Verizon may soon increase its prices for new wireless customers, as well as for existing subscribers who want to opt into the new fee structure that increases how much data they can consume in a month.
The company could expand its smallest data plan from 1 gigabyte to 2GB and charge $35 per month, up from $30 today, according to a report by CNET. Also seeing a $5-per-month increase will be Verizon's medium-size plan, which is currently capped at 3GB per month but will rise to 4GB. And for each of Verizon's large, extra-large and XXL plans, the company will hike its rates by $10 a month, and will give customers an extra 2GB, 4GB and 6GB of data every month, respectively.
The expanded pool of data means that customers will be able to stream more Netflix or Spotify on mobile devices without fear of going over the limit. And for subscribers on Verizon's largest data plans, the company will give away a new app that will keep customers from blowing past the cap, according to CNET. Customers on smaller data plans — "large" and below — will need to pay $5 a month for this app if they want it, the report said.
Americans are increasingly abandoning their wired home Internet and opting for mobile-only options, federal statistics suggest. And as the pace of adoption grows, it's no surprise to see wireless carriers looking to make even more money off their lucrative networks.
Verizon is also poised to bid in a historic auction of wireless airwaves that will lead to upgraded cellular networks and new opportunities for fast, reliable 5G mobile data. To compete in the auction, Verizon will need lots of money. Recently, the carrier announced it was rolling out a new type of bond that will be backed by cellphone users' own contracts. It is expected to launch in the third quarter. Between that and the amount of new money it could raise from increasing rates, analysts say it's plausible that these moves are aimed at funding its bids in the auction.
A representative for Verizon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.