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Verizon To Kill All Unlimited Data Plans 331

afabbro writes "Verizon mentioned in an investor conference that it will be eliminating unlimited data plans, even for those it grandfathered in. From the article: 'Speaking at the J.P Morgan Technology Media and Telecom conference today, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo told investors that the company's 3G unlimited data plans that customers were allowed to hang onto last year when Verizon switched to a tiered offering will soon go away entirely. Instead, the company will migrate its existing and new 4G LTE customers to a new "data share plan." The company has yet to announce the details of this new plan, but it has said previously that the data share plan will be introduced in midsummer. The plan will allow people on the same family plan to share buckets of data each month, much like they share voice minutes and text messaging. It will also allow individuals to share data across different 4G LTE devices.'"
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Verizon To Kill All Unlimited Data Plans

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  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:28PM (#40021943) Homepage Journal
    On chasing away a good portion of your customer base.

    If they really, really want to let me out of my contract here in a month or two, so be it. T-mobile and Sprint still have unlimited plans, so I guess that's where I'll be heading.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      T-Mobile has ersatz unlimited - you get full speed data up to your chosen caps (2, 5, or 10gb), and EDGE speeds after.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's what they say, but my benchmarks say otherwise. I've hit the cap once or twice on my T-Mobile service, and it's about 60kbps after the cap, whereas EDGE can carry 300-600kbps easily (when you aren't past your cap)

    • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:39PM (#40022041)

      Why wait? The moment Verizon changes your plan from "unlimited" to "limited" the contract terms have changed, and you can reject those new terms (thus voiding the contract).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:42PM (#40022073)

        Why wait? The moment Verizon changes your plan from "unlimited" to "limited" the contract terms have changed, and you can reject those new terms (thus voiding the contract).

        Be careful with that one... the fine print probably says if you reject the changes you are still bound to the contract with existing terms until the end of the
        contract... which means they would still hit you with an early termination fee that you would have to go to arbitration to get back.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Isn't that two typical illegal clauses (termination fee, bounding a contract for only one party)? That's like saying, "if you sign this, you agree to pay an additional 20€ per month, and if we want to change it to an arbitrary amount we can void your contract and you can't get away from us".

          • Isn't that two typical illegal clauses (termination fee, bounding a contract for only one party)? That's like saying, "if you sign this, you agree to pay an additional 20€ per month, and if we want to change it to an arbitrary amount we can void your contract and you can't get away from us".

            20$, not 20€ ! We got the Euro crisis, they got Verizon. Each to their own shit.

        • But GP might be cool with the existing terms.

        • Yeah that's unenforceable according to Consumer Protection Laws. It's similar to how Paypal included a bunch of terms in their contract/EULA, but the judge threw most of them in the trash as illegal. --- And the termination fee? Just don't send the check.

          • by bratwiz ( 635601 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @11:28PM (#40024665)

            The simple solution is for everybody to start calling Verizon to inquire about data plans, get support for anything and everything-- and even just to find out how your favorite verizon person is getting along. Call now. Call often. In fact, don't stop calling. Call, call call. Choke their lines, make it hurt. Plus, I'd bet that it'd be a great idea to check out all their wonderful offerings on their web sites-- all of them-- a lot. Check your bill. Twice. Make sure you read it right. In fact, have your wife / coworker / friend / friend's mom / neighbor-down-the-street / heck, all of 'em read it twice just to make sure you didn't miss anything. You might also want to call their sales line to find out about all their great offerings and add-ons. I'll bet they have a *ton* of cool stuff you could buy. But I know it's hard to decide right away. In fact, you might have to really get them to explain it carefully with plenty of detail in order to fully grasp the sheer awesomeness of their products. In fact, you might even have to think about it some and then call back and ask them to explain anything you didn't completely get the first time. You could also call them to tell them what a wonderful job you think they're doing. I'm sure they don't hear that anywhere near enough. You could really brighten up some verizon employee's day by calling them up just to tell them. And you know, all of the verizon employees do a terrific job and I'd be willing to bet they'd ALL enjoy hearing your opinion! Plus you should also call their bosses to congratulate them. And send emails-- lots of emails. Calling isn't the only way to let them know what a superb job you think they're doing.

            You know, with all their loyal, friendly customers and fanatical fans-- they just couldn't bear the thought of taking away their unlimited Internet...

            • by sohmc ( 595388 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @08:24AM (#40026593) Journal

              Many large corporations have moved from Customer Service to Customer Relations. The difference is that corporations are no longer interested in keeping customers happy. They only need customers to keep paying.

              Verizon has a very large customer base. As long as they don't do something drastic, the majority of their customers will continue paying. They may have crappy customer service, but as long as people don't have problems, they will continue to pay.

              I have no figures on the subject but I suspect that those with unlimited data plans may represent a smaller portion of their customer base...or at least a smaller profitable portion of their customer base. They may lose customers because of this, but they may be hedging that new customers may come to Verizon for it's coverage/speed/etc.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Garybaldy ( 1233166 )

          Contract law states otherwise.

          Any change made to a contract by one party is grounds for the other parties to void the contract with zero penalties.
          Regardless of what may be written in the contract concerning contract changes.

      • Kind of complicated: I share a plan with my wife, and for some reason I don't recall, she gets to "upgrade" her phone 2-3 months before I do, which she has already done. When she got her new phone we were grandfathered in on unlimited (with zero effort on our part - thank you Radioshack guy!), but I still have another month or two to wait before I can upgrade myself.

        So, I decided to be fair (I know, a novel concept these days) and wait until they actually try and fuck me before I bail.

        Best case scenario,
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by idontgno ( 624372 )

          Best case scenario, they drop this stupid idea and get to keep my business, and in exchange I plunk down some serious moolah on the latest root-and-rom-able Android powerhouse.

          We are talking about Verizon, right?


          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!... hahaha... Whoa, that's a good one.

          In case you hadn't heard, Verizon specializes in bootlocked fascism. They're proud of it. []. I haven't heard of anyone who's successfully unlocked a recent Verizon Android bootblock. Rootable, sure. For now. (Motofail on

    • by imcdona ( 806563 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:43PM (#40022085)
      The only downside to T-mobile is that they compress all images to save bandwidth.
      • Why is that a downside?

      • by ichthus ( 72442 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:56PM (#40022223) Homepage
        I was going to reply and tell you that you're mistaken. But, I decided to google it first, just to make sure before I made an ass of myself. Turns out, you're right []. I was not aware.

        I tether often, and I don't notice this on pages loaded on the tethered PC. It must be a forced proxy they have set up in the stock browser?
        • I tether often, and I don't notice this on pages loaded on the tethered PC. It must be a forced proxy they have set up in the stock browser?

          If that's the case, it's of no consequence to me - I use Dolphin HD.

          Side note: how does T-Mobile treat tethering? Are they dicks about it like the big boys (Verizon locked me out by altering the wifi manager process, the evil fucks), or do they even care?

    • by Jeng ( 926980 )

      That depends on if you need their coverage.

      I use T-mobile, I think it's great, I recommend it to friends and family who nearby me who do not do a lot of traveling.

      The problem with T-mobile are all the dead areas, when I visit the wife's family up in rural New England I end up having to find hotspots and piggyback on peoples wifi to make calls. There is no way I would recommend T-mobile to them because it doesn't work there, Verizon damn near has that region to themselves.

    • This is beyond stupi-...I ask you, why do they exist?

      How, how, do you go from an Unlimited plan to Limited plans? The price for bandwidth is constantly dropping. And upgrading towers is not THAT costly.

      The Chairman / CEO lose some serious money in Vegas recently?

      That all the cell-phone companies are getting into this recently, with the costs associated dropping, makes no sense. Collusion?

    • My unlimited 4G data is the only thing that is holding me to Verizon. If I loose my unlimited data, they loose me.
  • by dingo_kinznerhook ( 1544443 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:29PM (#40021951)
    How long before AT&T follows suit?
  • I'm up for a discounted phone in June. I'm hoping I can lock in two more years of unlimited before this change goes live. At the prices they currently charge for data, I'll switch to a feature phone and carry around my old smartphone in wifi mode before I switch to one of their limited plans.

    • Re:Yikes (Score:4, Informative)

      by Glendale2x ( 210533 ) <{su.yeknomajnin} {ta} {todhsals}> on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:35PM (#40022015) Homepage

      You can't really "lock in" anything. The provider is free to change the terms at any time in the future, it's just that you get 30 days to cancel without penalty if you decide you don't like the new terms.

      • He can't lock in the unlimited data, but he can keep the shiny-new phone. After all it was Verizon that voided the contract when they changed the terms. He will no longer be bound to them.

        • The shiny new phone that will only work on Verizon, non-US carriers after an unlocking, and the crappy regional CDMA carriers after an unlocking.

          • The shiny new phone that will only work on Verizon, non-US carriers after an unlocking, and the crappy regional CDMA carriers after an unlocking.

            Only for the cellular radio. He can always use Wifi+Skype/Vonage/GTalk/Whatever for phone calls.

            I can think of a few other ideas for a carrier-locked phone:

            - install a pentesting distro like PwnExpress []* and use it for, er, well, pentesting.
            - root-and-rom it, and give it to your kids to play with
            - App development: a dedicated device beats an emulated one any day of the week.
            - e-reader/web browser

            .. and I'm sure there's a number of other uses I haven't thought of.

            *Yes, I know PwnExpress is for Sheeva

            • by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

              He can also sell the phone for more than he paid for it. If he gets a $200 subsidized phone, he can possibly get $350 or more.

          • But he can sell the phone for more than he paid for it, because he wasn't required to pay the early termination fee when the other party changed the terms of the contract. Some other schmuck can overpay for the phone to use on Verizon's limited network because they can't or won't sign a contract.

    • Except you can't lock it in. They are doing away with it all together including those who were grandfathered in so when this change goes live your screwed and pushed down to limited. Of course as someone else mentioned this means you might be able to void the contract.
  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:33PM (#40021995) Homepage

    With the el-cheapo carriers heavily advertising their cut-rate plans, how long can AT&T and Verizon keep it up? Why would anyone pay $80/month when they can get the same service from another carrier for less than $50?

    Unless the big boys start offering either better service or lower prices, how will they stay in business?

    • by Moheeheeko ( 1682914 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:38PM (#40022039)

      With the el-cheapo carriers heavily advertising their cut-rate plans, how long can AT&T and Verizon keep it up? Why would anyone pay $80/month when they can get the same service from another carrier for less than $50

      Because that $50 plan from T-mobile or Sprint is next to useless with their shit coverage. I ran T-mobile for 2 years, I had above 2 bars maybe once.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Sprint coverage has served me well, even in urban areas, and their coverage is continuing to improve with Network Vision. Sites are already being rolled out. Atop that, they roam for free on Verizon.

      • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:49PM (#40022141) Homepage

        Those guys are just as expensive as AT&T and Verizon. I'm talking about discount carriers, like StraightTalk and Red.

      • I pay $35/mo to Virgin, whom I believe just resell Sprint's network. Works great almost everywhere I go. The only exception is Mendocino country, no service whatsoever up there, not even voice.

        I had a cheap, cheap prepaid phone for 7 or 8 years, because I didn't feel like paying $800+/yr for a phone. Mind you, I don't do cable TV because $700+/yr buys a lot of DVD boxsets (and videogames) instead.

      • Still waiting for Virgin Mobile (runs on / is owned by Sprint) to offer femto-cells (so I can reroute cellphone signals over my FIOS connection).

        "Hey Bob, do you think we should offer femto-cells to our customers, so they can place phone calls in areas where our network doesn't provide any coverage?"
        "Mark, I know what you're thinking, and no."
        "Because, Mark, that's simply not how we do things at Virgin Mobile."

      • Seems to work for me just fine in the areas I'm in (almost all of Northern Illinois, SF proper, Tampa/Orlando, FL). Hell, there isn't even an extra charge when I'm in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (I cruise frequently). I'm *easily* getting my money's worth for $50/month with my Galaxy Nexus and 2GB data cap.

      • by Surt ( 22457 )

        I switched to TMobile because of the terrible outages I experienced with Verizon. I've never had cause to regret that decision.

    • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:45PM (#40022103)

      I've been using a widget called "data counter widget" (creative, huh?) on my android phone and its very unusual to go over 20 megs per day, which is only 600 megs per month. Most of my traffic is wifi. Some map lookup, some fooling around in the web browser, the occasional evernote upload, some runkeeper uploads, some email checking, some geocache application lookups, that's about all I do that requires cell data and can't be done better over wifi. I do all my app updating and podcast downloading over wifi (dogcatcher has a simple checkbox to only download podcasts over wifi).

      My guess is all this is being tooled up in preparation for some kind of "sql slammer" type of worm. Get everything ready to mail out the overage charges, then release the 10 gigs per hour worm and watch the profits roll in.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      There isn't really that much of a swing if you do an apples to apples comparison. It works out to about $10 / mo for the cut rate vs. the brand names once you add everything back in. That's not a bad swing if you are OK with lower quality customer service when there is a problem and slightly more frequent problems.

    • If "el-cheapo" refers to MVNO [] operators like Virgin, Boost, Page Plus, etc., they're cheaper, but they're just resellers of the big four. As soon as they're seen as a threat, their carriers will up their wholesale costs and MVNOs will be forced to charge rates matching the carriers they're reselling.

      But why does this announcement surprise anyone? Let's not forget, the subscribers are not the customers -- the shareholders are. Until there's a carrier where those two parties are one and the same, the subsc

    • That is how it works. You have money to donate to politicians and politicians can make laws to benefit you. It's a win win situation for politicians and businesses but it isn't so good for everyone else.
    • They'll stay in business because the discount carriers don't offer good phones. Yes, Virgin Mobile has several Android smartphones, but they're not particularly good ones. No Samsung Galaxy or Droid Razr or HTC Evo phones there, instead you get phones like the LG Optimus V or Motorola Triumph or HTC Wildfire S. On some of their phones, they even denote that they come with Android 2.2 as a feature!

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      The big boys will stay in business because they know how to make money. The el-cheapo carriers, such as Sprint, will not stay in business if they don't figure out how to make money.

  • Like a tick (Score:5, Funny)

    by sdo1 ( 213835 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:41PM (#40022063) Journal

    They're sort of like a tick that attaches itself to a host and keep engorging itself until it pops.

    It's gotten itself firmly attached to the wallets of 93 million people. Now it's sucking hard. The pop will come enough... []

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:42PM (#40022069)

    Too bad. They used to be better than the rest. Those were the days. It's unfortunate that they're such dimwits too. Yes, capacity is a problem, until up put a mini-switch/router on every 12th telephone and power pole and then it isn't. The technical problem is solvable, but they'd have to spend some money renting space, placing and maintaining equipment and getting easements. Stock prices would fall for a quarter and some exec wouldn't waddle away with the bonus he truly believes he deserves.

  • Dont you love... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bolthole ( 122186 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @05:43PM (#40022075) Journal
    how they market speak that shared plan people are "allowed to pool" their network usage. Rather than the more accurate "forced to share usage". It puts people on family plans at the mercy of their teenage daughter. DOOOOOOoooommmmm.....
    • by gral ( 697468 )
      Or it forces you to pay ~$5 per phone to put a cap on the usage.
    • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

      Why, are parents obligated to include her in the plan if they decide to pool just mom and dad, but keep her separate?

  • Ugh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by cmv1087 ( 2426970 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @06:09PM (#40022343)

    Verizon's unlimited 3G meant I could play Pandora through my phone while I was driving without worrying about data caps. :s And they have very good coverage from what I noticed. I guess this means I'll just have to actually use my iPod or something, assuming I can remember where I put it and a way to set it up to either play through the car radio or into my hearing aid.

    My contract is up anyhow and I need to trim down expenses. I have the HTC Droid Incredible, which is a nifty enough little phone. All I really need is texting, email, and maybe some minimum amount of minutes. A camera on it would be convenient. I really don't want to move from Verizon because I know their coverage is solid, but I don't want to reward their greedy data tier plan behavior. Any recommendations?

    • Sprint lets you roam free on Verizon's network, so you theoretically get the same great coverage but don't have to (directly) pay Verizon anything.

    • Re:Ugh. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @06:47PM (#40022727)

      Also, be sure to renew and get a new phone just before the change. That way when they change the contract you can break it, keep your new phone without a termination fee, and then resell it for a profit to someone who wants a Verizon phone but can't or won't sign a contract. Verizon can pay you to leave them!

  • Goodbye. Guess you don't want my money anymore. Or rather, you obviously do, you just want more of it. You got greedy, now you get none.
  • by Burning1 ( 204959 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @06:13PM (#40022385) Homepage

    I'm glad they are doing this. I'm currently paying ~$100 a month, and the only reason I keep Verizon is that I'm not on contract, and I have an unlimited plan that would be impossible to replace if I cancelled.

    I've been with Verizon since owning a Motorola Startac. Killing the unlimited plan should make the switch to another provider painless.

    • by dave562 ( 969951 )

      I've been with Verizon since owning a Motorola Startac.

      Are you sure about that? The Startac came out before "Verizon Wireless" was even incorporated.

      • The Startac came out (1996) somewhat before Bell Atlantic renamed itself Verizon Wireless in 1999. As far as I can google, Bell Atlantic had a wireless service which sold and supported, for a brief time, the Startac. So, other then pointless pedantry about a brand name, GPP's statement seems plausible.
  • Not a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @06:18PM (#40022423)

    According to Nokia Siemens Networks, the average amount of smartphone data used per day is 15MB (about 450MB per month). If you're using ten times that amount on a grandfathered plan that costs you peanuts, it's hardly surprising that someone somewhere will run the numbers and work out that you are of no value to the company.

    By all means shout "right, that's it! I'm off to Sprint!" but it'll be a hollow victory as Verizon will probably be more than happy to see the back of you.

    • At least if we want to have it fast. There are just real, physical, limits you hit in to with wireless. There is only so much speed you can get with a given technology on a given amount of spectrum, and spectrum is licensed. That speed is shared with all users on a segment. So the only thing you can do is build out the segments smaller. Well not only does that cost money, but it is hard to get done in many places, since segments require towers, and there are practical limits to how small you can make them.


  • They actually increased the GB allotment.

    AT&T has been at $30 for 2GB for four fucking years now, I mean, if they upped it 1GB a year it would seem reasonable - but to keep the bandwidth static is absolute BS.

    I don't mind paying, if it is fair.
  • Sorry, can't help it. I stuck with Verizon from God knows how many years, switched to my first data plan this year knowing that lucky first adopters had it unlimited and now this brings a sweet joy of satisfaction and sort of commie style equality: NOW we all are in this shit together.

  • Is this really that bad? Selling a limited resource as "unlimited" is not sustainable. I'd rather have the smaller proportion of folks who use a larger proportion of data pay more for it. So what?

  • by SixDimensionalArray ( 604334 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @07:26PM (#40023031)

    Ok, fine, you don't want us to have unlimited plans anymore.

    If a customer has an unlimited plan (grandfathered in), and Verizon ceases offering it, what will they offer in return?

    It sure would be nice if common practice was, when they take something away, they give you something in return.

    What is the exchange? Lower rates/costs? Better network performance? Higher throughput?

    Don't have anything to give after you take away "unlimited", Verizon? Then give the customer the reason you MUST do it. Prove to the customer that this is necessary, at the very least.

    Show the customer a convincing, legitimate reason to stay, or they're going to wonder why you're simply "taking away from them".

    Don't just take and take and take and take - that's what the customer doesn't like.

    The customer is not stupid, but can easily be misinformed, and perception is everything.

  • by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2012 @09:06PM (#40023901)
    The representative did not know anything about this announcement. He said that grandfathered 4G unlimited users will keep unlimited until they cancel or change their plan. For those of you that are currently unlimited on Verizon, he also told me that you can get unlimited wi-fi tethering for an additional $30 a month. Still kind of expensive when you consider you are already paying $30 for data on your phone to begin with but if you use it all the time it might be worth it.
  • by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Thursday May 17, 2012 @02:46AM (#40025443)
    The current data plans are not about now, but about the future. If they start capping the main body of users to squeeze more money out of them right now, there will be wide uproar. Right now it's only a few geeks and mobile workers that are protesting.

    Everyone is shifting from text messaging and voice phone calls to IP based alternatives. People watch media on mobile devices more and more. If the phone companies don't start charging for IP traffic, their business models will fail in the future. If they wait too long, they will not get away with it because everyone will be suddenly influenced. Now people are eased into the business model and once they go over their plan, are already used to pay for the extra usage.

    The real problem here is market dominance. The few players that actually have coverage or roaming agreements for areas big enough to matter, can basically charge what they want. Because of the high investments in setting up networks and the lack of requirement to roam/peer with other providers for the current big providers, that situation will not change. Either the USA will have to put up with it, or cut up their "too big to compete" telephone companies again and do the mini-bell model once over. I'm not saying that is a good solution, but there may come a time that it will be a better solution than the status quo you will be in otherwise.

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.