Jun 20 AT 2:04 PM Russell Holly 53 Comments

It’s finally happening – a look at Verizon’s upcoming tiered data plans

There have been whispers, signals and signs all over that Verizon was going to implement a tiered data plan similar to AT&T or T-Mobile. Some of us may have passed the signs blindly, uttering things like, “There’s no way they would do that.” or, “They better not; my bill is high enough as it is.” But the signs have been around. The most recent was the uncommonly generous offer by Verizon to extend their unlimited wireless tethering service on LTE devices until July 6th. Since the announcement, we’ve been waiting for July 7th to see exactly what was coming. Now, thanks to a tipster over at Droid Life, it’s clear we feared the worst for a good reason:  Verizon tiered data plans are on their way.

According to the Droid Life tipster, there’s going to be three tiers for normal data and three tiers for WiFi tethering for new subscribers. For 2GB of data monthly, you’ll be shelling out $30/month. ($5 more than AT&T’s 2GB plan). The 5GB and 10GB tiers are offered at the familiar prices of $50 and $80, the pricing offered up for MiFi devices right now. While the prices for normal data seem on par with Verizon’s current schema, the tethering data plans are a little harder to swallow.

Considering these prices are in addition to the data charges, you’d think the tethering prices would be less, right? No. And seeing prices like $50/month for 4GB, $70/month for 7GB and $100/month for 12GB worth of internet per device on your account is nothing to shrug at. On top of this, tablets will be given 2GB plan options instead of the 1GB they have now and will have the same tethering expense, should you activate the feature. As always, you aren’t capped at the data plans you’ve selected, but you are charged $10/GB for overages.

With numbers like these, I’m a little concerned to see what the new Family data packages will look like. The big rumor is we’ll be looking at a single allotment of data across all the devices on the plan, like with minutes. I suppose as we get closer to the 7th, more details on these plans will be leaked and served up for us to rage about.

I feel the need to address what will undoubtedly be a surge of “Well hello there, Sprint” and “I’m on Sprint hahaha” in the comments. If you’ve had a cellphone for a bit, you might have noticed that, for the most part, the four nationwide carriers are pretty similar in terms of pricing and terms of service. Granted, in this instance, Sprint is obviously the cheapest. But consider the possibility here. Sprint is witnessing the en masse flood from T-Mobile to other carriers due to the merger and due to data caps on both T-Mo and AT&T. They responded by throwing CEO Dan Hesse in front of a camera on a wintery bridge talking about how unlimited Sprint is, and it drew in the crowds.

For awhile now, there’s been speculation that Verizon would go tiered like the other carriers. If you were a carrier looking to scoop up some customers, wouldn’t you freeze your plans while everyone ran from Big Red as though they were on fire–only to turn around later and implement the same tiered plans, since it’s working so well for everyone else? Do you really think Sprint will not eventually decide it’s a good idea to make their prices and plans more competitive? Food for thought.

What is your take on this? Has Verizon crossed a line? Or should we just accept this as the new paradigm for data plans?

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  • http://Website dagamer34

    Charging $30/month for both smartphone and tablet data means that I won’t be activating a data plan on my tablet and jailbreaking my iPhone to get MyWi installed and use those bits I’ve paid for however I please.

  • http://Website Techrocket9

    Though I’m on Sprint I’d really prefer a plan without caps and without unlimited, just paying by the Megabyte.

    Pay for what you use and not for what you don’t. Why is this so complicated?

    • thel0nerang3r

      Because that would mean less revenue for the carriers.

    • http://Website Ivan

      Also, for smart phones, they are pretty much constantly downloading information.

      If I see they change my data plan from the unlimited $30/month to a tiered, I’m dropping my smart phone and going back to a dumb phone.

      • http://Website TGeezy86

        Yea you’re right that smartphones are constantly downloading data but aside from media like streaming music and videos and app downloads, the constant data use doesn’t necessarily translate to heavy data usage. There is a difference.

  • http://Website Genjinaro

    I’d recommend Sprint before VZW anyway, unless you had no other choice. (Cocky wallet muching SoBs, yes I HATE THEM… Not as much as AT&T)

    I used to feel the same way about Sprint ironically. It seems carriers become more & more rotten when they make it to the top. LTE + Teired data = overage city.

  • Prince77

    To be truthful, sooner not later I feel MetroPCS is going to start to get alot of customers. The big 4/ soon to be 3 are going to start to get too competitive and cancel each other out and everyone is going to start to leave and go to Metro

  • http://Website JPB

    Yes, maybe Sprint will eventually move to these plans a year from now.

    But that will save me a year’s worth of Verizon’s fees, won’t it.

  • http://Website Kaz

    As someone who already pays $30/month for data on Verizon, and never gets close to 2 GB data usage a month, I don’t really see this as any change. In fact, if they allow me to share this across my family plan, I’ll get the 5GB plan and save $10/month… I just feel (a little bit) bad that my savings will come on the backs of those streaming music and video on their phones..

    • thel0nerang3r

      Tier plans would be nice if you could use the data as you pleased. However, why have a cap of 2GB, but tethering is extra? If you have a cap, it should be your business how you use it. Someone, I doubt that gettign the 5GB plan for you will let you share it in a family plan… there will probably be a “per device” charge added in.

  • http://Website DroidCLH

    yeah, I’m going to sprint. they’re getting a Lte network, probably the new nexus too.

  • http://Website nastysquar3d

    I’ve been contemplating a switch to Sprint for a while now, but haven’t made the jump because I’m still under contract with Verizon.

    The reality is that Sprint will eventually be adopting tiered data just like everyone else, that being said… they have a Nexus, and probably more Nexus like devices in the future. They have tight integration with Google voice, they have cheaper plans than Verizon (I can only assume their tiered data might be cheaper too) AND they have very nice high-end phones.

    Oh yeah, and Sprint still has annual contracts (the biggest thing that has pissed me off about Verizon recently was the elimination of these and annual upgrade for primary lines on family accounts.

    I’ll wait to see what Verizon has in mind for the “family data” plans (if anything) but currently their phones leave much to be desired, enforce the locking of bootloaders and now their data is more expensive than everyone else.

    They’re doing all of this without offering any incentive to stay with them aside from their 4G network, which currently doesn’t have any truly high-end phones that can take advantage of it.

  • http://spunkymonkeys.me Chris

    I have seen my share of changes, but Sprint has really changed their image over the last few years by appealing to the average joe. I hope Sprint status with what has garnered a new following… K.I.S.S…. Keep it simple stupid!

  • http://Website Thorpeland

    A lot of people are starting to move their heavy internet usage from the home PC, to their mobile devices. Smarphones and tablets are here to stay. I don’t see how Verizon (and other telco’s) can get away with charging people the high prices for mobile data plans, when many of them are charging the same… or LESS for unlimited (and FASTER) home internet. Hello Verizon!!!

    What we are now witnessing is a good old fashioned un-regulated raping. I hope two things eventually happen. Heck, id be happy with one of these. One- Congress clamps down on US Telco’s with tighter control over what they can charge. No one should be able to get away with charging $100 for cell phone data!! A bit of regulation is needed, because after ATT takes over Tmo it’s only going to get worse.

    Or option Two: Its a long shot but i would love to see Google buy up a couple smaller telco’s (Boost Mobile?) and start their own service, offering Android phones the way they were meant to be offered. Change the game the Big 4 have been playing with us and pull the rug out from under their feet. With competition like Google would bring, you’d see data prices dropping with all carriers.

    This is getting ridiculous.

    • Anonymous

      That is exactly why they raise their prices & get away with it! Because data is pretty cheap considering 1 slightly expensive tower covers hundreds or thousands of customers, and they are moving to using mobile devices for most of their internet.

      I agree, we need government regulations on most things in this country, including telephone, data, cable/satellite, fuel prices, etc. If companies weren’t so damned greedy, and could take even a slightly smaller profit in the name of value & happier customers, then they would absorb more customers, & still make up. But, they are greedy, & even $1. lost will cost someone their job. And a $.50 minimum wage increase costs several people to lose their jobs due to downsizing to recover that small profit loss. It was gotten ridiculous!
      Millions of dollars a year profit just isn’t enough for companies these days!

      • http://Website Ambushbug

        Negative on Government regulation, the Government regulation the better. The market can/will regulate itself. If it’s too much for you to pay, don’t get it, it’s as simple as that. You have no “right” to what you consider reasonably priced data. The flip side to this is if they lose enough customers then cellular companies will have to compensate by lowering prices to garner a larger share of the market. Simple economics, Government regulation isn’t the answer to all of life’s questions.

        The idea of Google, or anyone, buying up some smaller companies and starting their own service is a great idea and usually what happens in these situations. The market will be ripe for a company to step in with reasonable priced plans and eat up a ton of the market share, therefore making huge profits.

        • http://Website TGeezy86

          Asinine. You should know better than to spit that nonsense about the private sector being able to be responsible for itself. The “market regulating itself” is precisely what caused the current economic crisis. People, and the companies they control, are too greedy to be able to see the value in providing good service at sustainable yet competitive rates, which would ironically bring in more customers than being the profit-driven assholes they are now. I don’t believe in complete and total gov’t regulation, but without government intervention in the Great Recession our economy would be taking a shitter in the outhouse, as opposed to the shabby downstairs bathroom in a depricated hotel that it currently occupies.

      • http://Website ari-free

        We need regulations to ensure that there’s no mercury or anti-freeze in our toothpaste so that kids won’t get sick or die. We don’t need regulations to make it easier for people to download streaming netflix and other amusements on their phones.

        • http://starveanartist.com Dan

          Try getting a job without the internet. Try staying in contact with the ones you love with out the internet. Try dealing with your bank, your bills, your you name it. How about, try and find a roommate when you’re short on rent. Millions of things become near impossible without the internet because all of the sources that dealt with them before have migrated to the internet.

          The Telephone, the water company, the electric company etc, are all government regulated.

          The internet is a more powerful tool than telephones, and soon will functionally replace telephones. These industries provide a service that Americans need, not only to stay competitive, but to survive.

          The internet is as important as mercury in your water.

          And to the other guy saying markets will regulate themselves. There is no evidence for that. You also don’t talk about government subsidies and hand outs for these too big to fail companies. The government already regularly regulates in their favor via anti competitive laws. It’s a major reason I have two options for high speed internet but my neighbors only have one.

          The market is regulated now don’t pretend it’s not. I like my utilities. I almost never have outages, rates are cheap, and these companies are all making hand over fist.

  • http://Website Ravenrock19

    Been a Verizon customer for 5 years. This happens and I will start looking at my options. Namely the 4G evo from sprint!

  • Anonymous

    Really, I believe Verizon crossed the line when they jumped in bed with the evil Apple Empire & Darth Jobs!
    That forced Verizon to move to the tiered data to control the data usage before it got out of control like AT&T’s network issues did.
    And, I believe, it was in the deal with Apple that Verizon needed to implement a tiered data.

    However, IF you are already on an unlimited data plan with Verizon when they implement the tiered data plans, as long as you do not change the plan(s) on your account, you should be able to keep it, even if you go month-to-month after your contract is up. Just keep your same data plan, and don’t change it if you need it.

    Honestly, if Verizon was smart (and if Apple allowed it), they should have made it more like:
    $10.-1GB, $15. – 2GB, $25. – 5GB, & $30. (or even $35.) – for unlimited data plans.

    But the path Verizon took, takes them down a road where they will loose customers to regional carriers like Metro PCS, US Cellular, & even providers like Boost & Virgin (both by Sprint).

    • http://Website zee

      Your price plan suggestions are reasonable. That means no chance.

  • http://Website Dclaryjr

    I wonder if they are going to keep separate pricing for iPad. Right now it’s 1GB for $20, 3GB for $35, which isn’t too bad. I’m using mine a work and I’ve used 800MB with 5 days to go on my first month (strictly WiFi at home)

  • http://Website Zer0-9

    Anyone else remember how “the future of smartphone is all your apps and data stored out in the cloud.”?

    So many things were a great idea…until now.

  • http://Website kyle

    It is outrageous to charge 10 bucks a gig. I average 7 gigs a month on T-Mobile (they always tell me I’m I’m throttled, but I always get high speeds.)

  • http://Website Chuck

    This is why im jealous of my brother’s Virgin Mobile plan. I got him an LG Optimus V with his unlimited txt/data plan @ $25/month!

    • http://Website ari-free

      That’s crazy, right?

  • http://Website ezflyer13

    Yeah, you can jump from carrier to carrier but in the end, they will all sing the same song…it is all about the profits and at this point when they can get as much as they can from our wallets, that is the bottom line. Hopefully, they will better think their family plan as that is what i am waiting for now that my teenage son wants an android phone…

  • http://Website st4xor

    Wow, this is kind of a slap in the face. For anyone who is counting, July 7th is also the date that everyone who bought an OG Droid on launch day (11/6/09) will be eligible for their last new every 2 upgrade discount.

    I think I will be thinking long and hard before jumping on a new Bionic or SGS II when they come out (who wants to be that we’ll start hearing more about both handsets after the 7th?). I think my plan of action will be to hold out on getting a phone this summer and let my contract with VZW expire in November. At that point, I’ll see what the status of the next Nexus phone is.

    A lot has changed on VZW since I bought my OG Droid almost 2 years ago, and not for the better. Depending on how shared data works out, I think there’s a good possibility that I’ll be taking myself and my 4 family share lines somewhere else come November.

  • http://Website eskamo

    I use over 2gb every month and I don’t think I use it “a lot”.. question though, if I use WiFi will that sill count towards my data plan? I would switch to Sprint too if I weren’t locked into a contract but the deciding factor when I renew will be who’s getting the nexus 3! That’s where I’ll be headed:)

  • http://Website snowbdr89

    Hmm they want me to take it the ass alot harder with tiered data plans? Might aswell turn gay bye bye vzw take your tiered plans n shove it up yo ass!!

  • http://Website creliandobi

    not that this makes it any better, but isn’t this mainly an issue with newsubscribers?
    2nd paragraph, 1st sentence:
    “data and three tiers for WiFi tethering for new subscribers”

    not that i’m any happy about this-just to remove some of the fire from the pot.

  • http://Website snowbdr89

    So how would this affect buying a phone at full retail i wonder if they would make you change your unlimited plan.

  • http://Website Damian

    Guys, it doesn’t matter if this affects you now because of what you use as far as data. This will eventually get to you one way or another. This price increase is very greedy on Verizon’s part. They already charge an arm and a leg as it is…now they want your heart too? I’m one of those customers that is due for an upgrade in July. It doesn’t matter how fast LTE is right now…. I cannot upgrade with those prices…is ridiculous. I guess my option is Sprint for now. I’m pretty sure I will not be the only one either. This is in no way good business. I’m suspect many new or current customers will make the jump like I will.

  • http://Website Richard Yarrell

    The EVIL EMPIRE HAS STRUCK and the end result is sprint will benefit no doubt. Honestly I can see sprint heading in this direction in some form of way just not as greedy. In today’s world you have to pay to play but on sprint they do care most about the little guy and always will. Evo 3d day is 4days away a national holiday that will always be UNLIMITED.

    • Anonymous

      I just have to ask & get this off my chest…

      Richard, are you a loyal Sprint employee or just a Sprint Fanboy?
      Just seems you are so in love with Sprint, and every comment you post, “Sprint is simply the best” I would have thought you worked for them & was job security for you or something…

      OK, just wondering…

  • http://Website Paul

    Well, the fine print with Sprint’s service is that the FIRST 2GB of data is delivered unrestricted each month. After that, Sprint reserves the right to slow your data speed and/or terminate your contract. This has been confirmed by FIVE Sprint Customer Representatives and TWO supervisors, as I have had issues with data while I was a customer. I was able to terminate my contract utilizing the clause that the service was not as advertised. Sprint boasts about having unlimited data, but their fine print states otherwise.

    Also with Virgin Mobile. They no longer offer unlimited 3G data. After 2.5GB of 3G usage, Virgin Mobile WILL REDUCE YOUR SPEED to 256kbps, which is 5X the speed of dialup. They even state this when you buy their service.

    Your best bet is to go to US Cellular. Sure, they offer 5GB data caps and they may not get the best phones, BUT you get dedicated service and perks the other companies won’t offer you. You can get new phone upgrades every 10-18 months, unlike the 22-24 months you have to wait with the other providers. US Cellular also has the cheapest ETF fee at $150, which is reduced by $7.50 each month from month 5 to 23. No higher ETF fees for smartphones, whereas Verizon charges $350 and AT&T $375!!! Finally, if you have multiple smartphones, you can get family plans with discounts on data packages. No more “per line” data charges. And if you go over 5GB – it’s a measly 25 cents per MB and US Cellular is willing to forgive the first time you go over and they offer “overage forgiveness” when you use “belief points”. US Cellular will save a family of 4 $1000 over the major carriers in the course of a year.

    • http://Website Cole

      lol, thanks u.s cellular rep. How’s coverage in baltimore?

    • rtkirton

      I can’t confirm the 2GB you are talking about, but you are correct…they can throttle your connection if they feel you are abusing it (they also could terminate the connection as well). That is part of the TOS.

      But I looked at the clause last night and, for the most part, it looks like they can throttle if you are trying to do things that take a lot of bandwidth over a period of time (such as running a BitTorrent site or hosting your own web service). Going into their network and watching several movies from Netflix in a month doesn’t appear to be a trigger, or at least not from the language I was reading.

      However, like all TOS, there is language that allows Sprint to adjust what it thinks what usage violates it network and, therefore, could throttle your connection back (or even terminate it) on other items not mentioned in the contract.

      Definitely something to keep an eye on.

  • http://Website driver0143

    Yea go right ahead and jump to sprint for data have you seen there speeds lately lol don’t worry be happy I left sprint and im not going back 3g data to slow 4g sucks and I was uncapped

  • jian9007

    This is the way it’s been heading for some time. As to Sprint, they can throttle you if they so desire (read the extra fine print) and it’s unlimited PLUS the BS $10.00/month premium data add-on fee. That’s currently for all smartphones, 3G, 4G, etc. I definitely don’t like (AT&T and soon Verizon) automatically charging you overages at $10 per 1GB.

    If you go over by 2Kbps you just got charged $10 for the whole 1 GB and it keeps going until infinity. If you use 15GB (on AT&T’s top plan, which is 4GB) then it costs you an additional $90.00 that month in addition to your regular voice and data plan. That’s for one individual account, imagine if you had a family plan with 5 lines and each had overages. Ouch. Soon it will be pick your poison or pick the lesser evil unless the government steps in.

  • http://roughridergames.blogspot.com/ ColdFusion71

    This is more annoying than when you had to pay per minute for internet on your PC. I think I’m just going to go back to a dumb phone as long as I can still get unlimited text.

  • http://Website snowbdr89

    I seriously considered switching to sprint yesterday after i read this so i went into a sprint store n checked it out and here is WHY i wont switch, sprint phones couldnt even pull anything over 3mbps compared to my up to 16mbps on my tbolt, i recall the nightmares i had when i was with sprint customer service people who can barely speak english is a huge pain so thos are the main reasons well other then sprints coverage is about as big as richard yarrells wanky!! So im staying with big red because i get screaming speeds, coverage everywhere and i dont have to press 1 for english.

    • http://Website Richard Yarrell

      No you press 0 for LOST and 1 for OVERCHARGES You lost soul. Verizon has all you folks IN LALA LAND…Verizon equals lessor devices at overcharged prices enjoy your stay on BIG RED

      • http://Website snowbdr89

        Lesser phones? Dick you moron id take my rooted tbolt over that over hyped p.o.s. evo phone anyday not to mention lte vs wimax speeds. vzw has the galaxy s2, motorola targa, tbolt, the charge, droid3 and im pretty sure the nexus 4g will be vzw if its lte because they are the only ones who have lte at the moment!! So id take that line up over your sprint line up runnin on that pathetic network u call sprint.

        • rtkirton

          You do know that the Thunderbolt is a beefed up Evo 4G that runs on LTE, right? The specs are nearly identical with exception to more ram (768MB vs 512MB) and storage (8GB vs 1GB). Other than that, the hardware specs are identical (even the screen size is identical).

          Other than that, if you like the Thunderbolt over the Evo 4G…then that’s great. Everybody has their preference.

    • rtkirton

      That’s WiMax versus LTE, not the phones themselves. I don’t think you are going to get anyone to argue with you that LTE is superior to WiMax. The topic here is the caps and the costs associated with them.

      That’s one of the complaints I’ve had with WiMax…for a 4G technology, it is slow. But, I won’t go to Verizon, they cost way too much for comparable service at Sprint…even though LTE goes faster. Plus I do have unlimited 4G, even though it is slower.

  • http://Website Peter H

    Has anyone asked VZW reps what will happen after the 7th? I talked to a guy at a VZW store who told me that I would be “grandfathered” in to my unlimited data plan, even if I resigned my contract. It didn’t seem right and I did not press him on it. He also said that there would only be 1 year contracts available from here on out…both statements seem wrong on many levels.

    Am I right in assuming that when my 2 year contract is up in September and i get the latest and greatest phone with subsidy by signing a 2 or 1 year deal I will have to sign up for a tiered data plan?

    What happens to the other Droid on my account? My fiance has a droid 2 which will not be up for renew until 2012 and has unlimited data. Will her phone as part of my account/contract have to be within the new tired data plan that I will sign in Sept?

    • http://Website pope

      It says new customers. You are both existing customers, so it shouldn’t apply to either

    • rtkirton

      Something doesn’t seem right, and you’re correct to be cautious.

  • http://Website Pope

    It sucks that verizon is doing this, but I wouldn’t go back to sprint if it would save my mother from colon cancer. They have the worst service of them all. if you are paying $100 less with sprint, but drop calls and can’t surf, are you really saving money? I live in detroit, btw, not the middle of the desert. They should have good service in a major city like here.

    • http://Website TGeezy86

      There are still people in Detroit? Wow…where have I been?

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