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Tuesday May 24, 2011 11:12 am

Verizon Usage Controls lets you monitor data, prepares you for end of unlimited use?

Verizon Wireless logoWhat does a wireless carrier do when it expects to cancel its unlimited data plan? Offer a data management service.

Verizon, which said in March that it plans to do away with its unlimited data plans by this summer, launched a Verizon Wireless Usage Controls service on Monday, with the ability to set usage allowances, place restrictions on when kids and other members can use their phones, and even block numbers.

Usage Controls is available for $4.99 per month per line, which is added to a customer's monthly service plan, Verizon said.

"Summer vacation means more time for the youngest customers who use Verizon Wireless phones to send and receive messages, download and use apps and games, surf the Web, and make calls on their cell phones," Verizon said. "But, with a few tools from Verizon Wireless, summertime doesn't have to mean unexpected high wireless bills."

With the usage allowances, customers can set limits for voice minutes and messages; Verizon said that it will send a text message when the limits are nearly reached. Parents can also limit voice, messaging, and even data usage during designated times.

Finally, the primary account holder can also designate up 20 numbers to block; or, conversely, whitelist 20 numbers that can always be dialed, even if dialing the number is in a prohibited time period set up using the time restrictions. 411 calls can be blocked, as can numbers that don't identify themselves. 911 calls will always go through, Verizon said.

Verizon also said that it was currently expanding its next-generation, 4G LTE service to 21 more markets by June 16. The new markets include the San Francisco Bay Area; Boise, Idaho; Madison, Wisconsin; and other areas.

This article, written by Mark Hachman, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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