Bad news for grandfathered unlimited data subscriber on Verizon: the nation’s largest carrier will kill unlimited data once and for all when subscribers switch over to 4G LTE data plans.
Starting in mid-summer, when you buy a LTE handset and switch over to 4G data, Verizon will make you buy one of its new data share plans. Switching plans will end your grandfathered unlimited plan.
Verizon’s data share plans are scheduled to launch on an unspecified date in mid-summer, and pricing has also not been announced. Families and businesses will be able to share a data plan between all devices on one account.
Verizon CFO Fran Shammo talked about the company’s new data strategy at the JP Morgan conference. FierceWireless reports:
When asked how Verizon will drive customers to this new data share plan, Shammo said that LTE will be the anchor for the new plan and that as customers upgrade from 3G to LTE, they will have to be on a data share plan, allowing the company to sunset its unlimited 3G data plan. “A lot of our 3G base is on unlimited,” Shammo said. “When they migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share. That is beneficial to us.”
This news is particularly awful if you’re currently paying $30 per month for unlimited data on Verizon and plan on upgrading to a LTE handset later this year. The next-gen iPhone is rumored to feature LTE networking and is expected to be made available around October.
Sprint is now the only major carrier in the U.S. offering unlimited data for the iPhone. With regards to a LTE iPhone down the road, Sprint has committed to continue offering an unlimited plan. T-Mobile is also getting its network ready for iPhone owners on 3G and 4G, regardless of an official partnership with Apple.
AT&T axed its unlimited data plan in 2010, but the carrier has let subscribers (iPhone owners included) who bought the original plan stay on as long as related changes aren’t made to a grandfathered AT&T wireless account. Both AT&T and Verizon have already been throttling unlimited data users for many months.
What’s scary about Verizon’s move is that AT&T is also planning to launch shared data plans soon. Now that Verizon is swinging away at its unlimited data subscribers with more force, what’s to keep AT&T from doing the same?
Makes one think about what carrier to choose when it’s time to renew the contract.