older plans to keep them with some price stability.

By introducing the maintenance fee, Verizon can recoup some of the cost associated with keeping long-term customers on older plans, without technically admitting to raising the rate of their plan. The rate itself stays the same, but customers wind up paying more anyway through surcharges and fees.

Customers on older Verizon plans who might be impacted by the fee should review their phone and data usage to see if other plans might better suit their needs.

For instance, families that stream a lot of content on Hulu and Disney Plus might want to switch their plan to Verizon 5G Play More, which starts at $66 per month (with Autopay, plus taxes and fees) for one line of service, a price that decreases on a per-line basis if more lines are added to an account. Verizon 5G Play More includes free access to Disney Plus, Hulu Plus and ESPN Plus, as well as a six-month free trial of Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass, coupled with unlimited wireless data and 50 GBs of premium network data.

Verizon customers who want a no-frills wireless plan at the lowest possible price should consider switching to Visible, a prepaid wireless phone service owned by Verizon. Visible starts at $30 a month (taxes and fees included) for one line of service, and includes unlimited 5G wireless data that runs on Verizon’s nationwide 5G network. Currently, the service is offering a “welcome discount” that drops the price to $25 a month.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).