Verizon Revamps Pricing Structure, Kills Unlimited Data
It was only a matter of time, right? Verizon has officially confirmed it’s killing unlimited data plans effective July 7, 2011. So what is the mobile carrier offering its customers now? The VAR Guy has a few ideas on making the most of the bucket system …
Tip of the hat goes to Fierce Wireless for confirming with Verizon that the changes are indeed real and for obtaining the new tiered plan prices. Unfortunately, consumers don’t have that much to choose from. Per month, Verizon is now offering the following plans:
- $10 – 75MB
- $30 – 2GB
- $50 – 5GB
- $80 – 10GB
The VAR Guy was indeed bummed when AT&T killed its unlimited plan about a year ago, substituting a 2GB “Data Pro” package for $25 a month. The trade-off was the addition of a more affordable plan of $15 per month for 250MB of data. And to mitigate customer complains, AT&T offered a $10 per 1GB bucket plan for those who go over their 2GB limit, and a similar option for the 250MB plan.
Now, it’s also been confirmed that Verizon not only is killing its unlimited data, it’s also picking off its free LTE mobile hotspot feature. Owners of any of the fancy new Android phones such as the Thunderbolt will see an extra $30 a month on their bill for the unlimited hotspot feature after July 7. Those not grandfathered in for the unlimited hotspot use will have to cough up $20 a month for the feature, but they’ll get an extra 2GB added to whatever data plan they’ve already subscribed to (and they can use their extra data untethered).
Still, The VAR Guy can’t help but sigh. Where’s the competitiveness? Where’s the real price differential? Remember, these prices are on top of the cellular phone plan pricing, so where is there a real deal to be had?
Realistically, The VAR Guy believes the best plan for Verizon customers is to go with the $10/75MB plan, and add the tethering for an additional $20/2GB, giving users a grand total of 2,075MB to use up, tethered or not, for the same price they’d pay for the $30/2GB option without tethering. But outside of that data cocktail, every other option is actually a little more expensive than AT&T.
The VAR Guy, as you might imagine, is a heavy data user with his iPhone, but he’s yet to hit the 2GB mark inside a single month, so in some respects, The VAR Guy doesn’t mind not having an ‘unlimited’ plan. Still, our resident blogger loves his greenbacks, and wishes it was cheaper to have a 2GB plan. So why won’t these companies compete on making tethering free, or cheaper, or offer more data for less? Either company could easily win customers over with attractive pricing. Verizon could offer 2GB at $15 and totally undercut AT&T. But our resident blogger got to thinking: Perhaps Verizon has different plans for its mobile future …
Hmmm … for $100 a month, users can have 12GB of data to chew up, including tethering. AT&T currently offers no such thing to its customers. Verizon may be actively targeting people who want to eliminate their home Internet bill and use their 4G phone as their pipe to everything. Verizon makes money from both the data and cellular plans, and consumers may view the price tag as a wash after eliminating their home Internet bill.
Does The VAR Guy think it’s practical? Not yet, anyway. But while the offer stands, it’ll be interesting to see how many people take advantage of it. Infrastructure issues aside, mobile phones are effectively taking the place of land lines (our resident blogger knows quite a few folks who have disconnected their residential lines). It’s not inconceivable that down the road mobile Internet may eventually usurp landline Internet connections, too.