The battle between Verizon and its customers over unlimited data continues. First the company announced that it would be switching to a tiered data plan system, though people that already had unlimited data plans could keep them through a grandfathered program. However, Verizon recently announced that it was taking away unlimited plans entirely. Their tune has changed once more as Verizon has announced that existing customers can keep their unlimited data plans, though they won’t be able to get a new subsidized smartphone and still keep the plan.
Verizon Communications Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo told investors on Wednesday that the company plans to force many of its existing unlimited data customers to a tiered offering. While new customers were forced into tiered data plans, existing smartphone users could keep their $30 per month unlimited data plan, even when they upgraded to a new device and a new contract.
However, Shammo said in the announcement that Verizon now plans to get rid of those unlimited plans and transition those customers to a new data-share plan that will be introduced later in the summer. According to Shammo, “When you think about our 3G base, a lot of our 3G base is unlimited. As they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan. And that is beneficial for us for many reasons, obviously. So as you pick what tier you want to be and we think that there will be some price up in those tiers.”
Not surprisingly, Verizon’s PR team didn’t give a lot of information on the new data plans, leaving many customers that were grandfathered in (myself included) wondering how this new policy will affect them. Thankfully, Verizon clarified its position on the entire thing, though it isn’t entirely good news.
Verizon has stated that it will allow customers to keep their unlimited data plans if they continue to stick with the device they already have or if they purchase their new device at its full retail price. So basically, if you renew your contract and you purchase a subsidized phone then you will lose the option of keeping your unlimited data plan. Great news for people like me, who just so happen to be upgrading in one month.
According to a Verizon Spokeswoman, “If a 3G or 4G smartphone customer is on an unlimited plan now and they do not want to change their plan, they will not have to do so. But when we introduce our new shared data plans, Unlimited Data will no longer be available to customers when purchasing handsets at discounted pricing, i.e. signing new contracts.”
Verizon also noted that the same pricing and policies will apply to all 3G and 4G LTE smartphones, meaning that no matter what contract you sign up under, you will still have to give up your unlimited data if you buy a subsidized device. Though this does mean that if you already own a 4G LTE phone, you will get to keep your phone and the unlimited data as long as you never change devices or you pay full price for a new one.
Verizon hasn’t said anything more about the new shared-data plans, which will allow multiple people on one account to share data as they would minutes or texts. In addition to that, the new plans will allow customers to attach different devices to the same account and share data.
Verizon is hoping that people will increase their usage and buy more expensive data plans that offer a bigger monthly data usage. So basically, Verizon is going back on its word in hopes of poaching more money from its loyal customers. Depending on if Verizon gets enough negative press to change its mind (again) or if these new plans are at all worth it (unlikely), I may just be searching for another wireless provider. Any suggestions?
Source: CNET – Verizon: You can have unlimited data… just no device subsidies