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Verizon launches Yahoo! Mobile, a no-frills unlimited phone service

(Image: Yahoo!, Graphic: The Desk)

Verizon has launched a new wireless phone service under the Yahoo! brand that offers unlimited talk, text and data for just $40 a month.

Yahoo! Mobile is Verizon’s second attempt to bring $40 prepaid phone service to the masses just over a year after introducing a similar MVNO called Visible.

Both Yahoo! Mobile and Visible offer unlimited talk, texting and mobile data on Verizon’s 4G LTE network with no cap on how much high-speed data a customer can use. Like with most prepaid services, Verizon says it can throttle speeds during times of high congestion; the fine print on Yahoo! Mobile’s offering says speeds could drop to as low as 5 Mb/s when connected to a network that is experiencing high volumes of traffic.

Like with Visible, customers can purchase a phone through Yahoo! Mobile or bring their own compatible phone, which includes most newer Apple iPhones and some Android devices. For bring-your-own-device customers, Yahoo! Mobile is offering to mail free SIM cards via FedEx next-day shipping at no cost. Customers are allowed to keep their existing phone number through a port-in or choose a new one.

In a statement on Wednesday, a Verizon executive said offering wireless service under the Yahoo! brand made sense because the company is a “really trusted brand.”

Unlike Visible, Yahoo! Wireless requires customers to sign up for a free Yahoo! account if they don’t already have one. The likely intent is to offer wireless service through Verizon that props up Yahoo!’s other offerings, including its news, stocks and email portals.

One incentive for switching to Yahoo! is the company’s inclusion of Yahoo! Mail Pro, a premium email service that eliminates advertisements and tracking bugs, offering a deeper sense of privacy compared to similar free email offerings from Google and Microsoft. Yahoo! Mobile customers are encouraged to use Yahoo! Mail Pro as part of their service, but Verizon says their service will also work without it.

Verizon is also offering free access to Yahoo! Account Pro, a 24/7 concierge service that helps customers with various Yahoo! account-related problems, including account lockouts and forgotten passwords.

The wireless company says it’s able to offer all of this for $40 a month because it doesn’t have traditional brick-and-mortar stores or sales representatives pushing Yahoo! Mobile. The savings is passed along to customers in the form of cheaper rates without skimping on quality, Verizon says.

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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).