Verizon Wireless plans to get rid of unlimited data plans – even for those currently “grandfathered” in – starting this summer.
Verizon eliminated unlimited data plans for smartphone users last July but allowed current customers to keep unlimited data plans even after their contracts expired. Verizon has also allowed 3G wireless subscribers to upgrade to 4G LTE devices and stay with unlimited plans.
At the JP Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference in Boston, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said customers will be forced to switch to tiered plans when they upgrade.
“As you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto the data share plan,” Shammo said, “[We're] moving away from, if you will, the unlimited world and moving everybody into a tiered structure data share-type plan.”
The company is expected to reveal a “data share” pricing model by mid-summer – which will allow customers to buy a block of data and use it across multiple devices. People on the same plan could also share the data – much as they share voice minutes and text messaging now.
Verizon isn’t the only wireless provider to move away from unlimited data use. AT&T has also abandoned the model. Sprint and T-Mobile still offer unlimited data plans but T-Mobile has a 2GB cap for users on its basic unlimited plan. Once users hit that limit they may experience slower data transmission.