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Verizon Wireless Rolls Out New Phone And Painful Pricing Scheme

Samsung's TouchWiz-toting touch phone -- the Rogue -- went on sale today with Verizon Wireless. This feature-laden phone only costs about $100, but it is the first feature phone (non-smartphone) to require a minimum monthly data plan with Verizon.
Samsung's TouchWiz-toting touch phone -- the Rogue -- went on sale today with Verizon Wireless. This feature-laden phone only costs about $100, but it is the first feature phone (non-smartphone) to require a minimum monthly data plan with Verizon.Take a quick glance at the Rogue, and you'll see a pretty typical touch phone from Samsung. It boasts Samsung's own TouchWiz user interface, which has a customizable home screen. The touch screen measures 3.1 inches and, rather than an LCD, is an AMOLED display. AMOLED displays have better battery life than other display types.

The Rogue also has some decent specs, including a 3 megapixel camera, full HTML Web browser, stereo Bluetooth, GPS, support for microSD cards up to 16GB, and all the requisite services from Verizon Wireless.

This is all great, but it comes with an interesting surprise. Up until now, customers could get away with buying a device such as this and avoid data costs. (That is, if they don't actually use any data.) In other words, Verizon Wireless doesn't force those who buy feature phones to subscribe to a monthly data plan as they do with smartphones. Most smartphones require a $20 to $40 monthly data plan to cover the costs of delivering mobile email, Web pages, Web-based services and so on. Any "regular" phone is exempt from those charges.

The Rogue changes everything. What's funny is that Verizon seems to be proud of it. The press release says it all:

"The Samsung Rogue will serve as the flagship phone for the company's new data pricing option available to customers beginning today. The new data pricing gives Verizon Wireless customers more freedom to select how much data and the type of data they want to use. Samsung Rogue customers who want to check e-mail; surf the Web; and download applications, games or ringtones will be able to select either a 25 MB for $9.99 monthly access option or a 75 MB for $19.99 monthly access option to couple with their Nationwide plan."

For most users who do actually consume mobile data, these new pricing options might help save a few dollars, or it might not. It depends a lot on how much mobile data you use. For those who shy away from using mobile data services entirely, this device isn't for you.