Effective July 7, 2011, unlimited data will be a thing of the past to Verizon Wireless Smartphone users. I was listening to the radio today and just randomly heard something about this. I had to do a little research, call a few buddies, and then run here and provide you with all the details.
Like I said, Verizon Wireless will be ending the unlimited data plans for smartphone users on July 7. This will not affect current Verizon Wireless subscribers. The old unlimited data plan for $29.99 will be grandfathered in. As long as you do nothing to alter your data plan, you can remain on the old plan. As of now, you can still safely upgrade your device and not be forced to get their new data plans (which will be explained below). Verizon Wireless, like all of the other major wireless companies (except Sprint), is switching to a tiered data plan system.
The new plans:
$30 - 2GB ($5 more a month than AT&T's equivalent)
$50 - 5GB
$80 - 10GB
Overage: $10 a GB
Personally, I agree with what Verizon has done. Please note that only 5% of Verizon Wireless customers exceed the 2GB per month. If you fall into that 5%, you can simply go to a higher plan. Unlike with AT&T, you will be forced to pay the high overage fee of $10 a GB and only end up getting 4GB (versus 5 on Verizon, if that makes sense).
It is expected that Verizon Wireless will begin to offer a lower tiered amount (possibly 200MB for $10 or $15) in order to attract more customers that refuse to pay $30 for internet because they "won't use it".
Note: The pricing is the same for 4G devices (which tend to consume more data because you can browse pages much quicker leading to less frustration).
Why has Verizon Wireless done this?
Short answer: Capitalism. They can make more money off of the data hogging customers. Their system does, however, have some upsides for the average consumer. You will notice an increase in data speeds. Consumers will be watching their data usage more closely to avoid overages and higher tiers. Verizon Wireless will have additional money to invest and expand their network (primarily 4G network). Other ways Verizon Wireless has recently tried to avoid a network meltdown (like what has happened to AT&T and the iPhone) is by reducing internet speeds for customers that use high levels of internet. Effect Feb 2011, Verizon started reducing speeds to consumers that use above 2GB of data. If you haven't noticed slower speeds, you're probably fine.
Other networks have already started tiered pricing. AT&T and T-Mobile have already discontinued their unlimited plans and are offering tiered data...which is usually capped at a max of 2GB. High end users have no options.
Post your comments and questions. I have much more I could talk about on this topic...but...I'll let you start the conversation!