Verizon on Thursday unveiled a new time-based data option that offers customers unlimited 4G LTE data in 30 and 60 minute increments.
Dubbed PopData, the feature offers customers instant but temporary access to all the high-speed data they can use in a short amount of time. PopData currently includes options to purchase 30 minutes of unlimited data for $2 or 60 minutes for $3. The feature is currently available on Android smartphones and Apple’s iPhone and iPad through the MyVerizon app.
Droid Life originally reported on the launch.
According to Verizon spokeswoman Kelly Crummey, PopData is meant to be used for on-the-spot download needs or as a secure alternative to Wi-Fi. Prime examples of where PopData might come in handy include when families with kids in the car want to stream data but don’t want it to count against their monthly allowance or travelers need to quickly download a movie in the airport before boarding their flight, Crummey said.
To use PopData, customers can go into the Data Meter section of the MyVerizon app and tap the PopData option under “Get More Data.” The service gives users a 5-minute window to start their purchased session or the opportunity expires. PopData sends users push notifications to let customers know when their session has started, when there are 5 minutes left and when it has ended so they know whether or not they’re using data from their monthly allowance.
The feature does, however, come with some network capacity restrictions, meaning customers will only be able to access the feature when extra capacity is available on the network. Since network capacity depends on location, customers must enable location services to use PopData.
“This is one of the services that’s based on network capacity, Crummey said. “So customers might see it available if they’re accessing the Verizon app in one place, but might otherwise not see it if they’re in a heavily congested area.”
If a PopData session is started an area with 4G LTE coverage but the user moves into 3G or 1X coverage, Verizon said the customer will still receive unlimited data, but at slower speeds. Sessions lengths are not interrupted based on coverage availability, meaning the 30 or 60 minute limit applies even if you move in and out of coverage.
PopData is not designed to replace data plans and carriers a monthly limit of $100 worth of sessions, Crummey said. Customers who don’t typically use data heavy applications would be better off adding an extra gigabyte to their data plan if more frequent usage is expected, she said.
Crummey said Thursday’s launch was a beta roll out of the service – meaning it’s not yet available to all Verizon customers. The limited release, though, will help Verizon assess demand for and response to the product, Crummey said.
“The beta launch of PopData gives us an opportunity to learn more about how time-based data options resonate with our customers and how they engage with a digital-only experience through the My Verizon app,” she said.
Crummey said Verizon is not disclosing any timeline for a mass roll out of PopData.