Verizon launching a $50 Yahoo!-branded smartphone

In a market that is now pushing costly 5G service and regularly sees smartphones from leading brands Apple and Samsung retailing for upwards of $1,000, there’s a real opportunity to offer customers something more budget-friendly. At just $50, Verizon’s brand-new Yahoo!-branded smartphone is the epitome of budget-friendly – needless to say, a price that low comes with some caveats.

The new phone is essentially a re-skinned ZTE Blade A3Y model that only offers 720p resolution in a 5.4-inch display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of memory, and Yahoo!’s apps are all pre-installed. There’s no support for 5G, as you might expect, but what Verizon is aiming to do is drive customers towards its Yahoo! Mobile service, which launched in March and offers unlimited talk, text and data on Verizon’s 4G LTE network for $40 per month. Verizon bought Yahoo! in 2017 for $4.8 billion and has been exploring the best ways to use the once mighty Internet empire.

The trojan horse-like approach that Verizon is taking with its new Yahoo! smartphone could work with the older demographic that’s still regularly visiting Yahoo!’s various portals and using its email service. The device doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles of far more expensive smartphones, but it doesn’t have to at the $50 price point. Moreover, customers get an optimized Yahoo! experience as the apps have been fine-tuned for the smartphone while owners also receive free access to Yahoo! Mail Pro for ad-free email.

Interpret’s New Media Measure® indicates that Yahoo! services are regularly used by almost 40% of individuals over age 45 in the US, and nearly half of Verizon customers in the US use Yahoo! websites, with one third using the brand’s email client.