Starting tomorrow, July 7, new Verizon Wireless customers will no longer be offered an unlimited data plan as an option with a new smartphone. This confirms news from last month that it would stop offering unlimited data plans to its customers and move to a tiered bandwidth system.
"This is preparing us for a future that's going to be filled with applications that take more and more data use," a Verizon Wireless spokesperson said. "The plans need to evolve with the technology."
Verizon's new plans are tiered and similar to what AT&T Wireless moved to a year ago. Customers wishing to add a data plan to a phone will be able to choose from three basic tiers: 2GB ($30 per month), 5GB ($50), and 10GB ($80). And while Verizon will charge $10 per megabyte of data overrun, customers will be notified via free text messages when they're getting near their cap so that there are no surprises.
Existing customers who currently utilize an unlimited data plan will be grandfathered in, meaning they will continue to receive unlimited data usage going forward. It's unclear how long that will last, however.
Additionally, customers accessing LTE (4G) mobile hot spots will now need to pay for the privilege; until now, this had been a free service for a limited number of phone models. New users will be charged $20 per month and receive 2GB of data. Existing customers will pay $30 per month but have unlimited data access.
Although many will view this change away from all-you--can-eat data as a negative, few smartphone users come anywhere close to even the low-end 2GB cap each month, so this won't actually affect too many customers in the short term. Going forward, however, as our data usage increases, these tiered plans could result in higher charges, though Verizon, like other carriers, will no doubt revisit the plan over time.