May 17, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Okay, here we go again. Verizon said it’s killing unlimited data plans when users upgrade, then said it would be nice enough to give you a warning first. Then hours later, the company clarified that it will provide an out for current customers with grandfathered unlimited data plans – you can keep operating under a meter-free model, but you’ll no longer get phone subsidies.
The New York Times Bits blog reports that Verizon issued this statement when questioned about how it would transition customers to 4G.
- Customers will not be automatically moved to new shared data plans. 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.
- When we introduce our new shared data plans, Unlimited Data will no longer be available to customers when purchasing handsets at discounted pricing.
- Customers who purchase phones at full retail price and are on an unlimited smartphone data plan will be able to keep that plan.
- The same pricing and policies will be applied to all 3G and 4GLTE smartphones.
Sounds like a fair trade. The key point to take away from this is that Verizon isn’t taking away unlimited data plans. If customers want to continue watching videos, browsing the web, and video chatting without eyeing restrictive data caps, they can. The downside is that they’ll have to pay full price for phone upgrades, but that might be in their best interest. S
Consider the cost of the lowest tier of a single data plan on Verizon – $30 for 2 GB of data per billing period – is the same as grandfathered unlimited plans. Over the course of a two-year agreement, that’s $720. Anyone still clinging to an unlimited plan probably wants more than 2 GB, so the monthly 5 GB ($50) or 10 GB ($80) plans are more desirable. Those plans cost $1,200 and $1,920 respectively.
Even if a user pays the $500 to $700 full price for their next phone, it might be more cost effective to pay the upfront costs. You’ll save a couple of dollars, have more flexibility in your contract, and have higher data access. At worst, you spend more up front, spend comparable amounts of money, and get the peace of mind of not having to temper your usage habits like the rest of us.