May 16 AT 3:42 PM Taylor Wimberly 69 Comments

Verizon to axe grandfathered unlimited data plans, as users move to 4G LTE devices


Starting this summer Verizon plans to eliminate the $30 unlimited data plan that it still offers to subscribers who were grandfathered into it, when tiered data plans were rolled out last year. The news comes from Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo who said that as these 3G unlimited data plan customers migrate to 4G LTE devices, they will be forced to adopt the company’s new data-share plan that is expected by mid-summer.

“LTE is our anchor point for data share, so as you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto the data share plan, moving away from the unlimited world,” Shammo said. “A lot of our 3G base is on unlimited. When they migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share. That is beneficial to us.”

AT&T recently began encouraging their subscribers to migrate to tiered plans (which pissed some customers off), so it’s not much of a surprise to see Verizon doing the same thing.

Verizon goes on to say the new data-share plan will allow subscribers to connect more devices. Shammo said, “If I can add as many devices as I want, that is more efficient from a family perspective and a small business perspective.”

Some say that you should be scared of Verizon’s shared data plans, but I’m not so sure that I share that opinion yet. I might be alone in this thinking, but I don’t mind tiers and paying for the data that I consume. Of course I wish that there were cheaper tiers and data overages cost less, but I don’t have a problem with the basic concept of shared data buckets for multiple devices.

If you are a Verizon customers, I’m curious to know what you think. Will the end of unlimited data plans encourage you to switch to a carrier like Sprint that offers truly unlimited data?

Via: Fierce Wireless

Source: Verizon Earnings Call

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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  • Sean Riley

    Verizon is going to have to pry that plan from my cold dead hands.

    • Jeremy Sheehan

      Agreed. I will fight tooth and nail to avoid that. I’ve been with them for more than 6 years and I think that’s pretty amazing considering how some folks jump between carriers these days. Plus I already pay an a$$-load of money every month for their quality network (my parents complain all the time about ATT). I never drop calls, miss messages and the 4G is blazing fast. Unless they can give me an unlimited family plan for $60 or less, I won’t budge.

      • Tom

        “I think that’s pretty amazing considering how some folks jump between carriers these days.” …well, considering you sign a 2 year contract, that’s not really true. My family was stuck with AT&T for 11 years because device upgrades keep extending the contract, you’re not different from most others at all, sorry to say. As for both of you saying you won’t give it up? That’s fine, enjoy your EV-DO Rev A. I’d rather have 4 gigs of LTE than all-you-can-eat at 700k-1mbps any month of the year.

        • breon

          @Tom – Some of us aren’t on contract and are able to move from carrier to carrier more easily.

          I’m not on contract. I am a 4G user. I have unlimited. They are going to have to pry that plan from my cold dead hands.

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      • leeann dever

        I.have had Verizon for.almost 3 years now $200.for 2 phones. One has.unlimited data and.the.other 4gig. They can’t.expect me smh higher.prices. and.I get what you pay for.but I.will.switch before.I.go.over $200. It’s already ridiculously priced compared to.the.others.

    • chris

      I’m upgrade next Feb to the new razor hd. Hope that upgrade don’t mess my unlimited plan up. Would anyone know??

  • hater on the rocks

    Ok so what if ur on a family plan three lines and all three lines have the 30 dollar unlimited data plan. Two of them have iPhone and the 3rd line can Not upgrade until next year but wants to upgrade to a 4g lte phone?

    • Shadowlore

      Based on what they’re saying.. that 3rd line that wants to upgrade will be forced into a tiered plan. (when you upgrade, you sign a contract for another 2 years to get the discounted rate). Some are claiming if you buy a device aside from the provider, you might be able to keep the unlimited.. but VZW will probably close up that hole.

  • oddball

    The scary part isn’t that they want us to go to tiered plans that was going to happen eventually. It’s that the tiers are DESIGNED to force us to pay more. They are actually built to cause “families” to increase their costs constantly rather than be a smart choice for some consumers.

    • professandobey

      Right? December 2013 is when I will be leaving Verizon Wireless. I’ve been rather fed up with their shenanigans, and this sets the whole thing in stone.

      By then I’m sure Republic Wireless, other MVNOs, and the Google Play Store will be ready for my business by then.

      • Shadowlore

        Actually, I suspect if they try to force you into a tiered plan prior to that point (blowing away those that are grandfathered in) you have a recourse for early breaking of your contract without penalty. (as they’ve broken the rules that were agreed to) So your upgrade date may come earlier than you’ve planned ;)

  • Noven

    I’m with Sean. I am wondering; what if you don’t use the upgrade? I usually buy my phones off contract.

    If they are going to force me the Sprint here I come! Been heavily considering going to Sprint anyway. Maybe this was the push I needed.

    • Sean Riley

      I doubt they will actively change your plan if you stay off contract, which is my plan for the time being as well. Now what I suspect they will start doing is being more aggressive with the throttling for those of us that stay with the unlimited plan and try to force the holdouts off that way.

      • professandobey

        All this talk of buying phones off contract and staying on Verizon is silly. Without a contract, you’ll most likely get switched right away (or like Sean said, they’ll encourage you to switch with throttling). You’re not going to be teaching Verizon a lesson as they’re still getting your money. If this really upsets you, just leave Verizon as soon as you can, like I will. Otherwise, deal with it, embrace the change and get your subsidy. Paying full price for a phone only makes financial sense if you actually shop around and get a cheaper plan.

        • Noven

          Should have added this part; I also don’t want to switch or adjust anything on my plan because right now I am paying a very cozy $45 a month for my entire plan. Which includes the unlimited data, unlimited text and… I can’t remember how many minutes but that isn’t important. I had to go through quite a few things to get my plan the be that low and I’m sure whatever changes they force my plan will end up costing me $80 a month. This is the reason I buy off contract. I want my plan to be ignored as much as possible.

          Honestly, I’m not really that upset. More annoyed that I’ll probably end up paying at least $30 more a month now.

  • oddball

    In my house a $40 4gb plan that would cover all the phones on the account would more than cover our usage. I use about 1.5 gb and my wife uses about 400 mb (yes MB). That would save us $20 a month on data charges (sort of I am on a special plan) and would cover our needs just fine. That being said I bet you that we won’t see something like that we will see a $60 4 gb plan and they will try to force us into it

    • redraider133

      I agree that seems to kind of verizon to do and would also work perfect for the 2 data lines on my account since on a high month I use about 2 gig of data and the other data plan phone uses about 1-1.5 tops.

  • Nathan D.

    Dam that sucks for a bunch of people, hey if you don’t upgrade and just get a phone off contract then your good (hopefully).

  • SparkyXI

    So let me get this straight: Either I upgrade and sign a new two year agreement to get a discounted phone (which kills my grandfathered data), or I buy a phone outright, don’t sign an agreement, and keep my grandfathered data plan? Sounds like an easy decision.

    I hate being locked in to an agreement anyway.

    If they force me into a tiered data plan within my contract date, they’re breaking said contract.

    • oddball

      But the second we go month to month I bet they just “adjust” our plan to the tiered and “inform” us via email that we have had “a change to our plan”

      • SparkyXI

        Not without my authorization they won’t.

        • oddball

          Ah but you are on a month to month you are not locked into a long term contract then. They can make any changes they want and your options are leave or stay. For some reason in this country we have decided to let the pipes control the access rather than forcing them to allow the consumer to control their usage

        • Voliam

          They won’t need your authorization. If you are off contract, then there is no binding agreement between you; hence, no breach of contract when (not if) they roll you to a tiered plan. Your only choice then becomes which tier you want to buy.

  • pitacrisps

    Okay… But I’m on 4G already and I’m still unlimited. I assume that they’ll just wait and take that away when I go to upgrade next year?

    • honourbound68

      we’re on the same boat. hopefully, we’ll still stay unlimited. but just to make sure, i’ll buy my next phone outright so i won’t have to renew contract.

  • Clifton Dunaway

    I think this sounds like users with unlimited 3G data plans will not get the 4G unlimited plan. Those with the current unlimited plan should be able to keep their plans.

    Am I correct?

    • SparkyXI

      I certainly hope so, Clifton…

  • Thomas Biard

    I’ve been trying to avoid this. I love Verizon (except for paying a ton of money), but maybe this could convince me to look at Sprint. I’ve had Verizon for 12 years and never had a problem with signing a 2 year contract. Hmmm, we shall see what the deal is. Maybe if I switch my phone right before they do put this into practice so I can have another 2 years (or more) of unlimited. I was really looking forward to unlimted LTE too.

    • michael

      Just an FYI, sprint’s 4g lte services will start rolling out in 2013. If they take away my unlimited data, i’m going to sprint as well.

      • swazedahustla

        Actually sprints LTE starts rolling out June 2012.

  • Jake Gall

    I have an LTE device already, does this mean I will lose my unlimited plan if I upgrade in the future?

    • Ari32

      I’m pretty sure this is going to be the case. Once our two years is up we will be forced into a tiered plan, even if we go month to month or whatever. Once the contract is up, we’re screwed if we stay with Verizon. This is just speculation on my part though.

    • spazby

      That’s the way I understand it

  • TiminSoCal

    4g coverage is not in my area and will
    probably be the one of the last areas
    to get it. Version can KMA if they think
    I will be charged for something I cant get!

    • lexi

      They will make you switch. Us cell did that to us….. I live in rural lands internet and mobile is a nightmare in costs… And our speeds+ data limits are no fun either. When they change something there is not much you can do about it.

  • breon

    I’m a Verizon customer because I believe that their 4G LTE service is better in Minneapolis. I was lucky enough to be grandfathered into the unlimited data plan. If unlimited goes away, I’ll still be a Verizon 4G LTE customer. When AT&T and Sprint roll out their LTE networks here, my opinion may change.

    • breon

      I wonder how they’re going to handle users that are not in a contract, like myself.

  • amgala

    Time to get my wife a 4G phone before the switch

  • redraider133

    Well this was the last thing keeping me on verizon. The day they take it away I will look to other carriers. At least then I can get what phone I choose and not have to rely on a carrier. Since they are changing this I wish they would bring back 1 year contracts but we all know that isn’t going to happen.

  • redraider133

    I most likely will buy my next phone off contract as well since hopefully that way they won’t take away our unlimited plan.

  • Skis03

    They really leave no incentive for customer loyalty anymore.

  • Major PITA

    If Verizon pushes me into a tiered data plan they will be voiding my contract in doing do. GSM Galaxy Nexus from Google Play next stop!

  • http://Note Uncemister

    Getting that Straight Talk $15 sim card and getting an unlocked Gnex is starting to sound like a good idea now…..

  • barkleyfan

    How could anyone be trained to support tiered data? Cable and DSL providers tried the same thing, and were spanked for it. I left AT&T after a decade, because new policies left a sour taste. I will do without before I will ever give them my money again. If Verizon forces tiered data, I will leave them permanently as well.

  • Mike

    Who wants to bet that this happens just before the Galaxy S3 is released on their network.

  • Gir

    Will this affect those already on a 4g device?

  • Galen20K

    Looks as if Grandfathered plans are going the way of the dodo bird, I knew it would happen eventually just not this soon… wow.

    • Tim

      Greed knows no bounds! The more money they make, the more money they have to make in the next quarter to show their bosses/board members that they hired the right heartless bastard to bring the company further into the black!
      tiered plan=me gone!

      and believe me, I’ll advertise for these A-holes!

  • tonytraumado

    I am really disappointed at the way Verizon does business, their network rocks but this really sucks, I’m gonna sound like a dreamer and I know this will never happen, but all this bull$4!t is gonna stop the day we stop buying their crap and hurt them were it hurts, ” THEIR POCKETS” as for me I’m done with Verizon, Sprint here I come with 5 lines.

  • classic_hero

    Noooooo I like my unlimited data plan even if it is only 3G, but I do want to upgrade eventually so I guess Ill have to switch to tiered

  • merlintw

    Yeah, I think I will be buying my phone outright next time but I still have a year on my contract.

  • E-man

    I’ve been a dissatisfied customer of Verizon for quite a while now. The only reason I’ve stayed with them is because I’ve been grandfathered in with unlimited data. When they take that away from me I’m gone. I’ll probably migrate to one of those unlimited everything $50 plans. Maybe me and my Galaxy Nexus can find a happy home there.

  • Nathan

    I guess thats it for me and Verizon… Screw em’! I’m tired of thier bloatware, and I’m tired of thier “we have the largest network in the country” bs too. Im not upgrading… Hey Sprint, congrats youre about to make $2000 a year from me.
    Can you hear me now, Verizon?

  • Melissa

    Wow. I just love how they say its obviously beneficial to them…as in money. They don’t care about their customers. And I dont care about what people say about Sprint. I live in Jax, FL, and the signal here is pretty good…even decent 3G. I get full bars in both 4G and voice at my workplace. The bill is cheap…cheaper than even I was with T-Mobile, and that’s not including my 22% corporate discount. I also love not having to monitor my data. *knocks on wood* I’m very content with them so far.

    • Orion78

      I totally agree. I haven’t had any problems with Sprint so far.

  • Slith

    I have a small business plan that has been in effect since the Alltel buyout several years ago. Verizon has been calling our office for the last three months trying to get us to change to a tiered plan. I literally have to tell the managers weekly not to adjust our plan.

    If the change comes I hope it is after Sprint has entered our area as Verizon is our only viable choice right now. Ugh!

  • JOHN

    I have an unlimited VZW data plan on a 4G phone already. It’s actually my 2nd 4G phone with them. So, I hopefully won’t be removed when going to my next 4G phone!

  • Michael S Coleman

    I think as Verizon is imposing its will on us again. I’ll be looking into buying my next phone directly from Google.

  • Briguy87

    I am slightly confused. I currently have a thunderbolt 4G LTE. I have been grandfathered in to unlimited data when i bought this phone about 1 year ago. So are they trying to say that they will force me into a tiered data plan? If that is the case, BYE verizon, HELLO something reasonably cheaper and without all the bullshit

  • DragonPhyre

    I don’t see this being an issue for most users of smartphones. Of the 6 people on my family plan, 4 of them have smartphones and 3 of them are LTE enabled phones.

    I use about 1gb of data a month. I have full WiFi coverage at home and at work. But I use the heck out of my phone in the car streaming music from google music. Something I could put onto the 32GB of space I have in my phone… But I don’t, as it is convenient to stream it.

    My fiance uses about 400MB of data a month. She has WiFi at home and she rarely uses her phone for anything when she is out and about. Streaming music is about the only thing she uses it fore.

    My sister uses about 1GB of data a month. She has WiFi at home and can’t use her phone at all at work so it is off during work hours so zero data usage. But she is a FB update crazed person and she LOOOOOVES photos of her and her friends out at bars.

    And the final user is my mother who uses a scant 150mb a month. She just doesn’t use her phone for anything other than getting FB status updates.

    Grand total is under 4GB on average per month. that we currently all have on our lines. So we are paying $120 for 12GB but we don’t even use up one plans worth of data. So switching over to a bucket of MB would actually save us a whoooole bunch of money per month. Even if we had to spend $50 a month, we would still be saving over half per month on phone data.


    With all that said, I still think it is a bunch of crap that they are forcing us to do what is good for THEM rather than honoring their contract like they should. If you find it bad enough, use this to break your contract without paying the ETF.

    • Briguy87

      For some people these new plans will be beneficial, like yourself. I on the other hand(if they do convert my plan) will be hindered substantially.

      I utilize my phone as a wifi hotspot (Rooted so I don’t pay) and I also stream pandora throughout my workday from my phone.

      With all that being said, on an average I consume 6GB per month if you factor in the last 3 months. Definitely is going to kill my bill if they decide to change mine over.

      Happy for you though that this will infact benefit you :)

    • pugstar

      Lucky you with all your Wi-Fi coverage. I stay in really rural parts of our great nation. I unfortunately have the Wi-Fi luxury u have. Hopefully the tiered plan from Verizon comes with a free jar of lube for everyone forced switch.

  • yankeesusa

    While I think this is bogus that big red is doing this, I don’t think they are going to lose too many customers over this and if they do then that means less people on the network which means faster speeds for those who stay. Reason I say that is verizon has the largest and up to now the fastest lte network, not to mention they are about to release dozens more markets. Also their lte has been proven to be very fast and they still have 4gb data plans which if they keep will keep the unlimited people happy. Only way that they will take a big hit on this is if sprint gets their lte network turned on faster then they said and start adding markets every month to keep up with big red and keep their unlimited data. If sprint does this then verizon will lose even more customers but its doubtful sprint can catch up to big red this year.

  • ama332

    I’m only 5mo into my contract (after 8 years repping Verizon’s superior signal), and this on top of the 5mo fiasco I’ve had with the Galaxy Nexus (stock until yesterday), I cannot say I’ll be staying with Verizon beyond another 19mo have gone by.

  • pugstar

    I am grandfathered in Verizon customer. If Verizon do go to a tiered plan for data I think they should not be allowed to sell smart phones period. Totally unfair to the customers once again big businesses flexing their ability to rape the hard working customer for what pennies we do have. What’s next we are going to be charged for oxygen next?????

  • Matt

    Wake up people…I’ve been rocking my Note on Straight Talk for $49.03 out the door!!

  • Scottyb112

    I told Verizon I would Axe them if they Axe my unlimited…