All good things come to an end. As expected, Verizon will stop offering unlimited data plans for smartphone users as of July 7. Following AT&T’s lead, Verizon is now offering tiered price plans based on usage. 2GB will run you $30 a month, 5GB for $50, and 10GB for $80. Interestingly, the cost is the same for 3G or 4G.
If you go over your limit you are charged $10 per GB overage.
Those already on an unlimited plan can keep it.
AT&T charges $25 for 2GB so it is surprising that Verizon is asking for $5 more. Also, Verizon does not offer a low-end plan to match AT&T’s 200MB plan for $15. This would seem like a good way to remove a barrier for feature phone users that want to move up to a smartphone. Of course they’ll learn that 200MB per month isn’t enough and will want to upgrade, but you have to get them in the door first.
For those who want to use the mobile hotspot feature (aka “tethering”), be ready to pay some more. Customers that had free unlimited LTE hotspot functionality will now have to pay $30 per month. New customers pay $20 for an extra 2GB.
My Take: Although it is unfortunate that unlimited plans have gone away, it is not unexpected. Wireless networks have limited capacity and the carriers are not able to provide unlimited data to everyone. Currently, 2GB is more than most users consume so it is unlikely anyone will notice. Heavy users will have to pay more and that seems fair. Use more, pay more. Just like electricity or water.
The 2GB limit may become a problem in the coming years as more services move into the cloud. If users intend to stream all of their music from the cloud, like Google and Amazon want, then there will be angry subscribers. Phones will need a way let users know how much data they are using. A gas gauge of sorts.
I continue to not understand why consumers are required pay extra for tethering with a limited data plan. If someone is paying for a certain amount of data, what difference does it make if it is used on the phone or a tethered device? Actually, I do understand. The carriers expect those who tether are going to use more data so they are charging more. If that is the case, don’t claim to charge for 2GB. Just charge for what is used. That seems fair.