My understanding with all BB's is that you need a data plan. You have two choices in this area that I am aware of. $29 per month for a personal data plan and $44 for a business plan. The $29 plan allows you to surf the net and sync with personal email. The $44 business plan is for syncing with your company's Exchange or equivalent mail server system for getting your work email.
Hope this helps!
It is actually a little more specific than that. The only time you would need the $45.00 plan is if you are connecting to a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) that Sync's with Exchange. In that case the best thing to do is check with you companies IT department to see if that is running then they will have to set your phone to use the server.
The lower plan will allow you get email even from Exchange Accounts but it does not have the full syncronization the the BES has.
This is called Blackberry Internet Service(BIS) it will handle just about any kind of email account and is setup either on the phone or through the BIS web page.
To answer your question...yes, you have to have a data plan. Verizon Blackberry devices all require a plan for 30 bucks that allow for unlimited data, such as email and web and Instant messaging. If you plan to SMS text or MMS picture or Video message, you will need to pick a calling plan that is at least a Select or Premium plan. Basic plans do not include messaging.