While some people were unable to contemplate the possibility that Verizon's all-you-can-eat data plans would be coming to an end, Verizon's CFO Fran Shammo again affirmed the carrier's commitment to move to a tiered system today. When will life start to suck for new or upgrading Verizon customers? This Summer, apparently.

"But David, I already have an unlimited data contract, they have to honor that!" Why yes, they do. Until you want to upgrade to a 4G device, and you have to sign a completely "new" rate plan contract. AT&T is already doing this with the Inspire 4G - if you upgrade from any previous device to the Inspire, AT&T forces you into their limited data plans because your "service" has changed (to "4G"). Personally, I'm expecting these plans to go into effect on the launch day of the DROID BIONIC. [Update: Apparently, if you have an old unlimited data plan on AT&T and go to an AT&T store to upgrade to an Inspire or ATRIX 4G, you can nicely ask your salesperson to keep you on the old unlimited data plan. This does seem to contravene AT&T's official policy on HSPA+ 4G device upgrades, and sounds like a customer retention measure / sales-floor offer, so consider yourself informed.]

Additionally, I wouldn't hold out hope for  any "3G only" data plan options for any 4G devices, that's some very wishful thinking. Will upcoming 3G phones (like the DROID X2) still have unlimited data? I'm willing to bet so - either that, or very liberal data caps. Verizon will want to keep its appeal to rural and suburban customers that rely on its extensive 3G coverage.

Why not start this tierification with the HTC Thunderbolt? Verizon wants to remain competitive with AT&T's special treatment of iPhone upgrades, and its competitors' 4G devices that still have unlimited data (T-Mobile, Sprint). It makes sense - early adopters are quite a fickle bunch. But, once Verizon's 4G network becomes the nation's largest (which will presumably be soon), the shoe's going to be on the other foot. [Update: The HTC Thunderbolt will be subject to Verizon's LTE data tiers, though it is unclear whether this will happen at launch, or if customers are agreeing to rate changes down the line.]

It remains unknown just how Verizon will be arranging its data tiers, but expect a combination of data usage and connection speed caps, much like what AT&T has apparently been planning for its own LTE network.

FierceWireless via BGR

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://schpydurx.livejournal.com ProfessorTom

    I've seen this movie before. This was the same line that Obama used to sell his healthcare plan. ("If you like your plan, you can keep it.") Of course, any changes to your current plan meant you now had a "new" plan.

    Verizon sure learned from the best of the hustlers!

    • no one

      Why oh why did some people fall off the assembly plant? I'm still waiting for the death panels to come knock off my grand mama.

      Last time she went for a checkup she made it out alive.

      • http://schpydurx.livejournal.com ProfessorTom

        If nothing changed, why did we need to implement the President's plan so quickly, or, as Pelosi was wont to say: "Pass the bill so we can find out what's in in"?

        • JoshL

          Hey Professor: go back to school and learn how to write.

    • Blair

      Shut up your stupid face! You sir are an idiot. Your mama is a hustler!

      • http://schpydurx.livejournal.com ProfessorTom

        Aren't you supposed to be open minded, kind and compassionate? Careful you don't start foaming at the mouth.

    • erick

      This has nothing to do with obama I don't care for him but dam he is the president get over it thank god im a independent not a right wing or left wing idiot

      • dave

        ...it's an analogy. You can't tell his political preference just by that.

      • JML

        Where did punctuation go? *sigh*
        Comment threads make me insane for this very reason; I cannot take anyone's opinions seriously when they can't even manage capitalization or a period every now and then.

      • Thenoise76

        Damn thats the problem today. 1 little comment about Obama n all of a sudden the guy is a right wing or left wing idiot, come on guy get a life!

  • mrw

    For all of you early adopters who just can't wait for 4G phones and service, welcome to the new world order. You didn't think that you were going to get 4G bandwidth and speeds for the same cost as 3G did you? For those of us who don't live in major cities it will likely be a long time before 4G is available. For the most part, we still feel fortunate to have 3G coverage. I just hope that we continue to have a choice and we aren't forced into more expensive 4G phones and data plans that provide us with little actual benefit.

  • RaptorOO7

    I will be glad to get my ThunderBolt, this week, no next week, wait is it this month.

    Hopefully in the next week so I can lock in my data pricing.

  • Mike

    Wonder if I buy a 4G phone off Ebay or someplace and connect it would it change my plan since I would not be renewing a contract?

    • David Ruddock

      And where would you get an LTE SIM? The risk there is that if Verizon does an IMEI query on your phone (it will, eventually), they'll see it's a 4G device and bump you to a 4G plan or terminate your contract.

      Kind of a play at your own risk deal, but you definitely wouldn't have access to 4G.

    • Jimmy Johns

      ya they would know. because verizon doesn't use SIM cards, you would have to transfer your service online by providing the phones serial number, which is linked to the phone, which is 4g. I wanted to do this to upgrade to a 3g android phone but it told me i would have to sign up for a larger data plan.

  • f3hunter

    Well, my 3G DroidX is really all I need for the moment. Calls/text/Emails + Attachments and occasional surfing is all I really use the phone for and the 3G is just fine. But one day I will want to upgrade my device, hopefully there will still be 3G phones for sell that are top tier. If not....ugh, might be stuck with Verizon's 4G crapola or maybe scoot over to T Mobil.

    • Joshua

      3G will probably be throttled in order to move people to 4G plans in the coming months. This will probably happen with all carriers, so going to T-Mobile won't help.

  • bob

    Actually, my AT&T store rep made sure that I kept my unlimited plan, for my 4g service, with 2 new inspires. One for the wife, then I upgraded mine a few days later.
    It's been a week now, and I still have an unlimited plan showing on my account, which I am watching very closely.

    I'm sure they will try something later on, but there is no need to diss AT&T yet.

    No I don't work for them.

    • krisguy

      I do work for them, but this comment is my own. If you have grandfathered unlimited smartphone data, you get to keep it as long as you have a smartphone IMEI. If your rep/agent doesn't know how to ensure that you keep it, ask them to get someone who know how to do it.

      • David Ruddock

        Interesting. Well, this will only apply to HSPA+ devices, then. Again, this sounds like an in-store offer only (aka getting you to buy the phone is the motivation here).

        I know for a fact you won't be able to grandfather in unlimited data to LTE. But, I'm not surprised to see AT&T offer the unlimited HSPA+ to keep customers, makes sense.

        I'd still like some documentation on this, though, because what I have read suggests AT&T's official "policy" on this is different - it sounds like what you're offering is a customer retention measure.

  • http://www.aaandroid.com/ Avi

    On what planet does T-Mobile have unlimited data? Here's what "unlimited" data looks like on T-Mobile. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f80qaFtcNU You basically get 5GB a month and then they completely and totally cut you off. Tiered data is a ridiculous fad. Remember when you paid for the Internet by the hour? It's absurd to allows people to download at 2MB per second for only 5000MB.

  • portnoyd

    As with f3hunter, my DX is all I need. If unlimited plans go away, I will stick with my DX for the very long haul. As is, my DX does everything I hoped a smartphone would. While Tegra II and 4G all sound pretty and nice, why go for those, possibly cost myself more money when the DX does everything I could want without them?

  • grat

    Whoa! Hold the phone there... AT&T is *not* eliminating the unlimited plan on 4G phones. It is true that you can't keep using your unlimited "3G" plan with a 4G phone, but there's an equivalent unlimited "4G" plan that can only be added to your account if you had the unlimited 3G plan.

    AT&T is guilty of many evils, but this isn't one of them. Some fact-checking might be in order (and that goes for the anti-health care people too, but this isn't the place).

  • David Ruddock

    That sounds like an in-store only deal. From everything I've heard, AT&T will force you into DataPro. I'll need documentation on this.

  • RD

    Got the Atrix and I was also able to keep my unlimited data.

  • Frank

    Question: If my DI breaks and I get another one, will I be forced into a new contract?

    • Jimmy Johns

      as long as you get the new one online (like ebay) then i wouldnt think so