By Dan Jenkins
@DanTJenkins

Ever get that dreadful, sinking feeling when thinking about your mobile contract?

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I do.

Mobile devices are great — I love how portable my smartphone and tablet are — but that two-year commitment feels like an eternity after about the first year or so. Wireless giant Verizon is stepping up to change the way that consumers buy and pay for their smartphones in a drastic way.

As announced on Friday, Verizon is switching gears to a more open format when it comes to selling smartphones and other mobile devices. Instead of locking you into a two-year contract, Verizon will give the option to pay the full retail price of the device up front — generally an obscene figure — or pay for it in monthly installments, as is currently done under the Edge plan.

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You can, of course, use a phone that you already own as well. Verizon will now sell data packages in tiered options — small, medium, large and extra-large.

  • Small: $30/month for 1GB of shareable data
  • Medium: $45/month for 3GB of shareable data
  • Large: $60/month for 6GB of shareable data
  • X-Large: $80/month for 12GB of shareable data

 

Each size comes with unlimited talk and text, with extra data for just $15 per GB.

“We were the first to introduce shared data plans more than three years ago, and our new S-M-L-XL options build on that success, using the insights our customers have provided since then,” VP of Consumer Pricing for Verizon Wireless Rob Miller said.

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If you like your current mobile arrangement — have no fear. Current customers can keep their existing plan or move to the new plan, with some restrictions.