Print 96 comment(s) - last by RealTheXev.. on Jul 10 at 9:29 PM

Verizon drops the metered data plan hammer next week. Existing customers will be spared for at least one upgrade cycle, but new customers will bear the full brunt of the nation's most expensive data plan.  (Source: Flickr)

LTE tethering is no longer free for anyone. For new subscribers it's not unlimited, either.  (Source: Tested)
Big Red kills free LTE tethering, charges new customers lots of money for their data

Verizon Wireless (VZ) has been cagey with regard to details of what its new metered smart phone data plan would entail.  Now customers may find out why.

New smart phone subscribers will no longer have the option to get unlimited data, starting July 7.  In its place they will have an array of plans that while gentle on overages and flexible, are generally expensive for base use.

The cheapest plan will be $30 USD/month for 2 GB -- $5 USD/month more than AT&T Inc.'s (T) price on an identical data allowance.  Verizon does not offer a 200 MB plan like AT&T ($15 USD/month).  Instead, it offers two pricier, higher cap plans -- $50 USD/month for 5 GB or $80 USD/month for 10 GB.  Overages at least, are relatively reasonable compared to past rates on Verizon's metered air cards, dropping in at $10 USD per extra GB.

The good news for existing customers is that they will be able to keep their unlimited data plans for at least one more upgrade cycle.

Verizon also revealed details on its plan to crack down on LTE hotspot usage.  Here existing customers aren't entirely spared -- for them the previously free unlimited data service will now cost $30 USD/month.  New customers have it even worse, though -- they won't have an unlimited option.  They will only get a $20 USD/month 2 GB option.

The pricing was revealed by Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney in an interview with FierceWireless.

The new data costs will take effect July 7.  During the interview Verizon also revealed that shared data plans ("family plans") will indeed be incoming -- similar to T-Mobile and AT&T's.  Verizon has not yet put a timetable on the deployment of those plans.

The details revealed indicate that Verizon -- currently the largest network in the U.S. in terms of mobile subscribers -- will also be the most expensive network in terms of data plans.

Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA is currently the cheapest of the metered plans, offering rates of $15 USD/month for 200 MB, $20 USD/month for 2 GB, $30 USD/month for 5 GB, or $60 USD/month for 10 GB.  T-Mobile followed AT&T's lead and killed unlimited data plans in May.

Currently the only carrier with no official plans to switch to metered connections is Sprint Nextel Corp. (S).  CEO Dan Hesse argues that customers value the simplicity and value of its unlimited plans.  However, he warns that Sprint may someday consider metered plans if the market demands it.

Sprint has also suggested that if the pending AT&T/T-Mobile merger gets approved, that it may be pushed out of business.  If Sprint indeed folded or was acquired by another carrier (such as Verizon), the U.S. would be left with only two mega-carriers -- AT&T and Verizon.  Those carriers, notably, also have the highest planned data costs for new subscribers.

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RE: Bait and switch
By Geraldo8022 on 7/5/2011 8:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
with Sprint I get 3G for $70 and another $10 buys 4G. With taxes it all comes to about $93 per month. I don't have any other Net as I live too far out in the sticks. I don't know why anyone in my position would go with anyone but Sprint. Hope they don't terminate unlimited. That would hurt. I guess it would be sat or Clearwire.

RE: Bait and switch
By Samus on 7/5/2011 9:04:01 PM , Rating: 3
I had Sprint a long time ago and it was great service, but I switched to T-mobile in 2006-ish because the phone selection was better (Sidekick, G1, etc.) I live between Chicago and San Diego, and both have excellent '4G' coverage in both areas, and importantly, both are the least expensive in the industry with arguably better phones.

I like T-Mobile, but I will leave them simply to favor the 'underdog.' If the AT&T/T-Mobile merger goes through, I'll be switching back to Sprint. Both companies have treated me well.

My first phone was with Verizon in the 90's and the problem with them back then (other than they were expensive) was what they did to the phone firmware and contents. I remember getting one of the first camera phones and not being able to download them via USB they removed that function. They wanted me to upload them to VCAST for $0.25/picture, basically a MMS charge. That was the last straw.

RE: Bait and switch
By bplewis24 on 7/5/11, Rating: 0
RE: Bait and switch
By Jeffk464 on 7/5/2011 10:56:10 PM , Rating: 2
You suck, I'm stuck in my current 3G contract and so can't get into the unlimited 4G until after it goes through the roof.

RE: Bait and switch
By theapparition on 7/6/2011 10:00:54 AM , Rating: 2
Not true. You can go into any Verizon store, buy a Thunderbolt today (at retail), and add unlimited 4G to your account.

You are not stuck by any means. It will just cost you a bit.

RE: Bait and switch
By BSMonitor on 7/6/2011 3:29:54 PM , Rating: 2
Who only texts 500 messages a month. Add unlimited texting and you are at $93 with the rest of us.

RE: Bait and switch
By Mr772 on 7/8/2011 5:49:05 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget to add the cost for visual voicemail @ $2.99 Verizon is the only major carrier that charges for it. It's free with AT&T and Sprint. Verizon is a scumbag company. They should change the company moto to Vamprizon.

The only way they can get away with this is becaus of idiot consumers who buy the BS network claims. The fact is you can get the exact same coverage on Sprint because of roaming agreements. As long as these suckers keep paying out like chumps Vamprizon will never change.

RE: Bait and switch
By strapmonkey on 7/9/2011 10:18:59 AM , Rating: 2
Well, sonny, some of us remember when we UPGRADED from the telegraph to the telephone, which was wonderful because we no longer had to learn Morse code to chat across the Atlantic (ah, the landline of yesteryear, seems so down home, old fashioney quaint now). Then (much, much later) came the first portable phones, only they weren't all that portable, being about the size of a short loaf of bread (not to mention prone to inducing male sterility at 20 paces due to all the extra Z-beam transmissions).

Fast forward 20 years, and out comes the cellular phone; mostly portable, end user friendly, no more sterility, fewer brain tumors - winning proposition all around. Oh, and texting too! So, from telegraph, to telephone, to cellphone and back to telegraph again in less than two generations - now THAT is progress!

In all seriousness, some of us old farts have sent precisely 8 text messages on our current cell phone, which is 5 years old. It' You can use it to make these things called "phone calls", where (again, through the eloquent magic of Z-beam transmission via the ether) voices appear out of thin air; sometimes the voices are actually attached to people you are interested in holding a conversation with.

Oh...OH...gotta cut and run, the Metamucil just kicked in....

RE: Bait and switch
By Motoman on 7/6/11, Rating: 0
RE: Bait and switch
By erple2 on 7/6/2011 2:48:55 AM , Rating: 2
Other than by rooting your phone, and technically "cheating", Straight Talk doesn't give you unlimited data - at least not what I'd consider data. Access to a couple of hand-picked websites and a couple of hand-picked services doesn't make for what I'd consider 'data'.

But they do provide unlimited talk and texting in that $45 plan.

RE: Bait and switch
By Motoman on 7/6/2011 9:54:40 AM , Rating: 1
Nice post, other than the fact that you have no clue what you're talking about.

Nokia E71. Natively supports wired tethering, out of the box. Supports wireless tethering with a $10 app. Where was the "rooting" you mentioned? Oh yeah...that was you lying about something because you've not got the slightest clue what you're talking about.

Unlimited data is part of the plan. Go look. There's no restriction on anything - it's the internet. Access anything and everything you want.

Why exactly did you feel moved to make such stupid statements about something you clearly have no information on at all?

RE: Bait and switch
By frobizzle on 7/6/2011 10:51:14 AM , Rating: 2
I don't have any conclusive evidence about it but there are a lot of discussion boards where Straight Talk customers are complaining that if Straight Talk suspects you are tethering with your unlimited data plan, they cut your service off without any warning.

I don't know if that is accurate or not but it is something to keep in mind.

RE: Bait and switch
By mcnabney on 7/6/2011 1:05:58 PM , Rating: 2
That is true of all networks and providers. Straight Talk buys minutes and gigabytes from Verizon by the billions, but they still don't want to give it away for nothing.

RE: Bait and switch
By RealTheXev on 7/10/2011 9:29:25 PM , Rating: 2
In my area, not going with Sprint is simple: No 3G (yes that's right) coverage in most of northwest PA. Go look at their coverage map if you think I'm full of it.

I'd have switched to Sprint ages ago if not for the lack of 3G coverage in my area.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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