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Verizon to discontinue its paid Visual Voice Mail service on select phones

Verizon has announced that it will be discontinuing its paid Visual Voice Mail service on select phones as of July 8, 2016. The service, which previously cost $2.99, allowed customers to access their voicemails in a more visual manner. Those who are using the feature will be transitioned to Basic Voice Mail services, but you won't lose any of your existing messages.

From the announcement (opens in new tab), you'll notice the following once the change takes place:

  • You won't lose any existing voice messages when switching from $2.99 Visual Voice Mail to Basic Voice Mail.
  • Your existing voice messages will be saved, but you'll need room for new messages. Before the switch to Basic Voice Mail on 7/8, make sure you have less than 20 messages in your mailbox. For more information on saving or archiving your messages, refer to our Basic Visual Voice Mail FAQs.
  • You may have to set up your voice mailbox after switching from $2.99 Visual Voice Mail to Basic Voice Mail. To set up your Basic Voice Mail, see the instructions below.

Some of the affected Windows Phones include the Lumia Icon, Lumia 928, Lumia 822 and others. A full list of phones affected by this change (opens in new tab) can be found on Verizon's site.

Jared started off writing about mobile phones back when BlackBerry ruled the market, and Windows Mobile was kinda cool. Now, with a family, mortgage and other responsibilities he has no choice but to look for the best deals, and he's here to share them with you.

55 Comments
  • Probably low interest. YouMail is a great cross platform solution. It works great, even the free version.
  • Well from what ive seen it was like Rogers vvm+ a proprietary vvm solution that the developer had trouble maintaining hence why Rogers diched maybe a year or so ago & built a vm-sms solution(thats platform agnostic)
  • A cap on voice mails just seems so 2004.....
  • voice mail seems so 1990, I am always amazed at how U.S. still uses it :)
  • Lol...really? What do you use? Holograms? _________________________________________________
    Sprint (9 1/2 years) - Samsung SPH-A460, Sanyo PM-8200(S), Samsung A900 "Blade" & Samsung SPH-M620 "Upstage" simultaneously (2 lines), Samsung Instinct & Samsung Upstage simultaneously (2 lines), Palm Pre & Palm Pixi simultaneously (2 lines), HTC Evo, HTC Arrive:::::. Verizon (since March 2012) - iPhone 4s, HP Pre3...........Finally back to Windows Phone with the HTC 8x (iPhone 4s as work line, HP Pre3 to play with). Then the Lumia Icon and the Lumia 735 for work.
  • This is what I am saying, you are so into it that you always react this way :D  I can speak about Italy and most of Europe, from my experience (i.e. me and the hundreds of people I know) voice mail is used almost by no one. If someone doesn't answer you either call them later or leave them a text or voice message on what's app or any other modern chat. Chats have ALMOST completely replaced voicemail and sms with their richer integrated experience, yet I see you americans are very attached to them even if they are decades old and that is curious! This is so true that mobile operators are giving a crazy high number of sms in all plans, since no one even looks at that number, they could just state call minutes and 4G GBs and no one would even notice. I use like, ten sms a month just because my father is still stuck in the 90s!
  • I only use voicemail when communicating with certain people that are technology resisitant, and who don't like texting and don't have apps, because they still have an old flip-phone. Usually people over 65 that I still need to stay in contact with, like certain relatives. However, most of those even do texting. SMS works across platforms, and you don't have to worry about whether or not a particular user is using a particular service or client. If they have a cell phone, they generally can do SMS. It makes it easier to communicate. Since people I message have a variety of ways to do it, SMS is the only way I can reach them all. Why should I have WhatsApp, SnapChat, Messenger plus 5 or 6 others installed when I can just use the universal SMS? That way I only have to keep up with their phone number and can quickly turn a chat session into a phone call if in-depth discussion is needed. SMS is still by far the easiest way to get started sending messages to people, as it is generally available as unlimited text messages from every carrier for no extra charge, no 3rd party setup, no extra user ids or passwords to keep up with. All you need is a phone number. What's wrong with that? Just because something is decades old does not mean it is useless. I'm turning 52 in 5 days, and I take issue with that idea. :P
  • Well, here whatsapp has naturally become the new sms, like I said old technlogies are still useful when talking to people that is technology resistant (see the example of my father above, out of hundreds of people he is the only person I know of without whatapp), you are kind of proving my point :) And your example perfectly fits, you are turning 52, you are not useless, just less functional and upgradable than a newer human model :P but you still have some use :D
  • By way of comparison, in the US, I don't know anyone that uses any of the apps you've mentioned, and most have never heard of them. What works in one country doesn't work in them all.
  • Well that's exactly the starting point of what we are saying ...
  • Young people, especially young adults, don't know the ways of business. We have to teach them email, email etiquette, and how to document correspondence. They must have their personal email, if they have one, set to update only a couple times a day instead of instantly. Admittedly, Email might be seconds or a minute slower than so called instant messaging. Lets not talk about the spelling.
    Just my thoughts
    Best Wishes
  • Lol...if I call someone and they don't answer, it takes more time to hang up, launch sms/whatsapp/kik/etc and then text than to just simply speak a voicemail. It doesn't make sense to not. Using an app for the sake of using an app isn't easier if it involves more steps. It's just plain stupid. I text mostly, but utilize voice mails when actually making calls. Messaging apps such as Whatsapp have a niche market, and I use them seldomly. But to say that voicemail is outdated is just plain naive. Sorry...thats just the truth. _________________________________________________
    Sprint (9 1/2 years) - Samsung SPH-A460, Sanyo PM-8200(S), Samsung A900 "Blade" & Samsung SPH-M620 "Upstage" simultaneously (2 lines), Samsung Instinct & Samsung Upstage simultaneously (2 lines), Palm Pre & Palm Pixi simultaneously (2 lines), HTC Evo, HTC Arrive:::::. Verizon (since March 2012) - iPhone 4s, HP Pre3...........Finally back to Windows Phone with the HTC 8x (iPhone 4s as work line, HP Pre3 to play with). Then the Lumia Icon and the Lumia 735 for work.
  • I like how you take it personal. I also like how you think there can be truth in something that is strictly an opinion. I am telling you that whatsapp in a whole continent has replaced sms and greatly reduced phone calls too while reduced to almost zero voice mail. Since you don't think a whole continent is naive you should ask yourself why people moved forward to something else? The answer that I think is correct is the sum of many factors: -if you want to talk to someone you usually want to talk to him/her, so you either call them or wait for them to see the missed call and call you back -if you want to send a text or a voice message or any MEDIA FILE you need another tool so why not deciding an universal tool and use that, we decided for whatsapp. You now have all the text voice and file history with each contact in the same place Now that I explained why a whole continent probably decided to move from voice mail and sms to something new, I'm still curious to know why the U.S. stuck to those technlogies, the answer below yours may have an hint that partially answers that question.
  • Not taking it personally. Just letting you make a fool of yourself. You speak for a whole continent huh? And you like yo think you know for a fact that the US is technology resistant? Besides Japan, where do you think most technology comes from? Lol. I'm guessing you're under the age of 25 and think that because you're age demographic uses apps that all must do the same...lol. Mind you I do have all those apps you mentioned, but if it ain't broke don't fix it, and voicemail and sms is not broke. That's why people who have common sense still use it. Not trying to force use apps to be cool. _________________________________________________
    Sprint (9 1/2 years) - Samsung SPH-A460, Sanyo PM-8200(S), Samsung A900 "Blade" & Samsung SPH-M620 "Upstage" simultaneously (2 lines), Samsung Instinct & Samsung Upstage simultaneously (2 lines), Palm Pre & Palm Pixi simultaneously (2 lines), HTC Evo, HTC Arrive:::::. Verizon (since March 2012) - iPhone 4s, HP Pre3...........Finally back to Windows Phone with the HTC 8x (iPhone 4s as work line, HP Pre3 to play with). Then the Lumia Icon and the Lumia 735 for work.
  • I gave you an in depth explanation as to why even if it's ain't broken you can improve it and how it has improved most people everyday comunications in Europe. I think you are not following... Anyway you come from a country that is a great prodcuer of innovations, and you know why there are those innovations? because, lucky us, US engineers (like worldwide engineers, like me!) can invent things even if the previous things ain't broken. And yeah "Just letting you make a fool of yourself" this kind of reactions make it look like you are taking it personally.
  • I'm curious why you think whatsapp is actually new technology. It's just another messaging app. It doesn't matter if you send a text through sms or whatsapp. The end result is the same. You might consider the interface to be better than the native app and it is useful that it is available on all platforms, but it is hardly new technology. 
  • I explained how it is different in the comment above, it can do what the previous techs could do plus more, all in the same hub. And I'm saying new technologies because I'm a programmer so I know the software technology behind them is newer than sms and voice mail :) (not that you have to be a programmer to know that)
  • Lol so now your bashing mms as well?
  • Yes, especially when using landlines like at my desk at work.
  • Yes, especially when using landlines like at my desk at work.
  • Never knew leaving a "voice message on What's app" is NOT a voice message! Us dumb Americans! See Paolo, contrary to your beliefs, not all Americans use cell phones. Many use VoIP phones. How do you send a text or leave a voice message with What's App for non cell phones?
  • That could be an explanation of why they are still alive. Anyway never said we don't use voice message, neither that you are dumb. I've always been curious to know how comes you stuck to that technology while, Europe (maybe asia too?) moved forward to other technologies.
  • So in other words, you are literally using WhatsApp the exact same way Americans are using SMS and voicemail and criticizing Americans because...why? You realize that we've had unlimited talk and text for years now right? As a general rule we aren't inclined to use apps that are redundant to what our phone already has built in and require us to use data unnecessarily. Sorry it took your operators so long to give you unlimited text so you wouldn't have to find workarounds.
  • Gave you the answwer to why a whole continent (if not more) moved on slightly above ;) About costs, operators follows the usage patterns of customers here, so they adapted and now give you tons of data (4GBs of 4G for like 10€, plus like 1000sms and 1000minutes). I guess your poor carriers situation and not enough competition in the market might be another reason.  The fact that you are taking a discussion about voice mail usage as something so personal really makes me laugh.
  • Like Rhapdog above, I've been around enough to know and observe that in technology, things will change. SMS is an underlying technology and service that is ubiquitous and has stood the test of time. WhatsApp, and other app services, are just that, a silo'd app that could get shut down, and more likely than not, will go away in the future. Besides, voice mail, SMS, keep me more in control of how, and when, I do respond. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • WhatsApp, and other app services, are just that, a silo'd app that could get shut down, and more likely than not, will go away in the future.
    I don't know what you are talking about...Yahoo! messanger for life!  I mean...mIRC for life!!! Wait again...AIM for life?!? LYNC??  Yeah...Sure, WhatsApp will completely stand the test of time.......haha  
  • I don't know, the fact that you are getting puffed up over a simple option in communication out of a sea of alternatives that accomplish the same thing is more amusing to me.  It's such a celebration of the ordinary and unexceptional.  Also to quote you, "About costs, operators follows the usage patterns of customers here, so they adapted and now give you tons of data (4GBs of 4G for like 10€, plus like 1000sms and 1000minutes)."  Carriers in the US did the exact same thing except in reverse in favor of text and calling.  It's like the concept of people doing things differently from you because they have a different preference is unfathomable.  
  • I am from Europe (UK) and live in the USA and i must say the basis of your assumptions are unfounded. Just because you and your friends use Whastapp for everything does not mean an entire continent does, I would like to see where you get your information from. Whatsapp is popular and I use it quite a bit myself when communicating with family in the UK. However, Voicemail, SMS and the so called "Older" technologies are still widely used as well. As for the poor US carriers, I have 5 lines with AT&T and we get 30GB a month of LTE Data (6GB Each), unlimited calls and texts. I wouldnt call 4GB tons of Data.
  • I get information by everyday life, but I have to admit I don't know many people from UK and have been there only once, the statistic below (link) shows why we have different experiences and why overall my reasoning still applies ;) And poor was as in "they treat customers like **** and don't care about their needs".
  • I'd love to know where you get your info about Europe and Asia? You're using those apps the same way we use voicemail and sms. You realize that right? You're doing the same exact thing only you're using data. We aren't. This is a no brainer. You're making an argument where there is none. _________________________________________________
    Sprint (9 1/2 years) - Samsung SPH-A460, Sanyo PM-8200(S), Samsung A900 "Blade" & Samsung SPH-M620 "Upstage" simultaneously (2 lines), Samsung Instinct & Samsung Upstage simultaneously (2 lines), Palm Pre & Palm Pixi simultaneously (2 lines), HTC Evo, HTC Arrive:::::. Verizon (since March 2012) - iPhone 4s, HP Pre3...........Finally back to Windows Phone with the HTC 8x (iPhone 4s as work line, HP Pre3 to play with). Then the Lumia Icon and the Lumia 735 for work.
  • http://www.statista.com/statistics/291540/mobile-internet-user-whatsapp/ ​I didn't base my assumptions on this data but since you didn't believe me. While you could play the politician and point out that this statistic con be interpreted in many ways and that blablabla....... this trend (take it as a trend!) shows you the difference I'm talking about. What I didn't know is that UK is in between US and mainland europe so this also proves Paul May theory above. Now what? :P
  • Moving from the iPhone 4 to the Lumia 822 backin 2012, I refused to pay for something that was free on the iPhone. I have used YouMail "IseeVM" since.  They have paid tiers, but I stick with the free service.  Works great for me.
  • Wow, YouMail is fantastic! Just installed it and it sees to work fine and has many more features than Verizon's, even at the free tier. If Verizon hadn't cancelled VVM, I'd probably never have learned about YouMail. Thanks!
     
  • So glad I'm off of VZW....
  • Verizon playing more of their stupid games. This ultimately leads to a worse experience for their customers--yet they charge the highest prices. They force their CDMA network on you, so the more widely accepted GSM-only phones won't work, and then use their closed system to block you from using CDMA-capable phones like the 950/XL--just because. Okay, they have wider coverage available, but why pay their exorbitant rates for such abuse? I have visual voicemail on my $35/mo Cricket plan with unlimited calls/messaging and 2.5GB data. Verizon charges almost $80 for a comparable 3GB plan with tax, and that is with all of the restrictions on phone type (their way of forcing you to buy phones direct from Verizon) and VVM, etc. I cannot understand why people willingly put up with service like that.
  • I have grown to dislike Verizon a lot over the years, and I used to be friends with a former VP of the company. (I was one of the first 'customers' to have their first 3G PCMCIA card in San Diego nearly 15 years ago.)  They way they have started treating customers since they started working with Apple is horrible. Apple demands a lot of minimum sales, and in the USA, Apple still has command of the markets, which is Verizon's backyard.  Ironically, Apple pushes harder against WP/WM with Verizon and ATT than they do Samsung/Android, as they still see Windows as their long term competitor. I also like Cricket, and am friends with people there (and ATT since they purchaed it.) ​However, it is worth noting that the pricing difference isn't as 'vast' as you make it sound if you are a data user.  Especially considering that you cannot use your phone as a HotSpot with Cricket, which is a major feature for a lot of users.   ​As much as I dislike Verizon, there are just too many places no other carrier works or has data, and I use at least 30GB a month of celluar data when travelling, especially since Verizon LTE is better than almost all WiFI connections in hotels/airports.  
  • Thanks, I agree with most of that, Net Avenger. There is one correction though: Cricket does allow tethering with their service. However, it adds an additional $10 fee/mo., and you can only add it to the $45/5GB plan or the $55/10GB plan: https://www.cricketwireless.com/support/plans-and-features/mobile-hotspo... So, you have $55 for 5GB of data and hotspot on Cricket, or $65 for 10 GB of data+hotspot on Cricket, or ~$80 for 3GB data+hotspot on Verizon. Verizon charges for tethering too, but only on unlimited plans: "You may use Mobile Hotspot or any other Wi–Fi hotspot or tethering service to use your smartphone or basic phone as a Wi–Fi hotspot or to tether it to your computer or tablet. If you subscribe to a data plan or package with an unlimited data allowance, there is an additional monthly fee to do so.". Lastly, since native tethering is built in to Windows Phones and Windows 10 Mobile, it is possible to unlock this feature, even if it is not provided with your plan. It is not supposed to be very hard to do.
  • Hmm... I depend on this on my cell -- Lumia Icon running Windows 10 Mobile. For those suggesting alternatives, don't those system require re-routing all calls through a third party, which adds latency to every conversation (like Google Voice)? Cell phone latency is bad enough as it is. I wouldn't want to add another 100ms+ just for voice mail. Ugh...
  • And reading more about this on Verizon's site, I'm more confused. It looks like Verizon is now offering a free "Basic Visual Voice Mail" ("You can also continue to use our free Basic Visual Voice Mail service by upgrading your device to a smartphone or compatible phone.") and Premium Visual Voice mail for the same $2.99 we now pay (https://www.verizon.com/support/voice-mail-comparison/). I'm not sure all of the pages on their site are up to date, but if you believe the links, the two active Windows Phones that Verizon offers, the Lumia 735 and LG Lancet, will be able to support these. Why those would and the more powerful Lumia 928 and Icon would not is goofy. Perhaps the good news here, if any, is that if Verizon later offers another Windows Phone, it will probably also support these new versions of Visual Voice Mail.
  •   Verzion uses a newer VVM App on the LG Lancet and Lumia 735.  (And the newer App works on and could be upgraded on older Lumia devices or the HTC One, but they apparently aren't going to send out that update.) ​So, send Verizon a nice thank you note, I suggest all Caps, then follow up with a few phone calls, which tend to get more attention.
  • There are 3rd party solutions that ONLY the voice mail portion of the call is forwarded to their service.  Regular calls are work normally, so there wouldn't be any latency.  (Only the user leaving a message may have a few 'ms' of latency.)  
  • Thanks to this article and the comments, I went ahead and tried YouMail. It's perfect! I see I could pay for transcription and other services, but the free tier is better than Verizon's paid version. At least so far, the Windows Phone app seems much better than Verizon's. I'm actually now glad that Verizon is cancelling VVM, or I'd have never learned about YouMail.
  • It was silly that they charged for it, when it was already baked into the OS.
  • They forced MS to remove it on Verizon handsets. So they could install their own worse app.
  • It's not removed from the handsets. Verizon just doesn't use the standard VVM protocol for it to work. You can insert an AT&T sim card and it will work. I've tested this on a 928 and ICON with no problems.
  • Wow, AT&T visual voicemail has been free since forever.
  • I agree. Now taking it away from phones that have it baked into the OS is senseless. Another reason not to use Verizon. Ah, well. Glad I've been on AT&T. I've got Visual Voicemail with that, but only use it when someone calls and I don't recognize their number. If they leave a voicemail, then I use it. That's been twice in the last year. Usually if I don't answer, they hang up and send a text message if they really need to tell me something.
  • i didnt understand paying for something like that since it was baked in and the only thing it does is have you avoid typing in your password
  • So its baked into the OS on non Verizon or sprint windows phone. But on Verizon or sprint wp phones something in the firmware unbakes it. It does not exist in the normal phone app, windows 8, 8.1, 10. So basically without Verizon's vm app, I know have to dial in on my Icon from now on and listen to my voicemails the old fashion way. From Windows Central New App
  • So for instance they removed the standard VVM on Windows Phone 8 to install their paid crapware service. Now they discontinue it completely? Dick move...
  • Just come to at&t, Cricket, or t-mob, and enjoy what we've enjoyed, for free, since forever. When I bought my 950xl, and VVM didn't work, I was quite PO'ed. At&t added it back later, again, for free. *Disclaimer: I'm an at&t employee, but this is a personal statement*
  • Wallahi, if you tried you cannot come up with a worse logo than that of Verizon!
  • Shoot I'm late, the comments already started, someone pass me the popcorn Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • A weird side note... ​Verizon has an updated Visual Voice Mail App for the Lumia 735, with text preview and other features that none of the other Windows phones, including the higher end HTC One for Windows was never offered. ​It also appears that this version is not being discountinued. Additionally, this version of the App from the 735 can run on any WP8.1 or WM10 device; however, Verizon won't enable it to work in their 'device settings' for Enhanced Visual Voice Mail. I truly hate them with all this crap.  They started screwing over WP users when they cancelled their WP7 devices and launch at Apple's request, so that they could get the iPhone, and since then have been chasing their tails to sell enough iPhones to pay the Apple 'minimum' unit sales requirements.  ​Add all that to the fact they killed the Lumia Icon to show Microsoft the power they had, and then went on to use the 'Lumia Icon' contract to block Microsoft from offering the 930 in the USA, as it violated their exclusivity deal for the Lumia Icon, even after the Icon was discontinued.  Then with the 950, they created a new version of their 'open device' program, that raised the cost of getting it approved astronomically, and still would not sell it. During this process, they also legally reminded Microsoft to disable the Verizon radio bands on the 950. In addition to the lockout contracts like Microsoft faced witht he 950, and considering that Verizon is the only provider in many rural areas, it is time that the FCC and the DOJ take a closer look at Verizon.  
  • No big loss, the app for Windows Phone on verizon was junk anyway....