Droid Users: Accessing Exchange Will (Naturally) Cost You


This may not come as a surprise to many – those of you a little more familiar with Smartphone Plans on the Big Red – but to the rest, fair warning:  If you plan to use ActiveSync to connect Exchange you can expect to pay a little more.

“The industry is abuzz over the Motorola Droid, the first Google Android 2.0-based smartphone, to be released on Friday, Nov. 6, in the United States, with network access provided by Verizon Wireless. But users who buy the device and expect to use its built-in Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support to get corporate e-mail from Exchange servers will have to pay an additional $15 per month for the privilege, Verizon confirms.”

As mentioned, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to subscribers who are already using a VZW smartphone for this, as the article goes on to say:

“Verizon offers three data plans for Droid customers: $30 month on top of your voice plan’s rate for non-Exchange usage, $45 per month on top of your voice plan’s rate for Exchange usage, and $50 per month total cost for a data-only plan (whether or not you use it to access Exchange). Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney notes that the requirement to get the $45 “smartphone plan” for corporate e-mail usage applies to any smartphone, such as the BlackBerry — not just to the Droid. “The Droid is primarily a consumer phone,” Raney adds.”

….Full Article Here.

[Via InfoWorld]

UPDATE: VZW Clarifies.


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  1. Here we go…step one of the Verizon-ising of Android. Glad I’d already decided to wait before diving in. Can’t wait to see what other ways they find to nickel-and-dime us to death.

  2. Wondering what effect this will have on already-existing Exchange applications? Will they shut these down somehow?

  3. Not too bad i guess, could be worst. I’ll be sticking with the 30 bucks a month plan.

  4. I wonder if this will happen to other networks that release the Droid/Tao/Milestone/Sholes/Whatever-it’s-called especially in other countries.

    In the UK $30-$45 for a dataplan would be crazy. max dataplan I can think of is like £5 which is about $7.50, and thats not even the norm most networks just seem to bundle it in free with the contract.

  5. $15/month? That’s crazy. I guess they figure it’s mostly corporate accounts that won’t blink an eye at it.
    Curious though.. does AT&T do something similar? Or does their $30/mo data plan include Exchange?

  6. Verizon, I have a blade with your name on it.

  7. Who cares? Exchange sucks, and these aren’t corporate phones. This phones target audience as per Verizon, is males age 15-35 yrs old. I.e Tech geeks.

    Tech geeks don’t use Exchange. They prefer Gmail. I’m fine with this for sure.

  8. So is use of a Gmail account no extra charge? (if so, how very big of VZ)

  9. @Quixand:
    For me, it’s not about how it affects me directly. It’s just a sign that Verizon is never going to stop squeezing every last penny from it’s customers for features that the manufacturer put into the phone.

    Didn’t Verizon themselves say:
    “You either have an open phone, or you don’t”?

    Well, Verizon, it’s obvious where you stand in that one.

  10. Just another $15…

    I remember when my entire phone bill was $15! (yes, Im old)

  11. @webby: Gmail’s free, yes. :)

  12. Well gum used to be a nickel too.

  13. This has been a policy of Verizon’s for how long now? It’s also been discussed ad nauseum on HoFo for example. For most people needing this, and I’m one, it’s just an expense the corporation will pick up anyhow.

  14. @Quixand
    Um, please shut up. I am a male between 15-35, and am very much a tech geek, and use Gmail. I also happen to work for an ASP hosting company (note: “tech geek” is my profession, not just my lifestyle), and I want to be able to access my work email on our Exchange server. Also, if you are saying that Exchange sucks for personal use, I would agree only because it’s extreme overkill (it’s hands down the best corporate email system available), but it’s pointless to make that comparison because nobody would pay hundreds of dollars to run their own Exchange server for personal email, and no consumer email services use Exchange.

    That said, I am thoroughly disgusted with Verizon’s policy on this rate plan. I can understand them charging extra for the Blackberry email service, because RIM charges money for that, but Verizon does NOT host any Exchange servers. You are paying $15/month just for Verizon to open a network port that allows you to access your company’s Exchange server. THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN! YOU ARE PAYING VERIZON TO DO NOTHING!!! Exchange data is data not unlike any other data out there. At most, this should be $5/month, not $15, but really should cost $0. Unfortunately, I’m going to be stuck paying this, because I want my work email, and I’m not yet in a position at my company where they will pay for my phone/plan. =(

  15. “Exchange sucks, and these aren’t corporate phones.”

    Believe it or not, some tech geeks work for a living. Some of us have to use Exchange for work email.
    Not to worry… There are workarounds. You can get apps that run on a work machine and relay your MS data to your google account, and then you get your MS data in your google acct (Emails and calendar data) all on your phone.

  16. Good ‘ol Brenda says, “Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney notes that the requirement to get the $45 “smartphone plan” for corporate e-mail usage applies to any smartphone, such as the BlackBerry — not just to the Droid.”

    Really, last time I checked the BIS plan on my Blackberry (in which I get my work email from) it cost me $30. Also, my wife who does not have exchange email pays $30, so what the heck is she talking about. Maybe BES is $45.

    Also, those that have AT&T are getting their exchange email for $30 on their iPhone. I thought VZW was actually trying to keep me as a customer (as I was going to get the Droid) but it looks like they actually want me to switch to AT&T. Go Figure.

  17. HEY BRAD – switch to AT&T. That’s what Verizon is begging you to do. Like you said, there no reason to pay $360 more for a 2 year contract just to have VZW open a network port for you. Your other option is to get a blackberry and use BIS and it only cost you $30/mo instead of the crazy $45/mont that they want to charge. I am lucky enough to have my company pay for my phone but I am not going to have them pay $360 over the next 2 years for this.

  18. @brad: +1. Quixand sounds a bit clueless.

    I wonder if an Android app can pull from OWA instead of the traditional Exchange ports. No matter how much Verizon wants to make an extra buck off business uers, they can’t stop 443 in any practical sense. Can TouchDown use OWA?

  19. This is nothing new. Verizon has always has 2 data plans. $30 for unlimited data and $45 for unlimited data using exchange. There are ways around it. You can do anything you want with the $30 plan.

  20. @brad

    You do have a choice. You DON’T have to get the droid. And in my personal opinion it’s kind of insulting that Verizon would tack on this $15/mo. charge. I’m going to hold onto my money, thank you very much.

  21. I doubt they have an actual way to prevent exchange access. Activesync works through a web-mail server.. there is literally no way that they could prevent this from working on the $30 data plan.

  22. That’s what AT&T iPhone plan was like, and nobody cared — just buy the cheap plan and you can still use EAS.

    There is no easy way to specifically block EAS communications unless 1) VZW modifies the corporate email program on Android to specifically check user’s data plan type on every startup; or 2) block it on the server side by analyzing each individual network packets to identify communications belonging to EAS.

    Both are too expensive for VZW to implement.

  23. @Brad
    I salute you for typing all of that so I don’t have to. I was considering the droid because I have a decnet corp discount with verizon, but this seals the non-deal… Verizon is officially off my list.

  24. I’m an IT professional and 15-35 yr old male who prefers Gmail. I will be passing on the $15 a month Exchange access for my phone. If my place of employment feels that I need it they will pay me a stipend for it. I currently get a $45.00 a month stipend for 450 minutes, we have a smartphone stipend for users requiring email and data. Those users get $90.00 a month. (I know go figure, why would your IT department need data?)
    I work for a community college, we are told that email is public record since we are state employees. Even if they did provide me with a smartphone stipend I’d keep this stuff off my personal device and get a separate device for work.
    This really is just a way for Verizon to get money from corporations, but it’s a really out-dated model. Most people I speak with don’t get this covered by their place of employment which means they are eating the cost. Data is data, it all breaks down into binary.

  25. Wonder how long until I would be able to get an unlocked droid, buy just a data plan and get my minutes on pay-as-you-go… That’s what I want.

  26. @Terry
    Ways around it? Feel free to share the joy. With the Windows Mobile phones, I figured it might just be a registry hack or something on the phone itself that Verizon remotely changes, but I wasn’t sure how that would translate to Android. Is it blocked on the phone itself, or in the network?

  27. VZW has always had that. And for BB’s it is not the same, the $30 plan gets you sync with RIM’s servers. The $45 plan is only if you need exchange support. I agree it is a lot extra to charge though, but they didn’t just make this up for the Droid.

  28. Well, whoever gets the phone, try out touchdown by Nitrodesk for an alternate (activesync and owa methods available). I use it on my htc magic (exchange was built in, but it had lots of bugs at first so i went to touchdown). Even though the htc bugs are fixed, I still use touchdown. Its $20 I think but sometimes they have sales and price is reduced. Its available on the market (you can purchase there or download the free version and get a full serial number directly from their website). My guess is this will work fine once the droid is out.


  29. Fuck that, and with a capital “F.” And fuck Verizon while you’re at it.

    I will not be buying the Motorola Droid until it becomes available on another carrier. End of story.

  30. I guess this is typical Verizon. As other have mentioned, ‘enabling’ Exchange on a phone does not cost a dime for Verizon. It’s not Verizon who runs the Exchange Servers, it’s your company. It is of no additional cost to them. 0.0, nothing, nada, niets.

    And this is for an extra $15!!???
    My T-Mobile unlimited data plan is $25. Truly unlimited, as far as i know.

    I know there are a ton of ‘consumers’ out there that would like to be able to read work-emails and pay for their own cellphone bills. They won’t fork over an extra $15.

    Since it doesn’t cost Verizon a dime, I wonder who the people that pay the extra $15 are subsidizing…

  31. Verizon reels us in the house with pretty shiny Droid candy and then gang rapes us in the backyard with their data plan anal prod.

  32. @ caffe: Just FYI, this has always been the case with Verizon – I’m fairly certain – with all smartphones. I’m also fairly sure we’ll still have to pay the $2.99 for visual voicemail, like always.. :(

  33. How excatlly will they enforce this? It’s not like we need an Verizon server to allow ActiveSync to work.

  34. @Jones,

    ATT does not offer Exchange support (least going off their website when buying an Iphone) except on “Enterprise” plans which would add at the lowest, $45 onto your bill (they do not mention voice in the Enterprise plan).
    From what I have heard unless Verizon blocks ports you shouldn’t have too difficult a time getting Exchange to work on the $30 plan. my company has exchange over the web so it really doesnt matter.

  35. You all must be new to connecting a smartphone to your corporate email server? This has nothing to do with Verizon, or Android, or Google. Every carrier charges the extra $$ for an Enterprise Connection to connect to a corporate email server…

  36. Don’t get me wrong, many companies may provide options on their servers that allow you workarounds, however from what I know, regardless of carrier. There’s unlimited data and then there’s unlimited data for Enterprise…

  37. @Anton,

    Looks like you either have an old plan or got a great deal. Going to TMobile’s website and trying to get a Mytouch 3g forces me to either pay, surprise surprise, 30 or 40 bucks for unlimited web or unlimited web and messaging. So you save $5 over Verizon, but Verizon has better 3g coverage.

  38. What about the 50 dollar data only plan???
    THAT sounds very interesting.

    Just to get this straight, does it mean I can get a data only plan for 50 per month total?

  39. Sheryll: Welcome to AT&T online Sales support. How may I assist you with placing your order today?

    toby: i understand your unlimited data plans for a smartphone are aprox. $30 per month but if I want to connect to my Exchange server at work, using a Windows Mobile phone, do I have to purchase a different data plan? Enterprise something or other?

    Sheryll: That is a great question!

    Sheryll: Let me get that information for you.

    Sheryll: To add the Exchange server, our Customer Care can do that for you once you have the Data Plan added.

    Sheryll: That would be an additional $15 per month.

    toby: oh, ok. Thanx!

    Sheryll: It is an additional data plan besides the $30 per month plan.

  40. Hmm, my last post didn’t go through. Weird. Flagged somehow? Oh well, here goes again. After some fast research, I have come to the conclusion that this is all just misinformation. This extra charge ONLY applies to users of Verizon’s own hosted Exchange or BES services. If you are connecting to Exchange or BES servers hosted by your company, the $30 plan is all you should need. I have seen multiple postings of both Blackberry and Windows Mobile users who state that they are on the $30 plan and have no trouble accessing their work email. It’s only if you are running a small business that doesn’t have its own IT collaboration services that you need to sign up for Verizon’s hosted Exchange service, with which you get a Verizon email address. Fear not fellow Droid lovers, for you are safe now.

    Oh, btw, I plan on buying an Eris. Fancy hardware can’t make up for Sense UI in my book, sorry. Of course, if the holiday lineup shows the Passion/Predator, I will probably wait for that.

  41. As long as Gmail will push without this service, I will be happy. Corporate email is overrated and I love my Gmail account.

  42. Google Voice gets around the $3/mo for visual voicemail. One thing is certain, I’ll be getting the $30 data plan first, and only if all efforts to get exchange working fail will I fork over the extra $15/mo.

  43. I definitely don’t see any way for them to block Android’s built-in ActiveSync.

  44. Ugh – I was really, really hoping for the best – but I was trying to prepare for the worst. This is typical “we’re evil” company crap. Now that there *is* something different about this machine, one wonders what else they have disabled that you can pay them to enable.

    Man – I was really looking forward to Friday. Now, I’m not so sure. My 2 years is up, so I may just hold tight and see if a competitor get’s an exchange enabled Android phone. I don’t need the service, but my wife does.

    How disappointing.

  45. When is the dick-head management at verizon going learn some sense? I knew they will blow up this chance as well – just like the iphone deal passed to at&t. Oh poor Motorola, you have teamed up with any other vendor.

  46. Oh, and AT&T is definitely not an option. The city I live in, I’m told, has decent coverage, even 3G, but all I have to do is drive a couple hours out to my parents’ farm, and AT&T has absolutely zero coverage. Zip, zero, nada, no 3G, no EDGE, no basic voice calls, no nothing. T-Mobile and Sprint are what I would describe as spotty. I used a Sprint data card out near the farm one time, and I was barely getting one bar of signal, and it was barely moving any faster than dial-up speeds.

    Since I’ve been on CDMA networks for the past 5 years or so, and get no more than 1-2 dropped calls PER YEAR on average, I would be hard-pressed to use anything other than CDMA. I don’t travel internationally, so I have no problem in that regard. The only thing I really hate about CDMA is that it makes it hard to get modern handsets in a timely manner. Oh, that and the lack of SIM cards, of course. So unfortunately, my choice is either Verizon, or a small, local carrier that has a stellar roaming plan. Unfortunately, those are disappearing quickly. For that matter, I was on such a carrier, which got bought out by Alltel and in turn by Verizon, all within the last couple years. Oh well, Verizon is finally winding up the smartphone factory into high gear, which is perfect for me, now that I’m going to be getting my first smartphone. Good phone, good network, good enough for me. =)

  47. I haven’t read all of the comments, so I can’t respond to what everyone has said, but I can respond to the article. This is a little bit misleading (on InfoWorld’s part). The 44.99 plan is only for those wanting OTA synchronization of their email/contacts/tasks/etc from an Exchange server. You don’t HAVE to have this plan for the device to receive your Exchange based emails. Again, this is only for wireless sync. Some of you may dislike this still, but this is a service that VZW provides, but no one says you have to take advantage of it. Much like you can receive Exchange emails on a Blackberry with the 29.99 data plan, you can do the same here. If people would research this stuff before writing articles on it (InfoWorld, that’s you) and make it a bit more clear, that’d save everyone some confusion. By the way, you can browse the different plans on Verizon’s website and it gives you a full bevy of information on what you’re getting with each plan.

    Regarding Verizon generally being more expensive, let me also say that you get what you pay for.

  48. I’ll second what you said BRAD.

    And in all honesty i find this hard to believe seeing as I have a WinMob device and a BB and use Exchange server for email and don’t have to pay the $45/mon, I only have the $30 a month data plan. IMO more BS getting pushed around on the web to get people freaked out about VZW as normal.

  49. Big Red clearing the air? Pretty nice explanation, but still pretty crappy plan. Sync of contacts, tasks, etc is an exchange thing, not a network thing. Why do they have to charge for this ability when it’s something exchange servers do?

    As long as the $30 will have EVERYTHING work but exchange sync (and visual voice mail – I get that this costs more) then I will be happy. If there are a bunch more additions, I may have to pass which is a shame.

  50. You’re all geniuses.
    Exchange is PUSH email, data is CONSTANTLY being sent to your phone. CONSTANTLY! It’s not a “Exchange Sync – 15$” addon, you have to get the UNLIMITED DATA PLAN (15$ more than the 30$ limited data plan) because your phone will ALWAYS BE USING DATA.

  51. @Nexeo Another good point that I didn’t put in my response.

  52. @Nexeo: And you my friend are not a genius, as you should know that the $30 plan is the 5gb plan as well, which is what you get from the $45 plan. And as far as i know, you can still use the $30 plan with exchange, they havent found a way to block it on the windows mobile phones yet, i pay $30 for mine and i have exchange working. They blocked it on the blackberry for blackberry enterprise service, but thats just port assignments as far as i know.

    I repeat: You can probably still use your droid on the $30 plan with exchange sync, as i can still do so on my windows mobile phones.

  53. @Nexeo
    Wow, shouting in all caps, that’s awesome. Seriously, look at Verizon’s info. The $30 plan is advertised as UNLIMITED data. Unlimited is unlimited, up to 5GB anyway. Even the extra $15 doesn’t raise the 5GB cap. The only thing that the extra $15 gets you is Exchange services IF your company doesn’t already provide it. Again, this is a small business solution, which is why Verizon downplayed it, saying the Droid is a consumer phone. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s a consumer-only phone, but their point was basically that if you, as a consumer, want push email, calendar, contacts, etc. that you can sync OTA with Outlook on your home computer, and you aren’t getting that service from anywhere else, they will provide it for $15/month.

    This is a perfectly logical interpretation of the service plans. And believe me, push data is nothing. The amount of data that push generates is so minute, it’s not even worth mentioning. I’m much more concerned about battery life with push enabled than I am data usage. Let me put this as simple as I can: Verizon has unlimited data, and unlimited data with benefits. How’s that for simple?

  54. This is probably a silly question, but I’ll ask anyways…

    Will Verizon allow you to use VoIP with the Droid?

    I use very few (voice) minutes on my current cell phone plan, and I would probably switch to some kind of pre-paid plan if I wasn’t so interested in having mobile internet access. I would be very interested in the data-only plan from Verizon ($50/mo), particularly if they don’t block applications like Gizmo 5 or Truphone. I wouldn’t mind making the occasional cell call at $0.25/min if I didn’t need to do it very often.

  55. What I still need to know is if the Droid/Android2.0 will support the pin lock/remote wipe that many need to be able to use Exchange sync???

    Can’t seem to find this anywhere, but it looks like no. That’s a big problem – since iphone does it.

  56. @G1Droid:

    According to the article (and I believe it ’cause Verison is…well…Version) the 30 dollars is tacked onto an existing charge for voice plans. From what I could gather from the plans they offer currently, you’ll end up paying at least 80 dollars for a voice/data plan, with 450mins, unlimited text, and I don’t know how much data.

    For this reason, I’m holding out till we know whether or not the Droid is coming to T-Mo. I don’t have my hopes up…but if T-Mo does get the Droid, I’ll taken them over VZN hands f*****g down.

  57. Wow all this Drama is crazy. This is nothing new. The Smartphone plans have always worked like this. 90% or more of users won’t need anything like this. It’s an option for corporate users. Even small business can host there email, calendar, and contacts plus much more for $50 a year (what I will do). And for those that say “this is an option in the phone and has nothing to do with the network” obviously has no knowledge of what there saying. Were talking about OVER THE AIR (network) wireless two way syncing of Calendar, tasks, notes, contacts, business contact database access, Company Intranet access, plus.

  58. Jim: “What I still need to know is if the Droid/Android2.0 will support the pin lock/remote wipe that many need to be able to use Exchange sync???”

    My company requires the pin codes too. The Touchdown and Roadsync applications on the Market both support the pin codes. The Touchdown app even goes as far as to identify itself to your company as various other phones, I use “iphone” so you can get in even if the Android isn’t supported. Right now both apps are $10 each.

  59. One more thing. THIS IS INCLUDED in the Email or Email and Messaging plan which bundles everything together. The $45 is the data feature addon to existing voice plans.

  60. @Del:
    It seems there’s a lot of varying information about Verizon’s plans. I don’t know what to believe anymore. I went to their site and under Plans/Individual/Show All I come up with $69.99 for 450 mins. plus free mobile to mobile, unlimited data, unlimited text, unlimited email, unlimited picture and video messaging.

    To others here as well…is there something I’m missing?


  61. Anyone know about the possibility of the $50 data only plan????
    Could it be used with VOIP such as Gizmo5 etc?
    The cheapest Voice and data plan is $70, but with the data only, VOIP, googlevoice etc, could one not use this phone for web, phone, and text for just the $50 data only plan???

  62. AT&T does the exact same thing and even with the iPhone I can confirm. You can connect to your work email via active synch with only the $30 data plan. You do not have to get the $45 plan to connect to an exchange server.

    I repeat; the $45 plan is not required in order to connect to an Exchange Server.

  63. I agree with Omar, the US seem to get a pretty unfair deal on data bundles. I can’t imagine seeing any UK provider charging even $30 – a little over £18 for a data package, that’s ridiculously high. I pay £5 (just over $8) for my “unlimited” data package.

  64. Even if I wanted work emails synced to my personal phone, my company probably wouldn’t allow it. I’m about as worried about Exhange on a Driod, as I am about not being able to use Blackberry Messenger on it.

  65. The ignorance on this board is amazing. Read what “Big Red” said – he is right on. VZW is charging extra for a very specific service, not data access. If you don’t want it, don’t get it.

    For my part, I am glad the data-only plan includes it.

  66. Androidfan: THANKS!!

  67. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2355249,00.asp

    says personal plans are 30 no matter if you use exchange or not and business plans are 45 whether you use exchange or not.

  68. Explain to me why the Exchange server could not be configured for IMAP connections. Then Email app in Android configured to access accordingly via IMAP.

  69. iDon’t charge extra for exchange support.

  70. Plainly false. I am paying $70 per month right now and can connect to my exchange server with no problems. I also vpn and rdp to internal servers once again, no problems. I had no problems typing this message from the Moto Droid either. While doing both!

  71. Wow nexeo, learn about the protocol. Your “constant” data stream is a couple of bits and doesn’t amount to more then maybe a meg a month. LOL@U. Your so smart.

  72. That’s the verizon way squeeze every dollar out of you….. after my contract is up it goodbye verizon.

  73. Expecting Verizon, (who holds an unofficial monopoly over many areas of the United States since they bought alltel) to do anything other than nickel-and-dime their customers to death is like expecting the pope to convert to islam. Verizon is a large enough corporation that they have learned that unless there is a very clear law against it or it is an election season they can do anything they want and the customers have no choice but to pay. To add even more insults on top of the fee scrounging they are doing on android is that with other smartphones like blackberries they purposefully block all activation data from BES servers in order to extort more fees.

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