Jun 18 AT 1:19 PM Taylor Wimberly 30 Comments

Verizon likely to implement tiered data plans later this year

The days of unlimited data plans may soon be coming to an end. New comments from Verizon indicate the carrier will introduce tiered data pricing (similar to the moves made by AT&T earlier this month) when they move to 4G LTE later this year.

Verizon has been testing LTE in Boston plus several other markets and hopes to have 100 million people covered by the end of 2010. The carrier should offer several LTE modems this year and launch a LTE handset in 2011. Verizon maintains that their LTE network will be able to produce average download speeds of 5-12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2-5 Mbps.

The carrier expects an “explosions in data traffic” over wireless networks as more customers move to smartphones. Only 17 percent of Verizon customers currently use a smartphone, but that number is expected to increase to 70 to 80 percent “over time”. Current Verizon smartphone customers are using up 600 to 800 megabytes of data per month and that is expected to grow with the increased bandwidth that LTE offers and new smartphone hardware features like front-facing cameras.

“We will probably need to change the design of our pricing where it will not be totally unlimited, flat rate.”John KillianCFO Verizon

Sprint is the only carrier to offer truly unlimited data with the EVO 4G and its required $10 premium data add-on, while T-Mobile has eliminated overage charges for unlimited data plans and throttles speeds when customers surpass 5 GB.

Source: Bloomberg

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Alan Reboli

    With everyone else jumping on that bandwagon, I’m hoping T-Mo doesn’t follow suit.

  • http://Website Phillip

    I’m not actually as concerned about the tiered idea as I am about the details and pricing. It really does make sense to have lower level (cheaper) plans for people who don’t use as much. Especially if they’re nice and will just bump people to the next plan as they go over instead of charging crazy overages. And it would also be great if the tiers results in an *actual* unlimited plan instead of the 5GB.

    The main issue with the AT&T moves was that their limits were *way* too low for the tiers they created so it looked like a money grab and a way to save their network without investing anything in it.

    • http://Website Spencer

      I agree that some customers shouldn’t be charged as much, they souls sss these new plans for those kind of customers, but they shouldn’t get rid of unlimited plans.it’s not they I use a ton if data,i just hate being self concious about wheather or not I’m using data

  • http://www.lifequill.com Canterrain

    I’m a heavy phone and data user.

    I’m on my phone all day. Watching videos, browsing the webs, downloading apps, uploading files, and so on. I’m easily on the higher end of data usage.

    I also keep track of how much data that equates to.

    Over the past 4 months I have never gone over a gig and a half of data unless I was using the tethering options enabled on my plan.

    I think people get scared a little too easily. AT&T claims that 98% of smartphone users NEVER go over 2 gigs of data, most use far less. I actually believe this, as it’s pretty consistent with my results.

    I also like how ATT handles it. If you are currently unlimited, you can stay unlimited. Even if you renew your contract and upgrade your phone.

    If you choose a tiered plan, ATT will send you a text message when you’ve used 30, 50, 75, and 90% of your limit. And will let you switch to the higher data plan if you chose the lowest tier to prevent an overage. That’s pretty classy actually.

    I think most people who are scared by the lack of ‘unlimited’ haven’t yet looked at just how much data they are really using per month. And before crying outrage… maybe they should take a look. If they are in fact using less than 2 gigs per month on average.. well then tiered pricing actually could save them money in the long run. And I’m ok with that.

    • http://Website LostMyNutsToMeWife

      QFT. I’ve never gone over the 5GB in my phone. And whoever has actually gone over 5GB in their phone must be crossed eye already, cuz you are spending too much time looking at your phone. :p lol

      I’ve never come close to it. I couldn’t care less if verizon modifies the data plan. I wouldn’t switch to T-mobile, AT&T or Sprint even if my life depended on it. Each and every wireless company out there is a money vampire and i choose the best vampire out there. (verizon).

  • http://Website joe

    I really really hope Tmo doesn’t do this as well. Way to screw everything up AT&T, this is why everyone hates you. Now the domino effect that plagues the cell phone industry has begun, and all carriers will probably follow.

    If they do enact tiered data plans, then I hope they at least keep unlimited as an option for those that want it. With Tmo for example, a non-contract plan for 2 phone, 1500 minutes, and unlimited data runs $120. If they add tiers at, for example, $110 for 5gigs and $100 for 2gigs, or something like that, I think it could be worthwhile for people that don’t use that much.

    • http://Website

      I for 1 love AT&T i left T-mobile cause of bad customer service and service quality and AT&T is an upgrade.. Yes Verizon might have a more diverse 3g network and better connection but i am not paying the prices they make us pay for it… and anyways i don’t want to be stuck with a CDMA phone cause honestly they suck and considering the whole world uses mostly GSM it would be easier to use my iphone international then my Droid.( yes iphone is locked but i just buy a iphone from Canada.. or unlock mine)

      • http://Website Usman

        Bad customer service with T-mobile? I don’t think you’ve ever had service with them…

        • http://Website Brad Brains

          I agree. I don’t think T-Mobile even knows what “bad customer service” means.

  • http://Website James

    How is Sprint the only one to offer true unlimited plans? Verizon certainly does, with no data cap or throttling. I’ve been averaging about 10GB a month since November, with a high of 18GB, and they certainly don’t seem to mind. They had better do the same as AT&T and allow current subscribers keep their unlimited plans or I’ll be one sad panda.

    • http://Website Joe

      Tmo also had unlimited plans.

    • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

      If I recall correctly, Sprint also has a 5Gb data cap for the 3G service — I don’t think they are doing anything to punish you if you go over 5Gb a little bit.

      They do, however, have true unlimited 4G service. I have no idea why Sprint would do that, but I guess it may have something to do with WiMax being originally designed to provide both fixed and mobile internet access.

  • http://lackingcontext.com foebea

    So now I /can’t/ watch youtube on a horse? Verizon just got over their bad reputation as the carrier which locks all their phones down. They should not do this thing.

  • http://Website Joeskie

    I think its kind of silly what these carriers are doing to us consumers.back in the day people never used much data so it would make more sense to have lower throttle points back then.this is nonsense they are slowly making data more and more irresistible and turning down the accessibility of the data at the same time.true, not all off us use that much data but what happens when we do? That day is swiftly approaching.simple things like youtube having a high quality setting now on android 2.2 and video chat and tethering and the ramped up browser coming out on android 2.2 as well pulling down information faster than ever before.everything seems dandy right now but when all this stuff really takes off what do we do? Add to that all the advertising google has added to froyo with the introduction of flash and I think we consumers have a problem on our hands.

  • http://Website John Abel

    Thank God I’m on T-Mobile. I am constantly going over 2GB on my unlimited plan on T-Mobile, and I am not a heavy user. Just try streaming a few videos through Qik or a couple of video chats, and you’ll easily go over 2GB.

    I feel sorry for the AT&T and Verizon users out there. At least I’m still on T-Mobile.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dalex7777 dalex7777

    One day soon, Verizon and AT&T customers who balked at Sprint’s $10 “Premium data charge” are going to look back wistfully at their previously “unlimited” data plans, or choose to get familiar with their carrier’s ETF fees and switch.

    • http://Website Icon

      Yeah, probably not dude. I’ve known since last year that when LTE launches, they would most likely go to tiered data plans. The reason, LTE is going beyond just phones. LTE will be available in appliances like washers, dryers, microwaves etc….and obviously you do not need unlimited data for devices like that. This is not a bad thing. Tiered data is better for everybody. For the people that don’t use as much as the die-hard users, don’t have to pay as much. It just makes sense. And honestly if you can’t comprehend that notion, then you are beyond help. I can guarantee you are dead wrong. I’ve had Sprint before, and I will NEVER go back. In fact I will NEVER leave Verizon, and I am willing to bet the majority of Verizon customers would say the same, especially when LTE is launched. And before you get all defensive and spew some more crap, know that i’ve worked in this industry for longer then you could imagine, this is what I do. And I’m telling you, YOU ARE WRONG. Take it like a man, and just shut up.

      john abel, there is no reason to feel bad for us. T-Mobile is not far behind, trust me.

      • http://Website Joeskie

        I would like too take this chance right now since no one else had and tell you to shut the hell up.no one cares to imagine how long you have been doing this because there are a hundred other people out there who have just as much if not more experience than you. Unless you live under a rock then you probably know that data consumption its at a all time high and with the experience getting richer and richer putty makes sense that these companies would tighten the noose.placing these throttles at a comfortable yet uncomfortable point. This just makes it easier to acquire a bigger revenue stream.especially when out comes to verizon. Enjoy that lte network your gonna be on cuz in the future if you have a phone that takes full advantage of it your gonna be paying out the nose.can you hear me now? douche bag

  • http://Website kevin

    I just got off the phone with Verizon the new tiered plans are for new customers only..people who have been seen as having the unlimited plan for quite some time are “grand fathered in” whew… was worried there for a second, I have been with Verizon for like 10+ years. so they know this will make people uneasy…however they will try to be better than what ATT has to offer…so to all you ATT folks so sorry for ya..only reason you are with ATT is IPHONE. but you will get screwed on the tiered plans because of there lack of network! Thanks Verizon.

  • http://Website Jim R

    “eliminated overage charges for unlimited data plans” – that just doesn’t parse.

  • http://Website Haggie

    Here is a dare for Verizon: Eliminate the word “unlimited” from all marketing material and I will pay for a tiered data plan without complaint.

  • http://Website Clarkjlynn

    Verizon usually keeps whatever your previous plan was unrolled you make a change to it then you have to use the new ones. My stepmother had a plan from the early ninties through Ford forever. So I am not to worried about it. I stay with Verizon because they have been the best service I have had and not planning on changing. If I were to change the only one I would go to is Sprint. I have friends on it that like it. And it has the Evo! Although hopefully we will get something just as good or better and since HTC loves Verizon we should see something.

  • http://Website jerry

    Tier data plans? They should hve different options for different people I understand that but I might move up to an lte device by the end of my two year anyways and specially cause of all these data intensive apps. I need an unlimited data plan at all times. Prices will stay the same for current users but as soon a new device comes out its going to require some sort of data plan, and everything changes.

  • http://www.twitter.com/darkdomino Domino

    What you people aren’t understanding is that with a data cap of any kind, you can no longer enjoy streaming or any other data intensive service on your phone. You’re gonna have to constantly be watching your usage. Can I listen to Pandora today? Oh, shit… it’s halfway into the month and I’m out of data. Enjoy spending the rest of the month doing nothing while you wait for your usage to reset.

    Don’t kid yourself. Verizon and ATT have castrated their smartphones by imposing limits like this. I can tell you right now I hope Sprint grows some balls and keeps their unlimited plans. Customers don’t want to have the meter running while using these increasingly data intensive android devices.

  • http://Website newspeak

    fring doing a Skype video call over 3g uses a mb a minute…its only going to get worse with richer services coming to smartphones ….att and Verizon seem to be interested in killing smartphone adoption ….my theory is that they hate money and are looking for a way of losing more of it

  • http://Website @darifresh

    I’m lost. Aren’t there already limited data plans? I don’t ever check because I use the mess out my phone but, people keep defending the move like it is unlimited or bust right now. I think what sucks is if we all end up ‘ grandfathered’ into our unlimited data then we can no longer jump from carrier to carrier so easily. Shame, with how quick phones pop up

  • SpykeZ

    Sounds good to me. Paying 30 bucks a month is a bit over the top for me. In the last couple weeks I’ve only used 300mb. so if using a 2gb plan can save me 10-15 bucks a month I say being it.

  • http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/verizonnotiered/ Jason K

    After reading all these comments, I do not see how to many people use less then 2 gb of data using a google smart phone.

    Lets see all the ways you will eat up your data using a Google based smart phone.
    Free Turn by Turn Directions.
    Google Maps
    Market Place
    Google Latitude (if you have it turned on will consistently use data to update your location)
    Youtube videos
    Many apps use data in the market

    Granted there are a ton more but I just thought I would list some of them.

    I also signed a petition to let verizon know I am one who wishes that they do not go to the tiered data.

  • http://Website cloud858rk

    “…Truly unlimited data with the EVO 4G and its required $10 premium data add-on”

    This is incorrect; Sprint’s unlimited data is in fact unlimited. It is only limited to 5 GB on a data card or mobile hotspot. It’s in the Terms of Service.

  • http://Website Allen T

    As an AT&T user, to tell you the truth, I have barely even reached 100mb a month. Really just depends on how much you plan to use. I do think they should keep capped and unlimited plans. I just do not have enough time in the day to keep on playing with my phone too much.