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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 troysavary on 7/5/2011 9:22:57 PM , Rating: 0
Stop being a moron and feeding the vending machines then. $2.99, plus deposit, will get you a case of 12 cans at Superstore. Besides, soda is pointless. Not only is it bad for you, it does nothing to get rid of thirst because of the high sugar content. Drink water, it is free, or nearly so.

RE: Bait and switch
By cmdrdredd on 7/5/11, Rating: 0
RE: Bait and switch
By troysavary on 7/5/2011 9:42:40 PM , Rating: 2
Soda is bad for you even in moderate amounts, but that isn't the point. My point was that crying about the price for the convenience of buying something you don't need from the most expensive place you can find it is a piss poor way to judge a country.

RE: Bait and switch
By Captain Orgazmo on 7/5/2011 9:50:55 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, the price of common goods, like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, or a Big Mac is a great way of comparing cost of living in different countries, and is often cited by respected economists.

RE: Bait and switch
By troysavary on 7/5/2011 9:58:14 PM , Rating: 1
I'd rather go by prices of things like electricity, which is pretty much the same in both countries; housing, which I am sure is much cheaper where I live than most of the US; gas, ok, the US has us beat there by a long shot; etc, you know, the things generally needed for "living". I'd hardly consider popping money in a vending machine to be a normal living expense. It is hardly a realistic portrayal of the price of buying food. Use the supermarket, at least, if you feel you must include soda as a living expense.

Besides, I'd much rather live under Harper's policies than Obama's.

RE: Bait and switch
By FITCamaro on 7/6/2011 6:50:25 AM , Rating: 2
I guess you think talking on the phone or standing in front of the microwave is too.

RE: Bait and switch
By troysavary on 7/6/2011 3:22:41 PM , Rating: 3
Microwaves are shielded, there is practically no radiation escaping, so, no I see no danger in those. The jury is still out on cellphones, but the risk seems small enough that I have no problem using one.

Are you seriously trying to say that the health risk of soda is as dubious as the risk from eating microwaved food?

RE: Bait and switch
By cmdrdredd on 7/6/2011 5:19:25 PM , Rating: 2
Soda doesn't kill you when you have one with your lunch at work. If it did, I'd have been dead years ago. I guarantee I'm healthier than 99% of america and I drink soda daily.

I also don't sit watching TV all damn day, I exercise (BMX racing, running, swimming). I also don't eat exclusively at crapdonalds.

RE: Bait and switch
By Captain Orgazmo on 7/5/2011 9:37:55 PM , Rating: 2
I was making a point, but thanks, mom. :P

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