Welcome to the future America! A land where companies are hurting.. so much so that they are going to make you hurt too. In this episode, we’ll explore the next event in our saga of sadness, with a disappointing tale about the death of the Unlimited Data Plan.

This time… It’s Verizon Wireless. Yes, they did announce it a long time ago, and many of us knew this day would come. However, nothing gets more real to us then… well, when it’s real! Today marks the first day that new Verizon Customers will NOT have the option of getting Unlimited Data for their smartphones, needing instead to chose from a plethera of options that take more, and give less… much less.

In fact, in Verizon’s case, the plans are more diverse than AT&T’s options, but at the cost of being a bit more expensive as well. Now, instead of getting Unlimited Data for $30 per month, all new Verizon Customers are left with the options seen above. Tiered data plans that place a cap on how much you are allowed to use every month. The days of being careless and free with your usage habits are over (unless of course you are one of the few people left on Sprint… how’s that feeling right now anyways?)

With this move, Verizon seems to have given up a key competitive advantage in the race against AT&T, their biggest competitor. It was an advantage they likely could have used, and likely needed, with the T-Mobile and AT&T merger that’s being discussed. Unlimited Data Plans are being faded out everywhere, with the exception of Sprint (who, in themselves, are basically being faded out everywhere). – Perhaps now that they are the exclusive carrier with Unlimited Data, and the carrier with by far the cheapest plans… Sprint may find themselves catching up to the pack when all hope seemed lost… maybe?… Okay, moving on then…

 

Customers who pay $30 a month will now get 2 gigabytes of data. That’s enough to send 1,000 emails, look at 100 web pages, and listen to 20 hours of music, among other things. Just as AT&T does, the plans involve a per GB penalty system that charges more money at a set rate for going over. If a customer uses more data than they’re supposed to, Verizon will charge a $10 penalty for every extra gigabyte.

Here are a few Questions, and Answers, from PC Mag:

What do the new data plans cost?
Data was previously $30 per month for unlimited use. The new plans are $30 for 2GB per month, $50 for 5GB, and $80 for 10GB. Feature phone users with Internet-compatible phones can choose to pay $10 for 75MB per month.

What if I already have an unlimited data plan?
Luckily, the new tiered pricing won’t yet affect customers who currently have an unlimited data plan with Verizon. They can even upgrade to a new phone without having to switch to a tiered plan.

What about Mobile Hotspot users?
A number of newer Verizon phones have come with the option for free Mobile Hotspot mode, allowing users to share their network connection with a number of Wi-Fi enabled devices. Customers currently using this promotion will now have to pay $30 per month for unlimited Mobile Hotspot use. New customers will have to pay $20 for 2GB of extra mobile hotspot data per month.

What happens if I go over my data plan limit?
Users who go over their data limit will be charged $10 per gigabyte. Given the costs of the new usage-based pricing structure, this seems to fall in line.

Do any other carriers offer unlimited data plans?
Now that Verizon has switched to tiered data plans, Sprint is the only major U.S. wireless provider to offer unlimited data. Sprint’s Everything Data plan provides unlimited data access, along with a 450 minute calling plan, starting at $69.99 per month. Keep in mind that Verizon’s new data plan pricing is for data only—a calling plan is a separate charge. T-Mobile offers unlimited talk and text messaging along with “unlimited” data that throttles after 2GB for $79.99 per month, while AT&T offers 2GB of data for $25 per month (again, this price is just for data only).

Is there a way I can get around this?
Well, come tomorrow, no, there isn’t. But it’s still only July 6, and the new data pricing plans don’t go into effect until tomorrow. I contacted Verizon to see if new users can sign up for the unlimited pricing plan today and be grandfathered in like everyone else. A representative from Verizon said, “Our usage pricing becomes effective tomorrow so, yes, a person who signs up for an unlimited smartphone plan can get it today.”

So, if you were planning on switching to Verizon to take advantage of Unlimited Data… save your breath, because you are too late. It’s not really all brighter on the other side anymore.

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