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Verizon to cut off unlimited data plans this summer

We've been hearing about Verizon's intentions to end unlimited data plans for quite some time. We first heard about the possibility of a tiered data strategy in fall 2010, and it looks as though Verizon is now gearing up to implement the new strategy this summer.

Verizon Wireless customers will no longer be able to have an unlimited data plan for $30/month. Instead, customers will be give tiered options will penalize customers who download large amounts of data. Rival AT&T currently offers a 200MB data plan for $15/month and 2GB data plan for $25/month.

To soften the blow, Verizon Wireless will offer "Family” data plans that allow multiple smartphones or tablets to share a large pool of data per month according to Reuters. This move has been a long time coming as customers have long been able to share minutes, but data packages have always been assigned to each individual phone line at $30 a pop.

"I think it's safe to assume that at some point you are going to have mega-plans (for data) and people are going to share that mega-plan based on the number of devices within their family," said Verizon CFO Fran Shammo. "That's just a logical progression."

Shammo also alluded to the fact that the next generation iPhone will be a "world phone". The baseband chip used in Verizon's version of the iPhone supports GSM, but it is currently disabled. However, Shammo indicated that the next iPhone will "work in as many countries as AT&T's iPhone" and will launch at the same time (instead of 6 months later as was the case with the Verizon iPhone 4).

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By michael2k on 5/19/2011 4:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
I would love a data bucket shared amongst my devices! Even better if tethering was "free". Pay $60/m for 4gb and 4 devices, and I would be happy.

RE: Finally!
By Solandri on 5/19/2011 6:05:57 PM , Rating: 2
Charging for tethering only makes sense if a plan has unlimited data. Once a carrier imposes a data cap, they eliminate all justification for limiting tethering. If their cap is 5 GB, it doesn't matter to them if you spend it on emails, browsing the web on your phone, or tethering / running a hotspot.

The plans may start out charging extra for tethering simply because customers are used to it, but the long-term market pressure will be towards eliminating that distinction.

RE: Finally!
By mcnabney on 5/20/2011 9:38:38 AM , Rating: 2
I imagine tethering charges will go away. You just pay for the bucket of GBs and use it on whatever devices you choose - tablets, feature phones, or any phone tethered to a computer.

RE: Finally!
By enlil242 on 5/22/2011 5:49:36 PM , Rating: 2
I have a capped data plan on my Galaxy Tab and the mobile hotspot feature is included. No extra charge...

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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