Verizon has been hinting for some time that unlimited data is unsustainable, and it looks like it may be ready to make good on that statement. AT&T went from all-you-can eat data pricing to a tiered system with the launch of the iPhone 4 last month, and Verizon looks to be ready to do the same. There is no word on what the pricing would be, but one might guess we will see more information on this story before the Droid 2 lands. [Engadget]


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Verizon may be following AT&T, switching to tiered data plans


To who? AT&T has done it. T-Mobile's coverage doesn't compare to either Big Red or AT&T. And Sprint is a sinking ship.

LoL actually sprint isn't a shinking ship ...:p it's a ship that's already sunk hahahahahahaha ! Sprint isn't the "now network" it's the "whenever network"(whenever it connects or not , :D mostly it's Not though)

Sprint's network consistently out ranks Verizon and T-Mobile for network quality in independent tests. Before making statements like yours check the facts and don't just bash.

yeah, because sprints 4g is what outranks big reds and it is not available everywhere just spots all over US.If Verizon changes Data plans like at&t you don't have to change your current data plan that is for newer customers who come after the change.If you currently have $30 data and wish to keep it just have it Grandfathered over when upgrading,etc...

Sprint had customer service problems like 5 years ago and lost customers like crazy. People who have no idea what they are talking about just continue to say that Sprint is going out of business. Nevermind that they have regained a lot of customers, have good coverage, 4g, the cheapest plans and arguably the best current android phone (Evo).

They actually have yet to post a quarter where they have net additions for post paid customers.

I'm not trying to knock sprint, but they have a bit to go yet until they get where people will consider them back on track.

Sprint isn't going anywhere. I'm with Big Overly Expensive Red, but the EVO insured they will be around and I see A LOT of them.

Exactly. Every carrier will follow suit eventually. If you're a current customer, you won't have to worry about losing your unlimited data plan.

Sprint might not for awhile because they're still trying to rebuild their horrible reputation but T-Mobile will.T-Mobile long ago gave up wanting to be the "value provider".Their new goal is to charge fees like the Big Boys(VZW & AT&T). The only people who brag about their T-Mobile deals are the ones who've been with them for years.

That's a bunch of BS! If Sprint were going to implement tiered pricing, they would have done so with their new 4G network. Verizon (as well as At&t) has no choice but to switch to tiered pricing due to the "type" of LTE network they're converting to. The LTE 700Mhz does not have the bandwidth Wimax has.

I pray you are wrong. I like using PANDORA and this crap would ruin that for me and turn from Verizons monthly rape of my finances to murder.

It wouldn't suprise me if the rest of the carriers follwed suit in this one. First ATT then Verizon. This will be the future of wireless carriers.

Honestly, this would piss me off. Greatly. They already "cap" the plan at something like 4 or 6 gb, which of course I never get close to, but come on. How many people are out there actively abusing it. I know I'd obviously be fine with a plan that has more than I use, but that's just one more thing I'd have to pay attention to.

And these phones are built on data so if I went over it's not like I can just turn off the data side of it and keep running on minutes and text messages. The instant you turn the phone on you're paying an overage charge. It's just an all around bad idea.

The only cap that exists is when you're talking Tethering, data used from the handset by the handset is unlimited.

I was told by VZW that the cap is only if you tether with your phone. If all the data is used only on the device (non-thethered) then it is unlimited.

The unlimited data plan is not capped at anything, it is completely unlimited on the device itself. However, when you use tethering it caps the actual tethered Internet at 5GB, not the data on the phone.

Edit: *Wow, in the 30 seconds it took me to type this out two others replied before me, I will still keep this comment here for good measure.*

That is incorrect. There are indeed 2 caps with VZW.
One for Tether, and one for the Handset. They call it "unlimited" on the handset b/c no one ever gets close, so the sales reps are just trained to say "unlimited."

Read the fine print, trust me

I hope they don't follow Att too closely. 2gig and 200k are unreasonable tiers in my opinion.

I would make 3 tiers

Unlimited $45
2 gig $25
500k $15

If they go tiered they won't stick with unlimited (unless all they are doing is making a lower tier)

A couple questions from a verizon user

1. while you are connected to a wifi network, will you get charged for data? Bc i dont use wifi much, bc i think it kills my battery , (maybe my assumption is wrong on this)

2. will the charge be per line? I added my usage, combined 2 lines, i used 1.7 GB of data last month. My wife not as much.

I will gladly pay for a 2 GB plan, if saves me a couple bucks,
and i can skillfully keep my usage under 2 GB per month.

I cant see 500 MB per month...

1. No, any caps will only count when you are using data via a Cellular network. Wifi data will not count. Wifi is better for your battery for heavy browsing, but it consumes more battery if you just leave it in standby (so turn it on only when you use it to save battery)

2. Unless they seriously rework their minute structures as well, usage will remain per line, although Verizon execs have mentioned that they want to move to a Bucket plan design. You purchase batches of data and then you can use it on your devices as you want, on how every many devices you want (maybe with a nominal per line dialtone fee)

A couple answers from a Verizon Rep:

1. If you are connected to wifi you do not use the data on your plan.

2. Yes, the charges will be per line and I don't foresee that changing anytime in the future.

this wouldnt bother me majorly due to the fact that i use wifi more than 3G. but still it would be frustrating for me if im away from home for a period of time

I will be shocked if Verizon follows suit. I was just in a VZW store yesreday and that is all the sales associate could clamor about. How with LTE being launced there is no way that Verizon will move away from Unlimited Data. He joked how ATT were so unlucky and how he could not belive the move ATT made.

How is it that the employeees are not updated before the public.....

Sales people at VZW are known to not know what they are talking about though... I hope they're right. I was told the same thing by a CSR shen I ordered my DX

I work for Verizon I can attest to this. I have to call VZW customer service everyday and the amount of slack jawed idiots I come into contact with is staggering. I was told by my district representative that the turnover rate for VZW customer service is somewhere around 70% so that could easily explain why it is so poor.

It is really pathetic to say but this website is actually far more informative than anything Verizon can give me.

if this happens and it tuns out that it gets even more expensive ill just go back to a reg. cell phone. always did love my chauclate

I checked my usage and even on the heavy usage months I just barely go over 2GB. I'll just download one or two less albums each month and I'd be fine. Might even save me some money

I think that we all saw this coming. It was only a matter of time before they followed at&t's lead. I just hope that Sprint doesn't do it anytime soon. I like that Sprint does not have tiered pricing our a data cap.

they might not move away from unlimited data but just charge more for it.

this is sad but i am surprised verizon didn't do it before att.

Lets hope that they are reasonable (which they wont be)

At $150 a month (my Unlimited Plan price) I should be able to use whatever I want as much as I want and launch a nuke.

i use 5-8gb a month with mostly comes from downloading podcast such as androidcentral:) and streaming with orb, slingbox, pandora, slacker

I don't think so. I think the tiered approach will apply to all data plans and there will be a premium customers will have to pay for the LTE network. As they ween users off of 3G (which will probably take years) I would assume that premium will slowly come down.

Yes, I suspect you are right about the grandfathering because that's what ATT did. I actually would not be too sorry to see this happen anyways and I might even volunteer for tiered because with the degree that I use wifi over 3g I think I would probably save some money on a tiered plan. It will depend on the tier rates of course.

The only reason they allow grandfathering is because most likely this kind of change will allow you to jump ship, meaning, leave contract ETF free!

This didn't surprise me at all. It actually scares me because I don't like this trend. I'd have to go back to a normal dumb phone with no data. Maybe a crapberry just for email and messaging? Ugh that would suck!

See, I'm not sure how they could really do this. it seems like an about face from what they've been saying for the better part of a year (that caps are coming with 4g). That being said, Eroes was just updated to handle 4g equipment... take that as you will.

I know that unlimited is not sustainable, and that caps are coming, but if they do this, they need to do it right.

1. Don't copy att. 2gb for 25 is not a good rate.
2. Tethering (at least with one computer) should be included in all data plans, since it now has a cap.
3. Overage rates should be clearly defined. $10 per gb overage isn't bad, considering.
4. They need to make the MyVerizon app accurate to the day. right now it is really buggy.

This is fine by me as long as those of us with unlimited get to keep it and only people who join after a set date face the restrictions just like at&t did

I don't see this happening until LTE. Verizon said they were launching their 4G in the fouth quarter, so it only makes sense to hear rumblings of tiered data.

Grandfather in but that will only last til you have to renew your contact to get the latest phone. Unless you want to pay full price for it.

That is exactly what the VZW rep told me last night. He claims that he's not aware of tiered data plans as of right now but that if that does happen it would only change if you choose to make the switch or when you upgrade your acct. I think they are full of it! I pay enough for my 3 lines and they are now going to charge more or limit me? They sell these phones for us to be able to use as a gps, to surf the web, to play music, etc. It's obviously going to accrue data usage, now we'll have to monitor that? Are you kidding me?

Here's an idea, if it happens i say the verizon android central followers along with other groups like engadget etc just boycott the big red and every provider that doe this. Funny how they can't support unlimited databut my cable internet provider can? Bs.

I was hoping this wouldn't happen.

This sucks for Droid X users who apparently use 4x more data than the other phones.

We're using more data because we just got our damn phones. We're downloading apps. We're playing with our brand new toys. If we could do the App Market over wifi it wouldnt be a problem.

You can without an issue. No idea why this person thinks you cant.

To my knowledge the only thing you can't do over wifi is skype (since it uses verizon cell towers, not data, to work) everything else works over wifi.

I knew it, people saying they'll leave Verizon, blah blah. C'mon, you're better off staying if you already love Verizon. AT&T did it, so you're not going to flock there. And Verizon and AT&T are the best 2 providers, the ones to be with these days. Like someone else said, T-Mobile may have good phones and plans/prices, but their coverage purely sucks. Same with Sprint, decent phones and plans/prices are hard to beat, but coverage is still not up to par! I can't imagine 4G coverage, probably cuts in and out like their 3G did with my Blackberry before I left for big red this past November. That's why I don't see the EVO 4G as good as it might have been on another network.

Now if Verizon does the 2GB for $25 a month like AT&T, then that would suck pretty bad! I would be pissed too because that's the worst value! Verizon needs to come up with multiple tiers of data. Something like this would be reasonable for varying users....
1GB data = $15 per month
3GB data = $25 per month
5GB data = $35 per month
and $10 for every GB over each plan

Get used to it folks. This snowball is rolling far too fast. It'd be nice if us Big Red users get a little extra data for our increased prices, but we'll see.

Thank god I'm grandfathered in too! I went back to a Verizon store nearby just to double-check with them that they would keep me on my current unlimited data plan regardless that I just upgraded from a BB to the X and the salesperson confirmed it. I asked him if VZW will be coming up with tiered data plans and this is what he told me: If that happens, it would apply only to those who make the switch AFTER VZW starts the new plans and this would not apply to current customers who have had been with VZW for quite some time.

So, if you're thinking about switching to VZW, then you'd be better off doing it now than later.

I guess I am "Grandfather" in then too ,lol since I already got a plan too . ....Wait then we all are hahaha wtf :/ lol

Because unlimited is not sustainable.

It's a great word for consumers, but because of it, most consumers end up overpaying to subsidize those that do take advantage of it.

And this is before Netflix, hulu, etc all come to your android phone, or 4g that allows for cable level internet (near latency free gaming) etc. Things that MORE people would use, and the heavy users would consume even more, meaning that verizon and other companies couldn't use the average users payments to supplement the high end users.

IF unlimited sticks around after 4g comes out, it will be VERY pricy (think $80+)

Agree. And with Verizon on the cusp of getting the iPhone, their data network is about to get flooded with a higher demand for data. I'm sure we all know a ton of people on Verizon who are waiting for the iPhone or folks on AT&T who want to switch to Verizon once they have the iPhone. There would be no way to sustain the "unlimited" data model for the explosive smartphone growth they're facing in the next 5-10 years.

Android phones consume as much, if not more, data than iphone's do. Their phone won't kill it any more than an android phone currently does.

Yes, there will be a lot of iphone signups if verizon gets it, but I don't think it's going to be the massive onlaught most people are predicting.

Remember, according to att's own numbers, most of their users use under 200mb a month. My dad, who is a light android user, already used that 15 days in because he's not tethered to wifi to get a decent signal. A lot of people who switch to verizon will still keep wifi out of habit. Not to mention a lot of verizon customers asking about the iphone won't buy one once it drops because they can't get it bogo/without data.

Right. But iPhone will be joining a network that is already loaded with Android handsets. The growth in Verizon's subscriber base is going to be massive. Most people around the country regard Verizon as the best mobile network. If they get the iPhone, they need to be able to support the additional data consumption.

I'm sure they have already built detailed models to predict and handle this growth. However, there are costs associated with that growth and that is why they are going to move to a tiered plan. It curbs data usage while still making Verizon tons and tons of money.

Sprint already have a cap set on their 3G network set at 5gb.4G is their new unlimited plan. I live in Baltimore so I know.

They don't have that for their smartphones. I use 7-10GB every month and have never been charged extra or received any type of notice from Sprint.

Logic would dictate that this is in line with the LTE rollout. If you're a current Verizon Wireless subscriber and have unlimited data, that won't change and you'll continue with what your contract stated. But if you make any plan changes (i.e. upgrade to a LTE phone or move to a family plan) that's when you would lose your "unlimited" data plan. Having consulted telecom companies in the past, I can't imagine Verizon offering unlimited data on their new network. The tiered approach will help them recoupe network costs much faster than offering unlimited data. Tiered-plans (data or minutes) are cash cows for mobile providers (e.g., overage charges) and Verizon has its eyes on the money.

This essentially comes down to the 80/20 rule. A small percentage of customers are using the largest percentage of bandwidth. So a tiered plan benefits those who don't use a lot of data and charges an additional fee to those who do. I'm assuming everyone on this blog fall into the high usage bucket so if you're planning on moving to LTE, you will have to pay a premium.

I'd be willing to bet that 95% of the people throwing a hissy fit over this actually have no idea what their data usage has been. I frequently surf the net and download apps constantly. My data usage this cycle so far is less that 200 Mb. By the end of the cycle, I should be well under 1 Gb. That means I would be able to save a lot of money with a tiered plan, as probably would 99% of people. Also, for those who do use a ton of data, why aren't you taking advantage of WiFi? Scared of battery life or something?

No wifi on the road or most places out and about. If I am at work or home I am generally in front of/near a computer so I wouldn't use my phone.

I use ~8GB of a data month. Sling and Pandora suck it up.

Just like when AT&T did it it is nothing more than a money grab.

Even if it will save some people money now, it sets the stage for massive profits later as cellular Internet involves more and more data intensive applications.

I was hoping VZW would use the unlimited plans as a hammer to hit AT&T but I guess it is not to be.

This is a race to the bottom. Every carrier is looking to give you a lot less for a little less money, effectively getting a price increase. AT&T had true unlimited wireless, but lowered they bill by like $10 for a 2GB cap. Verizon has a 5GB "unlimited" capped plan, but may do the same? How does the consumer win? This is effectively "decontenting" the product.

Verizon's unlimited plan is UNLIMITED. there is no 5gb cap for ANYTHING but tethering. Period. If you're on the device, you have unlimited. the 5gb "limited unlimited" farse was started by tech sites who can't read.

I think the terms of service are pretty clear:

" Unlimited Data Plans and Features (such as NationalAccess, BroadbandAccess, Push to Talk, and certain VZEmail services) may ONLY be used with wireless devices for the following purposes: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) email; and (iii) intranet access (including access to corporate intranets, email, and individual productivity applications like customer relationship management, sales force, and field service automation). The Unlimited Data Plans and Features MAY NOT be used for any other purpose. Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following: (i) continuous uploading, downloading or streaming of audio or video programming or games; (ii) server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine–to–machine connections or peer–to–peer (P2P) file sharing; or (iii) as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections. This means, by way of example only, that checking email, surfing the Internet, downloading legally acquired songs, and/or visiting corporate intranets is permitted, but downloading movies using P2P file sharing services and/or redirecting television signals for viewing on laptops is prohibited. A person engaged in prohibited uses, continuously for one hour, could typically use 100 to 200 MBs, or, if engaged in prohibited uses for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, could use more than 5 GBs in a month.

For individual use only and not for resale. We reserve the right to protect our network from harm, which may impact legitimate data flows. We reserve the right to limit throughput or amount of data transferred, and to deny or terminate service, without notice, to anyone we believe is using an Unlimited Data Plan or Feature in any manner prohibited above or whose usage adversely impacts our network or service levels. Anyone using more than 5 GB per line in a given month is presumed to be using the service in a manner prohibited above, and we reserve the right to immediately terminate the service of any such person without notice. We also reserve the right to terminate service upon expiration of Customer Agreement term."

Can you not read very well?

Finally someone else who gets it! I was looking for the fine print too but you beat me to it.

I hope this clears up this common misconception.
Thanks Ruel24!

That same segment you posted also says that verizon considers it against the terms of services to stream video or audio, and yet they ACTIVELY promote and support BOTH services with their 3g, android phones can stream games, streaming web camera's (they "feature" qik)

So are you going to tell me that verizon is encouraging things they will shut a persons phone off for? Or is it more likely that they haven't updated their Terms and Conditions in years, and keep that clause there ONLY as a back door to use.

There are people who FREQUENTLY user 10+gb a month for handset data, no termination. There is someone I know who uses over 120gb a month on his aircard, no termination or even threat of it.

So yes, your data on the device is UNLIMITED. unless you can point me to some articles about users getting their lines cut off for excessive usage anytime within the last few years.

Verizon's terms and conditions also talk about domestic roaming and long distance. Two other things that no longer matter.

You can clearly see the terms. Those are Verizon's words, not mine. If they have chosen to ignore someone violating the terms, that's their business. However, they clearly have spec'd out the definition of "unlimited" data plans, and it's not unlimited.

They can't unless they want to allow you to get out of your current without the ETF. They probably don't want customers jumping ship so they will just do what AT&T did and grandfather anyone who already has an unlimited plan. Any new customers or existing customers who make changes to their plan will fall under the tiered-plans.

Well suffice it to say that if anything can kill this burgeoning smartphone market it will be these inept carriers who have for years told us that they've been reinvesting billions into the growth and upkeep of their networks, which I guess now we all realize was just a lot of smoke up our a$$es.

2009 CEO compensation of following companies:

AT&T: $20.2M
Verizon: $16.2M
Sprint: $12.3M
T-Mobile: N/A

Just got off the line with vzw and we all need to call in and strongly advise big red against this decision. If enough people say that they would leave vzw if they did this, it might deter them from making such a bad mistake. The rep said that they have a suggestion box that we can add to if we call in. Let the voice of the user be heard folks. dont be shy or think that it wont help. it definitely will. lets make them believe that we are in control. Peace.