Verizon Sheds a Tier for Unlimited Data
The end of unlimited is drawing near for Verizon Wireless customers, as the carrier plans to move to a usage-based pricing model for its smartphone data plans next month.
Such a change has always been in the cards for Verizon, which warned back when it launched the iPhone in January that unlimited data would only be available for a limited time. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo later suggested a deadline of June for the change to coincide with its Long Term Evolution (LTE) ramp-up. (See Tablet Prep: AT&T & Verizon Shake Up Pricing, Verizon: The King of 4G and No Surprise: Verizon Talks Tiered Pricing for LTE.)
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), T-Mobile US Inc. and, for data-only devices, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), have all also trod into tiered pricing. (See AT&T Intros Mobile Data Caps and T-Mobile Revamps Wireless Pricing.)
Verizon Wireless spokespeople have only confirmed that tweaks to its data plans are coming next month for new customers, but that hasn't stopped the blogosphere from speculating on what the plans will mean for consumers. Tech blog Droid Life first reported that the new plans would go into effect on July 7 at $30 per month for 2GB of data, $50 for 5GB and $80 for 10GB per month. Adding 2GB of tethering to any of the plans will cost an additional $20 per month, the blog says.
Android Central got all the details in a leaked document:
Verizon also hasn't confirmed if users who go over the allotment will be throttled or charged more, but Forbes suggests they'll be slapped with $10 per megabyte of overage, whether on a 3G or 4G phone.
Most saw Verizon's pricing shakeup as inevitable, but the bloggers over at Android Guys were none too pleased about it. They write: "With the latest tech movement of cloud based services I can't help but wonder why providers are essentially putting up virtual brick walls to deter possible users/consumers of ever having the ability to enjoy said technology." We say
Like it or not, Verizon's move to tiered pricing may force Sprint to do the same, especially if AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile is approved. All the carriers have kept tiered pricing on the back burner as a possibility to manage heavy data usage and keep costs down. And, now as more LTE smartphones come to market, the time to make the change has arrived.
With unlimited off the table, wireless operators will differentiate on, among other things, how they handle consumers after the data cap has been reached. Here's a few ways consumers can avoid finding out:
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile