Verizon killing off unlimited data, switching to tiered pricing for iPhone this summer

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told investors today that Verizon Wireless will be moving to tiered data plans as early as this summer, no longer offering the unlimited data plan Verizon iPhone users have enjoyed since Apple's smartphone came to the network last month.

Verizon Communications Inc. will stop offering unlimited data plans for Apple Inc.’s iPhone as soon as this summer and switch to a tiered pricing offering that can generate more revenue and hold the heaviest users in check.

Verizon is following in AT&Ts' footsteps, who removed unlimited data and implemented tiered pricing for the iPhone last year so they could market the iPhone to a broader audience suck up more cash by offering less (a move which wasn't necessarily met with open arms by AT&T iPhone users).

If you already have an unlimited data account with Verizon you'll almost certainly be grandfathered int

Even though we knew Verizon wouldn't be keeping their unlimited data plan forever, 4 or 5 months seems a little short-lived compared to how long AT&T had unlimited data for iPhone users. Then again, maybe their capped pricing will be better than what AT&T has to offer?

Let us know what you think in the comments!


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Andrew Wray

Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.

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Reader comments

Verizon killing off unlimited data, switching to tiered pricing for iPhone this summer


does this mean i will lose my unlimited data plan? or they just won't offer people to add that feature?

Then cannot change your plan even when they drop unlimited data. Unless you make that change yourself.
Google "grandfathered"

The article I read on it talked like they weren't going to 'grandfather' people after their year or whatever is up. It talked like there might be an option for people who already have unlimited to keep it for an extra fee.

Actually I think they can change it however they like, but then they are breaking the contract so they have to give you notice and let you get out of the deal scott free instead of having to pay the ETF. Of course it wouldn't make business sense to lose a customer over this and hence they usually allow people to continue with their old contract terms.

Yea, they'll have to wait till contract end, I'm sure. However, they don't have to 'grandfather' anyone in when renewing.
re: lose customers - they don't really care that much, as there is no where to go.

Bit of a shame that they are switching to Tiered so fast. All about the bucks.
The unlimited must have been an incentive to get people from AT&T and it was not a big enough pull for them.

You're right it wasn't enough of an incentive. I'm staying on AT&T because I'm very happy with them. Plus I think they will be the exclusive ones to debut a new iPhone every summer whereas Verizon has been locked into unveiling theirs every January (of course, I'm assuming). So... new iPhone for me each July. Read it and weep Verizon sellouts! :P

Actually, it almost sounds as if they are going to make the change to data around the same time the new iPhone would launch. So maybe they're planning on putting a cap on new customers switching to iPhone 5. However, this leads to more questions: If iPhone 5 for VZW does indeed launch in June, will it have LTE? And if it does, will LTE be capped, or just 3G?

I definately think the next gen iPhone will be 4G now. It would make a lot of sense if they made a LTE/HSPA+ device sp they would not have to keep up with two different versions of the same phone. Verizon said Apple LTE products were coming soon. Next January is not soon.

Actually, I'm thinking that it won't be LTE. It may be CDMA/GSM, but Apple generally goes with tech after they're sure it's ready for prime-time. And if you think about it, January, for Apple, really is soon. After-all, you still can't get a white iPhone.

They were headed towards 8% of iPhone business... but I think they've just shot that in the foot.
Imagine what we're in for unless we can get some kind of descent Net Neutrality policy in place. You're completely correct when you say it is all about the bucks. And, with no real competition, we'll just pay more and more, and get less and less.

I had hoped they would keep it long enough for AT&T to get nervous and offer it again. Oh well, I have unlimited and they will have to pry it from my dead cold hands.

Mabey if verizon has higher caps it will put pressure on AT&T to raise them. I'd be happy with 4gb but I miss unlimited for tethering.

Wait, does this only apply to the iPhone, or will all Verizon smart phone data plans move to a tiered pricing structure? If it's all phones, this article is extremely misleading.

Tiered pricing was first discussed back in November or December, so it's going to ALL smartphones. There was no date given in the articles I have read, but Verizon has been quoted as saying that they are going to tiered data pricing at some point. Unlimited data was one of the selling points for iPhone 4, but I am figuring that unlimited data will be for 3G and tiered pricing will be for LTE. The VIP 4 is a 3G phone. As someone who tethers a lot, I am still only doing about 1.5 to 2 GB per month. Of course, Verizon 3G isn't fast enough to do video! (Why it works on my BlackBerry handset but not through the tethering is beyond me, but I can get video no problem on the handset but when I tether, I get buffering so bad it's not even worth watching.)

Unsurprising. Unlimited plans are going the way of the dinosaurs. Those grandfathered in will lose it if they ever want to go to 4G. Besides, if you aren't using more than 2GB per month, you're overpaying the carriers. Personally, I don't like paying for something I'm not using, and 2GB is a lot of data—unless you're a streaming junkie or trying to use your cell phone in place of a home ISP. Get used to it. More cars on the road (phones on the network) means everyone has to slow down and the price of gas (data) goes up. Good ol' supply and demand.

I don't see how they could expire unlimited data caps when they release 4g, my contract says unlimited data, not unlimited 3G data. I didn't lose my unlimited data plan when I moved from the original iPhone (edge) to the 3GS or the 4. and it's very easy to use 2gb of data if you use pandora or netflix

Webvex, you're an idiot. Nobody will lose their unlimited plan when they upgrade to a new phone, 4G compatible or not.

Well, Ummmm, if you upgrade phones and sign a new 2 year contract you will lose your unlimited data. That is how they force the change. You can't get subsidized pricing without signing a new contract and if sign a new contract the old plan goes away as they force you to the new data plan. It's happened on other occasions.

I upgraded to a 4 after AT&T axed unlimited plans and I still had the option of keeping my current unlimited plan as a 2 year agreement or downsizing to the 2GB per month.

webvx obviously you dont know your math very well. even though yes you are paying 5 dollars a month more for unlimited data you are actually paying half as much. let me break it down for you follow along. if you have 2gb for 25 dollars a month you are paying 12.5 per gig. are you with me? if your on unlimited (i will assume 5gb per month to make it easy) you are paying 30 dollars a month that breaks down to $ 6 per gig. so i ask you are you really saving money or are you paying double for the same service? not to mention you dont have the option to stream or become a heavy user cause your locked into 2gb lol

Wow man, calm down.
If he was only using 1gb per month then he'd be paying $30 a gb. He inferred that he is not a heavy user.

the point is he should be paying 12 dollars for 2 gb not 25 bucks for 2gb. in your pocket yes you save 5 bucks but your spending twice as much to save that 5 dollars

I'm not against tiered plans so much, as the prices they charge. If they set the tier levels at reasonable points, and charge reasonable rates... I'd be happy. At least it looks like, in the US, the tier levels are descent. In Canada, they are typically like 500 MB, 1 GB, 3 GB.... where 3 GB costs your first and second child.
I'm just hoping eventually someone will enter the market with a MiFi type device, with a descent amount of data for like $20 / month. I could even swallow (though not be happy about) $40/month plans if they didn't require all the other fees and voice and such. I'm just not going to pay $60+ / month for a cell phone no matter what magical things it does.

Anyone who thinks being grandfatherd will last forever is crazy. I'm sure the carrier can cancel the contract especially when you goto a new phone. It's not question of if but when. 4G will only make the top 1% even bigger data hogs. The Carriers will have no problem making them switch to tiered pricing or letting them clog another network.

If they alter your contract then you can terminate it without penalty. That's how I got out of my t-mobile contract

Looks very much like an iPhone 5 move than anything else. The last thing Verizon wants to do is go unlimited data on LTE and the. Have their fledgling 4G network crash out.
I would hope they'd start offering unlimited later on, but who knows.

I don't use that much data so I was able to keep my $15 a month data plan when I got my iPhone. I use WiFi so I don't use much cell data.

Maybe I should get a cheap smartphone now to get the unlimited data until IPhone 5 comes out.....

Just a matter of time before the Verizon iPhone gets flashed to metro. Unlimited everything lets go

Apple fu#&s up another phone company
Apple, Apple go away, take your iPhone back to AT&T and stay.....

Umm... how exactly is Apple messing anything up? Are you implying it is because Apple phone users use more data because their phones are actually worth using? I suppose that could be true.
Come to think of it, I'm not sure my wife has ever used the browser on her Blackberry. I use the browser on my iPod Touch everyday. Don't blame Apple because they make a product that actually works. Blame the phone companies for not innovating, and just sucking up the $ rather than providing the service they are selling!

I guess I saw it coming... none of these cell phone carriers want to provide decent service... they just want to squish every last $ out of their customers for nothing. I'm just a bit shocked at how QUICKLY it happened.

People don't like being played, but that's just what the carriers are doing. All these people are clinging to their unlimited plans, thinking "I'm not using using that much now, but I probably will eventually." Guess what? By the time "eventually" rolls around there won't be any unlimited plans left. In the meantime, they're overpaying for data they aren't using. The carriers are laughing all the way to the bank.

You're way overpaying even with the cheapest plan... and yes, they are laughing all the way to the bank. (and then Glenn Beck talked his lemming followers into feeling sorry for these companies... so they can charge even more for doing nothing)

Man, existing customers should be able to keep the unlimited package. If we don't get grandfathered in, I will be raising hell. Verizon already has the worst pricing on their voice plans. Please don't rape us further on data. I left Sprint because of crappy coverage but I sure do miss my simply everything plan. Lesser of 2 evils I guess.

People get so worked up about this, yet something like 95% of people don't use more than the capped plans (2GB on AT&T). My husband uses Pandora all the time and barely goes over 1GB a month. Chill out folks.

Those prices would be reasonable and a value to the consumer which is why they wont happen. Verizons plan will be about maximizing their revenue whicch means plans similar to ATT. The lowest tier will be to low for most people unless you live in a wifi hot spot and the second tier will essentially double the price per gig we pay. I could see Verizon offering more than 2 tiers of some sort . They really do have a much more robust network than ATT with alot more 3g coverage. Business wise it might make sense for Verizon to offer something like 3 gigs for the price ATT sells 2gigs as a way to attract more customers.

Did you know that data isn't really in your contract?! It's a feature which can be added and removed at will without consequence. If you're a year into your contract, you can drop your data feature if you get a non-data phone (feature phone). It's not in your terms of service as a condition for cancellation. So "technically" Verizon can change the price of it...will they...I HIGHLY DOUBT it. I think they will do exactly what AT&T did...if you have it, keep it. BUT, if you want 4G, there will be another feature code (different than 3G unlimited) and that will require a tiered data plan.

If I had to guess, if the iPhone 5 does LTE (and I'm guessing it will) you won't be grandfathered in to the unlimited plan.
This all goes to show just how much data you guys use. On the EVDO network the bandwidth is very limited, so Verizon didn't have to worry about excessive consumption because the network took care of that. On LTE (like with AT&T) it's different. A single user can consumer considerably more bandwidth way faster. Therefore to keep those users from bogging down and hurting the network (like what happened with AT&T) they're gonna make sure to "generate extra funds" to cover any network holes. If AT&T had done that from the get-go like Verizon is, I bet their network would be in a different place.

There should have never been unlimited data in the first place. The Euro carriers never got in this trap, and their networks worked just fine. If AT&T had capped all along, they would have not had the problems they did. Verizon sees this too, the increased revenue for both carriers will lead to better networks. I feel bad for the data hogs, but mobile technology just doesn't have the ability to push unlimited bandwidth. If you want unlimited, use a landline ISP.

Kool-aid? I'm just telling it like it is. Net Neutrality used to be Everyone vs a few Telcos... until Glenn Beck jumped into the fray. As far as lemming followers (if that is your reference), Check Beck out on other topics such as religion, US history, etc. The guy likes to talk a lot, but is easily demonstrated wrong on some of those topics... why believe him about Net Neutrality?

I'm sorry but this pisses me off, don't we all pay TOO MUCH for wireless phone service in the first place!? Complete dissapointment and extremely upset about this!

I am irate! My contract was up beginning in August and I was going to upgrade to a smartphone. I was blind-sided today while figuring out the unlimited data plan option was not available. Do you think Verizon will ever offer the unlimited data plan again?