VZ Wireless Slashes Broadband Price

Hoping to entice voice customers to add data service, Verizon Wireless has cut the price of its broadband service by 25 percent.

That means customers can get the carrier’s BroadbandAccess offering for $59.99 per month rather than from $79.99.

The reduced rate is good through Dec. 31 and requires a two-year contract. Users who are not Verizon Wireless voice customers can still pay $79.99 per month for standalone data services.

“We’ve got the scale, experience and now are reaching out in a national fashion to wireless customers — in fact, national advertising for BroadbandAccess will begin today on television,” said Jeffrey Nelson, a Verizon Wireless spokesman.

In conjunction with the price promotion, Verizon Wireless, which is owned by regional telecom Verizon and U.K. carrier Vodafone , also switched added seven new markets for Broadband Access.

They are the technology hotbeds of Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and San Francisco, plus Baton Rouge, La., Denver, and Sacramento, Calif.

Broadband Access, which runs over the company’s Evolution-Data Optimized network (EV-DO), is now available in more than 60 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless said that it’s ahead of schedule in rolling out broadband service.

It hasn’t said how many markets it plans to be in, but Nelson said the goal is to cover about half the U.S. population.

Verizon Wireless’ broadband moves comes as the U.S. mobile market is being reshaped by mergers.

For example, Sprint’s purchase of Nextel and Cingular’s acquisition of AT&T Wireless have created deep-pocketed rivals with tens of millions of customers each.

The carriers are keen on providing high-speed wireless connections via third-generation networks. The systems allow them to sell additional content and applications such as games and streaming audio and video.

For example, Verizon Wireless’ VCast multimedia service sells for $15 per month and requires a BroadbandAccess connection.

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