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Verizon Wireless cuts international data charges

Simplified Verizon plan of $25 for 100MB starts on Monday for U.S. users in 120 countries

Verizon Wireless announced that its data prices Monday will drop dramatically -- to $25 for 100MB -- for U.S.-based customers traveling abroad.

Currently, Verizon's monthly charges for U.S. based users traveling to any of 130 countries $30 for 50MB, $75 for 150MB or $125 for 300MB.

The new pricing plan does eliminate the 50MB tier, but customers can now get 100MB of data for for 33% of the existing cost of the former low-end 50MB offering.

Under the new plan, once a user exceeds 100MB he or she will automatically receive another 100MB for another $25, Verizon said in a statement. Users will receive a text notification when the additional 100MB is added.

Under existing plans, any overage is billed at $0.005 per KB (or $5.12 per 1 MB), except in Canada, which is billed at $0.002 per KB (or $5.12 per MB).

Verizon called the new rates "easy-to-understand" by offering "one low cost [to] access email, browse the Web and update social networks while traveling outside the United States in 120 countries and destinations, including all of Europe, South American, the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada."

Travel to countries not in the Global Data Plan (but within Verizon's global coverage areas) will be charged on Pay Per Use rates of 2 cents per KB.

To be eligible for a Global Data plan, customers must have a domestic data package and have a payment history with Verizon. Customers must also have a so-called "global ready" phone from Verizon.

Customers can learn more about the new plan here. Verizon's global tech support team can be reached at no cost by dialing 908-559-4899 and the appropriate exit code for the country where the call originates.

A Verizon spokesman contended that the new plan the best value among U.S. wireless service providers.

Last summer, AT&T updated its global data plans when traveling in 120 countries with four tiers, starting at $25 a month for 50MB, up from 20MB for $25.

For $200 a month, customers can get 800MB at AT&T's top tier, which is equal to Verizon's new charge of $25 for 100 MB except that Verizon's rate can be applied for use of less data.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is [email protected].

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

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