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Verizon iPhone to be offered with unlimited data plan

The $30 monthly subscription will be available for a limited time only. The wireless provider also announces that fourth-quarter earnings nearly doubled.

January 26, 2011|By Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times

Verizon Wireless is planning to offer an unlimited data plan for the Apple iPhone 4 at $30 a month, echoing a plan that AT&T initially had when it first rolled out the smart phone.

AT&T stopped offering the unlimited data plans to new customers last June, just before the fourth-generation iPhone hit its stores.

Lowell McAdam, Verizon's chief operating officer, confirmed the offer for its iPhone 4 on Tuesday.

"That's a competitive advantage for us right now," McAdam said. But the offer isn't permanent. Verizon said it planned to eventually switch to a tiered pricing like AT&T. Verizon will begin selling its version of the iPhone 4 on Feb. 10.

The iPhone 4 offer was announced shortly before Verizon Wireless parent Verizon Communications Inc. reported that its fourth-quarter earnings nearly doubled to $4.6 billion, mainly because of changes in the way it accounts for pension expenses.

Otherwise, Verizon said its revenues dipped 2.6% to $26.4 billion as it signed up fewer mobile subscribers in the quarter — 872,000 compared with 1.1 million in the year-earlier period.

One reason for the decline could have been customers waiting for the iPhone's arrival on the nation's largest mobile carrier.

In a conference call with analysts Tuesday, Verizon's chief financial officer, Fran Shammo, said the company wouldn't have the same problems with its iPhone debut that AT&T did.

"We're not going to have any flaws on the execution of the iPhone launch," Shammo said.

Verizon also said it sold 86,000 tablets in the quarter — a mix of iPads sold with 3G wireless hotspots and Samsung Galaxy Tabs sold with 3G data plans.

The company also launched its 4G LTE network in December and sold about 65,000 4G wireless modems for laptops in three weeks. The network was available in 38 major metropolitan areas and more than 60 airports. Verizon is looking to expand its 4G network to 140 more markets by the end of 2011.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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