Another unlimited data plan bites the dust

Faith Merino · July 6, 2011 · Short URL:

Verizon joins AT&T and T-Mobile in scrapping unlimited data plan

Verizon is bidding adieu to its unlimited data plan—a tragedy, but an inevitability. Verizon confirmed the news with Fierce Wireless on Monday and shared the new outrageous pricing system it’s instituting in place of the unlimited data plan. And Verizon added oh-so-casually that the new system takes effect July 7.

So what kind of pricing plans can faithful Verizon customers expect? While the unlimited data plan was previously available for $30, customers can now expect to pay $30 for 2 GB of data, $50 for 5 GB of data, or $80 for 10 GB of data. By comparison, AT&T charges $15 for 200 MB per month and $25 for 2 GB (cheaper prices for crappier phone service. You get what you pay for).

Verizon is the most recent Tier 1 carrier to ditch the unprofitable unlimited data plan. AT&T was the first to do so last year, followed by T-Mobile. Today, Sprint Nextel is the only remaining Tier 1 carrier to offer an unlimited data plan, but how much longer can it hold out? Data usage is climbing at an astounding rate, according to a June 2011 Nielsen study. The average smartphone owner today consumes 89% more data per month than he or she did a year ago—from 230 MB in Q1 2010 to 435 MB in Q1 2011. The rate of growth is even higher among the top 10% of smartphone owners—those who were already consuming lots of data (and would probably benefit the most from an unlimited plan). Among those consumers, data consumption went up 109%. And among the top 1% of smartphone owners, data consumption went up a shocking 155% each month.

So given those numbers, the scrapped unlimited plan shouldn’t upset too many people. AT&T claims that some 98% of its customers use less than 2 GB a month, and 65% use less than 200 MB a month. But for those Verizon customers who use more: time to pay up. The good news is that those customers who are already on the unlimited plan will be able to stay on it (indefinitely? No word). But as of this Thursday, new customers will have the new pricing options from which to choose. 

Image source: skepticys

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