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Verizon Confirms the End of Unlimited

Verizon Wireless confirmed Tuesday that it will do away with unlimited smartphone data in favor of a usage-based model starting July 7. (See Verizon Sheds a Tier for Unlimited Data.)

There aren't many surprises in the new tiers, which have always been in the roadmap for the carrier and for which leaks had revealed most of the details. Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney confirmed to Fierce Wireless that the three new options will include $30 for 2GB, $50 for 5GB or $80 for 10GB. Feature phone users will pay $10 for 75MB of data per month. As expected, overages will set a user back $10 per GB of data.

The plans are just for new Verizon customers; old customers will be able to keep their unlimited plans, even if they upgrade after the July 7 cutoff. Also starting Thursday, Verizon's free hot-spot service will cost current users $30 per month to continue with unlimited usage. New users will pay $30 for 2GB of monthly data to use with the hot spot.

Why this matters
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is the only major wireless operator in the U.S. to resist the move to tiered pricing, but it hasn't ruled out the possibility. Verizon's foray into tiers could force Sprint to do the same or -- on a positive note -- pressure its biggest competitor AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) to expand its tiers to include more data at competitive prices.

The next frontier for all the carriers may be to explore family-style pricing that lets more than one device share a pool of data. Orange (NYSE: FTE) is leading the way on this in Europe, and Verizon and AT&T have expressed interest in the idea. (See New Data Plans Keep It in the Family .)

For more
Read more on how wireless data pricing has changed in the past year in the U.S.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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