A few weeks ago, I mentioned how Verizon Wireless had added a new Global Bundle to their international options, allowing you to receive minutes, text messages allotment and data for a bundled price. The new bundle plans were implemented in early March and I had the chance to trial the plan in London.
As a reminder, here’s what the plan looks like:
Previously, you paid per minute for phone calls and the only option available was a “discount package” where you could pay a premium to receive a discount off of the minutes, but that it was still charged a hefty (usually) $.89 cents a minute, which is astronomical.
By adding on $15 a month, you’ll receive 100 minutes and 100 sent texts. If this isn’t enough, you can pay $35 and receive 250 minutes, 250 sent texts and unlimited received texts.
When you make and receive calls, they go in and out of your regular, US number. So, when a friend calls you, it rings directly on your phone, and when you call them, their caller ID shows your number. Further, you’re only deducted minutes when you’re actually on a call. The “standby time” when folks aren’t calling you aren’t counted. So, as soon as you hit the “answer” button, the clock starts.
Arriving in London, I switched on my phone and found it immediately connect to a local Vodafone signal and 3G data. I made a few phone calls to test out the signal strength, and it was pretty good – just as clear as in the US. Because I had subscribed to the global bundle for $15, I received 100 minutes free, and every minute over is $.25, which, while expensive, isn’t nearly as expensive as some other plans. Plus, I think it’s important to call out of my normal cell phone number, and receive calls the same way, too. For data, I had a 3G signal, and noticed that with low to average consumption, I was using about 100MB a day (at home, I have a 10GB plan a month, so you can tell I was using the internet and email sparingly). The data does a recurring billing at $25 for every 100MB used, which, while convenient, is still expensive. It does come with a convenience factor, though, and by turning off app updates and other heavy consumption items, I can surely reduce the amount of consumption to lessen the cost.
Here’s the big thing for me why I think I’m going to stick with using this service – convenience. There’s no SIM cards to buy, no activation processes needed, and no extraneous work. I simply add the service to my plan, and away I go. Everything else is taken care of from there, and all it takes is simply switching the cell signal on and off to receive service.
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