Say it ain't so, Big Red! It appears that Verizon will be dropping the Unlimited Data option from its smartphone plan as early as July 29th, according to Engadget. This honestly should not come as much of a shock to Verizon Wireless customers, but for some of us, this news may be hard to swallow. You may recall Big Red hinting numerous times that unlimited data simply could not be an option for its data networks, as the number of smartphone users are steadily on the rise. Remember Verizon's CTO, Dick Lynch? He's the guy who made these bold statements, back in January:
Although the idea that Verizon will be switching to tiered data plans is not shocking by itself, I am a bit surprised that Verizon may be cutting off unlimited data so far ahead of its 4G roll-out.The problem we have today with flat-based usage is that you are trying to encourage customers to be efficient in use and applications but you are getting some people who are bandwidth hogs using gigabytes a month and they are paying something like megabytes a month,” Lynch said. “That isn’t long-term sustainable. Why should customers using an average amount of bandwidth be subsidizing bandwidth hogs?
These subtle hints have been picking up steam over the past few days. Just yesterday, Verizon updated its My Verizon app to include a data usage tracker (Droid X customers had the app automatically installed/updated in the OTA that rolled out last night). And earlier today, Verizon’s Business Development Executive Director, Jennifer Byrne also mentioned the woes Verizon is having in regards to its Droid X customers using up 5x more bandwidth than any other smartphones in Verizon's arsenal:
You may recall AT&T's CEO Ralph de la Vega expressing similar disapproval with its iPhone users, back in October during CTIA 2009:On Droid X, we’re seeing something like 5x the data usage of any other device.
Similarly, AT&T dropped its unlimited data option a few months back, leaving new customers with the choice of $25 for 2GB, or $15 for 200MB. We are still waiting on the price structure to Verizon's new tiered data plans. It is also up in the air, as to whether or not sure if Verizon will be applying these data restrictions to new customers, or if this will also affect current customers. We suspect, as long as you are under contract for unlimited data, these changes should not affect you until you decide to upgrade phones. However, one thing is for certain: don't expect to have unlimited data for much longer.3 percent of AT&T's smartphone customers [read iPhone users] use 40 percent of all smartphone data, that they consume 13 times the data of the average smartphone customer, yet represent less than 1 percent of AT&T’s total postpaid customer base.
Thoughts on tiered data plans? And would you pay a premium for unlimited data, if you had the choice?