Carriers

Verizon will force 3G customers to lose unlimited data when upgrading, questions remain for 4G users

May 16, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka

Verizon

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Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said earlier today that his company will move away from 3G unlimited data plans and shepherd customers into its tiered data plans the next time they upgrade their phones. Shammo made the comments today at a J.P. Morgan tech conference while noting that Verizon will use its 4G LTE network as leverage to force customers into transitioning to a tiered data plan.

Shammo explained:

“LTE is our anchor point for data share. As you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto a data share plan – moving away from the unlimited world and moving everybody into a tiered, data share type structure…As [3G customers with unlimited data plans] start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the tiered data plan.”

Shammo’s comments echo statements Verizon has already made about its network. The carrier stopped offering unlimited data plans in 2011, but it grandfathered existing users who signed-up prior to the introduction of tiered pricing in July. Those customers were able to retain their unlimited plans even if they upgraded to a 4G device, but that’s not the case under Verizon’s updated LTE model.

However, it’s unclear what will happen to people who already signed up for unlimited data on an LTE device. Shammo alluded to LTE as leverage to end unlimited data, but will current 4G users also be forced to dump their unlimited data plans when they purchase a new phone? I personally know someone who regularly uses more than 25 GB’s per month on his Thunderbolt, and someone upgrading to the Droid RAZR from a Thunderbolt the day I got my Galaxy Nexus managed to retain his unlimited plan.

We’ve put in a request for more info and clarity from Verizon and will update this post once we receive a reply.

[Verizon] via FierceWireless