Verizon stays quiet on tiered data plans

We heard rumblings that Verizon Wireless will be killing its unlimited data plans by the end of the month and the folks over at Droid Life have received the alleged script that Big Red is sending out to squash concerns.

Thanks to “blog activity,” Verizon is coaching its customer service representatives to deflect customers who are asking about the future of its unlimited data plans.

“Thank you for your inquiry but I have no information on any pricing change at this time,” customer representatives are supposed to say. “I’d be happy to review your current plan and let you know what your options are.”

This doesn’t really give us hints at what Verizon is planning to do, as the company doesn’t comment on rumor and speculation and this line fits into that philosophy. But I don’t think it’s too crazy to believe that Verizon will move away from unlimited plans to a tiered-pricing model.

AT&T recently axed unlimited plans and now users can pay $15 a month for 200 MB or $25 for 2 GB. If Verizon moved to tiered-data pricing, I would expect it to have similar rate plans.

Why would Verizon do this? Well, the simple fact is the carrier never really wanted to offer “unlimited” data. Sure, a few years ago, Verizon could get away with charging you $30 a month for that BlackBerry and most users would use a paltry amount of data. But with devices like the Motorola Droid X and the explosion of data-intensive apps, Verizon customers are sucking down data at a rate that doesn’t gibe well with Verizon’s business model.

Big Red has already said that its 4G network based on LTE will have tiered-pricing. The company plans to offer “buckets” of 4G data for a variety of consumer devices.

The carrier is supposed to implement these changes July 29, so we’ll know for sure in a week. What do you guys think of Big Red ditching unlimited data plans?

[Via Droid Life]

  • Esteev

    This is not good. Verizon doesn't have nearly the amount of subscribers as AT&T does and will drive more people to the iPhone. I am personally a huge proponent of Verizon but, if they ditch the unlimited plans I may very well be moving to an iPhone 4.

  • VzwEmployee

    esteev…did you just say verizon doesnt have the amount of subscribers that at&T does? verizon has 30+ million more users. even if ATT has the iphone you understand apple gets a good percentage of that Data price.

  • Mr. Mac

    AT&T no longer offers unlimited data unless you have been grandfathered in as have I.

  • Jordan

    Frankly, I don't like it. After having a smartphone for over a year now, I really can't go back. It does everything I need it to. However, I'm not sure 2 gigs is enough, and the supposed $80 for 5gb is just too much for me.
    Also, it just doesn't really make sense. When you sign up for a gym membership, you pay the same rate as everyone else to use the equipment. Some people go once a week, some people go every day, some people never go. Regardless of how much wear and tear damage you are doing to the equipment, you're paying the same amount as the guy who never goes.
    While I see why they want to, I don't think it's a good move.

  • Devoted2blackberry

    Why on earth would they want to model anything after AT&T?

  • Teresa

    I'm afraid Verizon will be making a huge mistake to ditch the unlimited data plan at this time. They will more than likely lose more customers than this move would make them in the long run. I agree with Jordon concerning the gym philiosphy. Many Verizon customers have the unlimited date plan and don't use much of it while there are some that use the crap out of it. I WILL change providers (all 5 of my lines plus internet) if they do this especially without giving us warning.

  • Jim V

    As someone mentioned earlier, AT&T allowed existing unlimited contracts to be grandfathered in. What has Verizon's stance been in the past when plans change? What happened when unlimited texts were eliminated? Did they allow customers with existing unlimited text contracts the option of renewing contracts with unlimited texts?

  • Chris

    Yes. I was grandfathered in on past contracts, after Verizon made significant changes. There was a time when you used data, you actually used your airtime minutes.

  • Marcus

    Scrapping unlimited data wouldn't be wise; they are probably hoping to keep their customer base based on the friends and family. Sprint has an unlimited data plan with voice (The unlimited everything; includes 450 minutes for $69.99).

    They'll probably grandfather current users at their current pricing plan. The pricing change, if this did happen, would only affect new customers and existing customers who switched their plans.

  • Doug

    C'mon tier'd pricing. Finally the market who wants a smart phone with limited Data charges is available to us. I need a PDA with a phone. I live on a laptop all day. I need a mobile calendar like 'myweek' and I need texting and WIFI. If you look at a few blogs you will see there is a large market of non-data plan customers who need a phone with large screen,quality contacts,quality calendar and texting…. This has been unavailable to the non-$30 data market for awhile. The current $10 messaging phones have NO updated calendar applications other than on-line google calendar.

    • victorjs

      I agree wholeheartedly with Doug. If you scan the internet, you'll find GOBS of people who want to use a Blackberry or another smartphone without a data plan. Primary reason? They want the features of the phone, which are generally superior to a regular phone, but they don't need or want to pay for the data plan. For over a decade, these people were mostly out of luck. Now, with tiered pricing, those same people can spend just a little bit more ($15) a month and get the phone they want. They will have to be careful about their data usage, but that's on them. They'll be charged more if they go over.

      One more thing that lots of people haven't been factoring in to this situation: most (all?) of the new smartphones have a wifi chip built in. Leverage that to your fullest advantage and you'll only need to use your data plan for those odd times when you're not in a wifi zone. The end result? You can still use gobs and gobs of data, and only a small portion of it goes against your data plan "bucket". This is a blueprint for saving money, and still getting the features and phone you want.

  • TFGControls

    Sorry everyone. It doesn’t add up. Verizon is saying that a few people are abusing the data service and so they are going to charge them extra for that. But the other 90 percent of users are going to give a break. Lets look at 100 users. 90 get a break at say for 20.00/month. The other 10 pay 60.00/month. That’s 1800+600=2400. Now if they keep the unlimited plan at 29.95 that’s 2995.00 for 100 subscribers.
    Verizon is not out to loose money. We, the people in the middle of the market are going to pay more than we do now. If Verizon is smart they can make alot more money while taking away from the competition by keeping the unlimited plan at 29.95.

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