Verizon to kill grandfathered unlimited data plans, makes my decision to leave easier

Verizon to kill grandfathered unlimited data plans, makes my decision to leave easier

Summary: There are still people, like me, that have unlimited data on Verizon, but we now hear that this service will be killed off to transition people to a shared data plan sometime this year.

TOPICS: Mobility, Verizon, Wi-Fi

My primary wireless carrier is T-Mobile due to the excellent coverage and speeds I experience where I live and work. I have five phones on an old family plan with unlimited data on 2 lines (throttles after 5GB, but I never use that much). I also signed up for a Verizon LTE unlimited plan with the HTC ThunderBolt and now use that line with my iPhone 4S. Fierce Wireless reports that Verizon is killing my grandfathered unlimited plan sometime this year when they launch their shared data plans. We don't have all the details on whether or not this applies to those who signed up with a 4G plan and don't renew a contract, which would apply to me.

In the statement made by Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo (copied below), he mentions this is a move to get people from unlimited 3G plans to 4G. However, I signed up for this plan with a subsidized 4G LTE HTC ThunderBolt device so it was always supposed to be a 4G plan offering, and it may turn out that it stays this way until I sign a new contract. I prefer to pay extra for unsubsidized devices so I am not locked in, unless I am just joining a carrier since some require a contract just to join.

So as you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto the data share plan. And moving away from, if you will, the unlimited world and moving everybody into a tiered structure data share-type plan. So when you think about our 3G base, a lot of our 3G base is unlimited. As they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan. And that is beneficial for us for many reasons, obviously. So as you pick what tier you want to be and we think that there will be some price up in those tiers.

As I mentioned late last night I pre-ordered a Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE and given that they are the last major carrier with unlimited data it looks like I may be moving from Verizon to Sprint. Who am I kidding, I will just add Sprint to my collection of wireless carrier contracts :) While I am disappointed that Verizon may be forcing people to a shared plan (no pricing or availability yet) that will obviously have data limits, it makes my carrier decision easier and helps me reduce monthly costs if they do kill the grandfathered plan. I pay $83/month (with taxes) for Verizon and use about 25 calling minutes and unlimited data (generally between 2GB to 4GB/month). I get FANTASTIC coverage with Verizon so I would prefer to stick with them and their unlimited data plan. I also paid full price for an Apple iPhone 4S to keep my unlimited data plan intact so this news doesn't make me very pleased with Verizon either.

I tried the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T for a couple of weeks and was trending to exceed my 3GB monthly data allotment. Thus, as a person who uses quite a bit of data on multiple carriers I really don't want to have to pay strict attention to data limits all the time and am looking to stick with unlimited data options.

I understand that carriers are concerned about people overloading their networks and abusing unlimited data plans that they offered and we accepted, but I doubt there are that many customers even exceeding more than 3GB a month (may heavy usage max in most cases) so killing this offering may do more harm than good. I think it is great to see shared data plans for families, but those consumers who have just one or two phones on a carrier may not benefit from such plan changes. If they kill my data plan before my contract expires I wonder if I can get out of paying an ETF since they are changing the service plan I agreed to with my contract.

Topics: Mobility, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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  • Well just dont expect sprint to have unlimited plans forever either

    Im sure everyone will eventually eliminate them. But at least theyre still heavily advertising them so you might get another year or two out of them.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Sprint has its own problems

      They've cured their customer service rep, but their signal doesn't penetrate buildings as well as Verizon's, their 4G is MIA but I still pay $10/month for it in Buffalo, and their stock price is down and can't get any respect from Wall Street. They're hurting from the iPhone subsidy and the NexTel acquisition, and right now unlimited data is their one selling point--so for sure the wizards in the boardroom will kill it off shortly and drive a stake through their own heart. But don't ask me, I'm a loyal user for 12 years.
  • Maybe I will get that AT&T Lumia sooner then I expected

    time to leave Verizon, as I'll be hit by that change too.
    William Farrel
  • Sprint..

    Is looking better by the day. Why does it seems something daily is spewing out of AT&Ts and Verizons mouth, f*****g us every way possible? At some tech conference a couple weeks ago, AT&Ts CEO regrets creating the unlimited data plan with the iPhone cause it didnt make enough money for their shareholders. Now dont get me wrong, businesses are there to make money, I get that, but isnt there at some point where its enough and stop telling us to bend over. When are they going to make something positive for the consumer instead of constantly telling us they are taking something away? Seems like thats whats been happening the last few years at both the big companies. Collusion, anyone?
    • Carriers are Ethically Self-Castrated

      I have to agree.
      For me (AT&T) I full expect to see this happen sometime in the near future. For me it is not so much I will lose both of my unlimited data phones, rather that the resulting "forced change" is going to cost me significantly more for the same amount of data I currently use.

      I saw similar with with the throttling when I went to LTE from 3G even though my data usage really didn't change. Thankfully my throttle limit is 5gb (I use about 3-4gb a month per phone).
    • The smaller carriers still look the best

      I realize not everyone lives in a covered area, but there are tons of options. Boost Mobile (and probably others) use Sprints network and yet you can save $20 or more per month.

      Do you get your house mortgage from the big banks that charge higher rates because they are in a vice-grip from Wall Street? Or do you go with your local bank/credit union that gives you a much better rate?

      If the company sells the iPhone, chances are they have to charge more to make up the money Apple demands for each iPhone contract. Unless Sprint is using the profits from their prepaid spin-offs, which would be a desperate measure, it's only a matter of time before either their rates go up or they drop unlimited data, too.
    • I'm with you

      I can't believe their costs are that high. I also am amazed there isn't more competition. I pay more for 5 smart phones than I do for my home phone, internet, netflix, hulu, AND my electric bill, COMBINED! The price they charge for the service they provide is outrageous. I think we've all become immune to the constant price increases and functionality limitations that we don't scream about them.
      I had a problem with Sprint with a new phone they screwed me on and was threatening to drop them. My plan at Verizon was >$100 more per month for limited data, plus my ETF was $1,630! You can't even get of the rollercoaster if you want to.
      I think the point where they stop sticking it to us is when we walk away. I am very close to trying life without a smart phone.
      • And more with you...

        ... it's time to join forces & protest, or shut the H up & suffer in more dignifying silence!

        Take a poll and spread it to those who you may thing are fed up with what the carriers shove down customers throats. Maybe that will help gauge if there's anyone who is ready to protest in a serious manner and put their money where their mouth is. That would spell clearly if we deserve the way carriers treat us, or if we are capable to get some long overdue respect as customers. bit [DOT] ly [SLASH] JVFhVE

        We can rest assured that until there'll be an uprising that will speak the only language carriers understand (money) and will really hit them in the only place where it will hurt (their wallets), then not a single thing will ever change... quite the opposite, because by acquiescence we justify what we're being charged and will perpetrate the overcharging practices and we can only look forward to having even less services for ever increasing costs.

        Once we'll have their attention they will have to start offer real value instead of continue effing us minute in and minute out, SMS-in and SMS-out, megabyte in and megabyte out! Here is a wireless customers' Bill of Rights we could use as start to list our demands. bit [DOT] ly [SLASH] IVKbAC

        It is possible, but we must demand it first... won't happen by virtue of a miracle!

        So I'm asking here... Are there others who are fed up and ready to show they mean business to all carriers? Please take the poll above (and please pass it around to fed up fellows carrier hostages). That would serve merely to gauge if we're a indeed a nation of s??xers who simply have what they deserve, or if there are still enough people who believe they can change something, when they don't like the way that "something is working, (even if that means making some renounces that are definitely not impossible)?

        At this point only a strong signal from a large number of people could have an impact. Is everyone so addicted to their gadgets that will never happen? Sure the lock-in plans will not give people much freedom to protest since to get out of a contract as a form of protest may cost some money but that's part of making sacrifices to fight and get the respect customers reserve and make our voice heard. It shouldn't be all about the investors! Without customers carriers would not exist! Have carriers pounded in our collective brain that we will all drop dead the moment we will have disconnected our cellphones? Have they fully transformed us into obedient drones already?

        The idea would be to join forces to organize a "ditch your cellphone protest" where everyone would pledge to send a strong message ending their wireless contract with the current overpriced carriers until they will not change their way of thinking and will start listening and give half-a-flying about us, their customers!

        And mind you, I am not talking about ditching all our precious devices. They can still be used on wifi! And for the most part they could be made work to work on wifi much like a phone if only that was allowed by the greedy carriers that is!!! Data is data... calls are even clearer on services like skype or VOIP but of course we're not allowed to use that on data plans and even if we were with the current charges on data plans and the end of unlimited plans for those who had them, the VOIP option would be rendered useless. There are companies that are conducting a beta where the main form of wireless connection would be wifi with fall-back on cellular network (company is republicwireless), but that's not out as a product yet and may not work for everyone... still something to consider to understand that carrier have been squeezing us and overcharging us long enough.

        Today services should cost a fraction of what they do!
        - SMS should be included since they are negligible traffic and it's data which we already pay for! Data consumed for average surfing and email in a month is way more data than all SMS an average user will send over several years! That's how negligible that is and we are still charger for such atavism!
        - The ridiculous amount of minutes should be far higher (bandwidth for voice is a very small part of the data traffic!)
        - Data should be unlimited with throttling past an "fair use" threshold (which is definitely not a mere 4BG or 5GB/mo!) and past that amount the throttling should still be based only on traffic amount present on a network tower at any given moment. So on busy towers there users past fair use quota will be throttled to lower speeds to allow users who are still below quotas to share more of a tower's bandwidth.

        In comparison when analog wireless phones were around they were much cheaper considering the costs connected to the growing wireless carrier networks! Today there are exponentially more users and the technology allows to serve many more customers with much smaller investments on the carriers' side! This turned the whole business into a golden-egg-laying goose... especially because the anachronistic limitations have been kept in place to grow profitability in exponential ways. So no carrier would ever want to remove SMS charges, or remove the insane limits on minutes, or allow higher data usage letting them be shared on family plans!

        Only if we will be capable to send a message where we show we mean business, then we may have an impact and get results... so anyone fed up enough to start/join a protest? Personally I am ready! And have been ready for quite a while... my problem has always been that I've found people who despite complaining have never taken action and I haven't been able to collect a strong consensus... that's why I eded up thinking we may really deserve what we have. Prove me wrong, please! I haven't upgraded nor plan to upgrade I will forever stay away from new and absurd 2-year lock-in scam where one is kept hostage and lured in with new shiny overpriced phones. I am ready to pledge ditching my carrier, now the question is...are you? Want to email? freakqnc [AT] hmamail {{DOT}} com (I'll try my best to keep on top of it but but can't guarantee prompt personal replies)

        Having a cell today has become a luxury and in most cases it's just a fun toy with the plus that we can use for calls as well if needed. For most of us, if we really think hard about it it's not something that we couldn't do without! Most of the times when home or at work most have access to landlines. Few could justify a real need for a cellphone other than representing a sporadic convenience we've simply grown accustomed to and we've become way too complacent with to the point we hardly get outraged by the constant increase in charges and the unfair model... For instance:
        - Both parties are charged on a call or SMS while only the caller/sender should be charged.
        - All incoming calls/text should never be charged
        - Voice it's still sold at ridiculous amounts of minutes considering they are also used for incoming calls! Baseline across carriers should be increased to allow at least 1h per day starting at 1800min allowances with no incoming call charges.
        - All carriers should have roll over minutes no carrier should dump minutes that have been paid for!
        - All data should be increased to allow consuming data available today in a way that makes sense allowing real life use that today's average user makes of their devices
        - Download and update of apps consumes data and such traffic should be forfeited to at least 1GB which should be enough for some where around 150 apps updates/download per month.
        - Further data traffic should be allowed for 15 min video chat/day which will need 2GB, listening to 1/2h per day audio streams, web-radio, or downloading songs will need another 2GB at least, watching some streaming video will consume the most amount of data and even with a low allowance of 15min per day for the news or some other such content, that would mean 7.5h per month which is nothing really but will need about 4GB. At least another 2GB will be needed for web surfing 100 pages/day of rich media web pages and sending about 60 rich media emails/day or any such combination.
        - Furthermore data allowances must roll over much like the minutes of voice and no carrier should remove data allowances that were paid for but haven't been used.

        You see that an average use would potentially create an 11GB of traffic and that's not even using the device in an intensive way (given the time limitations mentioned on audio and video streaming, which could be easily surpassed)... if any throttle should happen should occur only after such minimum fair amount of monthly data usage, but should not be charged extra at the insane rates applied today!
      • That is why I don't have a data plan...

        and may never have one. It isn't worth it. I connect using wifi at home and work, and in the homes of relatives and friends. I don't need no stinkin data plan!
  • Should be interesting to see what VZW does with/to me.

    I have a 3g LG phone that has a USD$59.99 per month unlimited "Broadband Connect" data service plan on it, and a Motorola Droid Bionic 4G LTE phone that has a USD$50.00 per month 6GB Hotspot data feature. Have no intention of "upgrading" the LG phone anytime soon. If it dies...I have another new one sitting in a box waiting.

    I still do not have 4G LTE where I live & work, although it is getting closer, but when I need to connect my laptop or tablet to the Internet via 3g...I use the LG phone.

    Now, in the Fierce Wireless report, VZW is talking about USD$30.00 per month data plans, which is different from what I have, so...guess I'l just have to wait and see. If they pull the plug on my unlimited Broadband Connect service...then that phone comes off the account...and VZW will LOSE money on me. :-)
    • You could jail-break that phone..

      I found someone on you-tube who's video shows you how to jail-break your phone and by using a 2.99 linux editor program (purchased from the Market) to modify Android OS removes that extra $30 charge for using your phone as a mobile hotspot. As that youtube video creator said "only in America do they try to and get away with charging you twice for the same internet service." It's like buying your car with ALL YOU NEED FOR AIR CONDITIONING BUT THE SWITCH AND THEN THEY CHARGE YOU $30 A MONTH TO REMOTELY ALLOW THE A/C TO WORK. It makes me nuts!!
      • Heres the problem with that


        As much as probably 90 percent of us posting on here know how to Jailbreak an iPhone or root all 1000+ Android devices, there is the regular consumer, that wants to use their phone as it was intended to be used and not have to jump through hoops to use it. What I dont get when it comes to the mobile carriers at all is as follows..

        In Europe, where they seem to have much more in the way of consumer protections, tethering is a free option and they seem to be doing just fine financially in those countries. So over here, there are very few consumer protections so the telecoms (Which have been getting away with murder since the days of Ma Bell) find a way to nickel and dime us to death for everything. SMS was a cash cow for them when the overhead was virtually nothing, as is data. Now iMessage and the 5000 text message apps which consume very little data are eating their bottom line. So to punish us for using the data THEY OFFER and have very little overhead, they do things like this.

        If my wife didnt lock us in to AT&T when she got her 4S, I go with a small local carrier to help stimulate the local economy. If just 10 percent of the customers of the 2 major telcos did this, I think they would wake up.

        Oh one more thing, charging for tethering is BS too. Not cause of the typical argument that says "We pay for data, we should do what we want with it," its how its used on the network. Yes there is an extra hop that must be done from the device tethering to the one being tethered...BUT THATS A Local Area Network Hop (Tablet, Phone, laptop) and has nothing to do with the Wide Area Network (the Edge, 3G and 4G) so the data being outputted is at the same speed and doesnt congest the network in any way. It may be larger cause PC websites can be considerably larger and consume constant data flow thanks to that soon to be dead plug-in (Flash) but does not congest the network. There was a study on this 2 months ago calling the carriers argument BS, and thats the reason why.
  • If VZW changes the contract, can I cancel without penalty?

    I wonder... if Verizon does indeed pull the plug on my unlimited data, could I legally consider that a breach of the contract and be able to terminate said contract without the early termination fees? I'm sure they have some fine print in the contract that I didn't read (who am I kidding...i didn't even read the BOLD print) that would make those termination fees still apply. Anyone?
    • Unfortunately no

      Because it will be dead at the end of the contract. Not on a certain date. If they killed it on a certain date, then they would lose a shitload of customers and make no money cause of a contract breech.
    • There are ways to force a cancellation without penalty...

      If you are out of service coverage, or if you simply make yourself enough of a pain in the ass. Google it and you'll find pages full of "XXX carrier fired me after I YYY" stories.
    • it would happen at renewell time

      I just got hit with the 30 dollar upgrade charge when I went from a lg ally to a 4g razr. tried to argue that I could drop the line and get the razr without the upgrade fee and I was shown the 35doller charge for line activation if i did that. They have it figured out. That being said My wife's 4g is on the unlimited plan and she wont upgrade till it or she dies. She loves it.
  • Verizon could be in store for a LOT of bad publicity!

    As a Verizon customer, I'm looking forward to hearing the details. If the change is, overall, detrimental to customers (and I'll be pleasantly surprised if it's not), you gotta believe a *lot* of bad publicity will result. People won't stand for it; they'll attempt to file class-action lawsuits (if for no other reason than to get out of having to pay ETFs) and will flee to other carriers.
    • Will the Contracts allow that?

      I think most have arbitration clauses built in to prevent that.
      Though you could small claims......
    • They are in for a lot of bad publicity

      However a class-action suit to get out of the ETFs would be tossed by the judge if any law firm accepted to represent it for one reason, the current data plans would remain intact until at least the end of the current contracts or until the beginning of a new contract. Most others would be tossed for the customers' breach of contract for not following the arbitration clause in the WSA. Example pulled from the AT&T WSA "THIS AGREEMENT REQUIRES THE USE OF ARBITRATION ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS TO RESOLVE DISPUTES, RATHER THAN JURY TRIALS OR CLASS ACTIONS, AND ALSO LIMITS THE REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO YOU IN THE EVENT OF A DISPUTE. " I am not saying such contractual clauses are ethically correct or even supporting them, just that at current they are legal in most areas and are judicially enforceable.
  • Why Don't They

    Why don't they also kill having contracts. Makes it hard to shop around for who gives you the best reception and value for your money when you get locked into a contract. Of course, I've never done that so maybe they do have something like a 2 or 3 day grace period where you can get out of it.

    I just know that when I lose that there is no reason for me to stay devoted to Verizon. I know they give me good reception where I travel. I do not know about the others because I have not tried them.