11 Comments

Summary:

Thirteen months after rival AT&T stopped offering unlimited smartphone data plans, Verizon Wireless is following. New customers on or after July 7 will choose between three tiers of monthly mobile broadband service. Are Verizon’s new data plans better than those from AT&T? That depends on you.

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Updated. Thirteen months after rival AT&T stopped offering unlimited smartphone data plans, Verizon Wireless is ready to follow. New customers on or after July 7 will have to choose between four three tiers of monthly data, ranging from 75 MB to 10 GB of mobile broadband service. Existing Verizon customers can keep their unlimited plans, even when upgrading their smartphones.

The new tiered plans have been rumored for months — Verizon signaled its intent last year and confirmed it this past March — but have just been confirmed today. Fierce Wireless received confirmation from Brenda Raney, a Verizon media spokesperson. The new monthly plan costs and limits break down as follows, with a $10 overage for an additional GB of data:

  • 75 MB for $10 (Update: per a correction to the original Fierce Wireless report, this plan is solely for non-smartphones, i.e.: 3G-capable feature phones)
  • 2 GB for $30
  • 5 GB for $50
  • 10GB for $80

Depending on the service level, some plans are more expensive than the similar offerings from AT&T, while others are more attractive. A 2 GB data plan from AT&T, likely more than enough data for most casual smartphone owners, is $25 per month, or $5 less than what the same amount of mobile broadband will cost new Verizon customers. But heavy data users will do better with Verizon: It would cost $55 for an AT&T smartphone owner to have 5 GB of available data. And although 10 GB is overkill for all but a small percentage of current smartphone customers, AT&T would charge $105 for such capacity as compared to Verizon’s $80. AT&T wins at the very low end though: Instead of a paltry 75 MB from Verizon for $10 a month, $5 more nets 200 MB from AT&T. (Note: see update above, as the 75 MB plan from Verizon is for feature phones.)

Related to the new smartphone plans are details about Verizon’s LTE and mobile hotspot services. The Droid Life blog reported last week that customers with an LTE-capable device, such as the Samsung Charge or HTC Thunderbolt, will have to start paying for the 4G mobile hotspot feature; a service that has been free up to now. On July 7, in tandem with the new tiered data plans, customers will reportedly pay $20 per month to gain both an additional 2 GB of data and the ability to use the mobile hotspot functionality of the 4G smartphones.

Given the rising appetite for mobile broadband in the face of increased smartphone adoption, Verizon’s move was expected by many and considered inevitable by some. Coverage and network reliability are still key decision points for any mobile broadband service, but now customers on the two largest networks will be factoring in their varying data usage needs, and the monthly costs required to meet those needs. Sprint still offers unlimited data, and while T-Mobile offers “unlimited” plans, the carrier does slow network speeds after a tiered amount of data is reached in a month. With T-Mobile very likely to be consumed by AT&T, that may be a moot point, however.

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  1. Keegan Divant Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Rumors have been flying that Verizon will introduce family share data plans. Soon big red will be switching to account level billing instead of line by line billing which means you will buy minutes, and hopefully data, for the entire account and not just on each line.

    In this scenario you could purchase 5gb $50 plan for the account and all lines would be able to share it. Which under 2 lines each could potentially use 2.5gb and it’s $25 for each. If it’s line by line on data then each line will have a $30 charge and only have 2gb for each phone.

    Hopefully this is the case as for larger family shar packages it will give them more flexibility.

  2. I fricking hate Verizon! With all the new things you can do on phones, the price keeps going up for less! I easily go over the 5GB a month and all i do is listen to the radio on the phone. The service is not fast enough to watch videos. So WTF? Every time i try to do any work, i get pushed to the edge network! (Can you say throttling?) If people actually use the phones, (like they are designed to be used,) they get crappy service and rapped by these companies charging outrageous prices! (AT&T is even worse than Verizon) At least I have an unlimited plan for the next two years, so I will be gobbling up as much data as I can!

  3. 3G prices in India

    Reliance NetConnect – 3.1 Mbps speeds

    10GB data for about $25 (INR 1100)
    http://www.reliancenetconnect.co.in/tariff.html

    The plan is ‘unlimited’, beyond 10GB the speed drops but usage can continue

  4. PhilfromAustin Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    This is the worst thing I have ever heard. Verizon, you are not asking, but FORCING your new customers to bend over while you rape them on data restrictions. **** you, Verizon, and **** you, Brenda Raney. You are despicable, trying to sell people on this idea saying “95% of our customers don’t even use 2GB…blablabla.”

    New customers should be outraged. A few 30 minute HD streams of your favorite TV show will put you over that 2GB rape.

    The one, and only one, redeeming factor in this is the “allowance” of dedicated customers to keep their unlimited plan. I will no longer spread good words about Verizon or the services they use.

    This should INFURIATE people…

    1. Tell me the last time you got unlimited gas or electric utilities at your home? While the “tiering” idea is somewhat error-ridden…for some reason people are appalled at the thought of paying for their usage.

      1. Hos,
        Tell me the last time you went to a Buffet and payed by the amount you eat…..never! If the buffet is not making enough money then they raise the rates but people keep coming because they like the idea that they pay one price. That is the same with data. Do not try to sell that tired old story of buying gas or something else that has never been all you can ‘eat’!

      2. Regarding the ‘buffet’ analogy…first off (and this is to lighten the mood a bit) I know of quite a few “chinese buffets” that charge extra for crab legs, and by the pound for those who take the stuff ‘to go’…and I know my buffets…:)
        But back to the point…if there was a ‘per unit’ usage charge and then the additional taxes and such, like any other utility – natural gas, electricity…I think it could work. The problem is, the tiers in both pricing and spacing are terrible. Closer to the actual product in question – land lines used to charge by the minute, and charged a different rate for long distance…and no one batted an eye when their cellular phones (voice only) were set up the same way. So, no – other utilies have never been “all you can eat” and maybe data plans should have never been that way either. But I can’t really blame the companies for realizing that maybe it’s time to convert the buffet to a sit down restaurant…
        Data over a wireless network has to ride over a variety of equipment – some that is owned by folks like Verizon, but the towers are usually owned by someone else, and they’re leasing the space, and often the equipment. The model of ‘flat rate’ doesn’t work, nor does the coarse ‘usage levels’… I don’t have the answer, but I don’t understand how a switch in a business model to something we’ve always dealt with with OTHER utilities is such a shock.

  5. Lindsworth Horatio Deer Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Verizon ends Unlimited Broadband Contracts! predicted and inspiring, but inevitable!

  6. This is making Metro PCS more and more attractive.

  7. OK, Kevin, can you explains the carrier logic here? On the one hand “most of our customers are well under 2g. Many are under 1g” yet on the other hand “unlimited pricing isn’t sustainable” (not actual quotes of course). But but… if few people even come close to, say, 2gig, how can this be about usage?

    Of course it’s not… it’s about being able to nail the person who uses between 2 and 5g and 5 and 10g.

  8. Unlimited and free even on a basic contract here in Sweden.

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