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Posted at 2:52 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Verizon will introduce tiered data plans this summer

By Hayley Tsukayama

In a speech to investors on Tuesday, Verizon chief financial officer Fran Shammo said that the company will introduce tiered data plans this summer.

Shammo, who was speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference in San Fransisco, said that the company has not yet finalized the models.

FierceWireless reported that Shammo said the company launched its current unlimited $30-per-month data plan to attract users to the Verizon iPhone.

"Everyone knows that isn't long-term," he said. "We will move to tiered pricing in the mid-summer time frame."

Shammo did not say how many iPhones Verizon had sold, though he did repeat that 60 percent of sales had been online, echoing comments made late last week by Verizon chief executive Dan Mead.

There are no concrete numbers about how many iPhones Verizon has sold. Analysts have used the 60 percent figure to guess at the final figure. Estimates have gone as high as 1 million units based on other estimates that Verizon sold 600,000 in online pre-order sales. Verizon has said it will release its numbers at the end of the quarter.

So, Verizon customers: Are you upset that unlimited data is on its way out? Or did you suspect this all along?

By Hayley Tsukayama  | March 1, 2011; 2:52 PM ET
Categories:  Apple, Gadgets, Mobile, Shopping  
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Yes, upset. We just switched back to Verizon in December with new Droids and got on the $30 unlimited plan. We use a LOT of data and I won't be amused with hitting a cap or paying more for data usage. Bait and switch much?

Posted by: tmiller2009 | March 1, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

so, the 2 year contract doesn't apply to the $30Unlimited Data Plan? If so, that's bait & switch, & "Yes" to your question!

Posted by: Hattrik | March 1, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm very disappointed in this move by Verizon, as I am an unlimited data user.

Posted by: wanton777 | March 1, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Honestly I thought I would be upset as well as I have just gotten the Iphone 4, however I have used it on my trips to and from work 1/2 hour and on my lunch 1 hour and whenever I basically drive anywhere. The benefit is that at least apple allows your WiFi network to supersede their 3g data plan. I have a personal WiFi network at home and so far have only logged 0.5gbs with 10 days left in my cycle. It is surprisingly hard to reach cap from what I have experienced. That’s not to say that other devices may in fact use more airtime then the Iphone.

Posted by: closetcanibal | March 1, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

appologies i forgot to specify that i use pandora

Posted by: closetcanibal | March 1, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

This is the most devious of business practices, whether you are allowed to grandfather or not. Even calling current Verizon services "unlimited" is such a farce. You invest in a phone, which isn't cheap, with the intent to actually use the technology..novel idea. Then, you get raked over the coals by the company that sold you the device under the guise of "unlimited usage".

I am an AT&T customer and was all ready to buy the Samsung Windows 7 phone but I didn't because of their RIDICULOUS data plan tiers, looks like Verizon is now off my list, although they were never really on it honestly. The AT&T salesman actually tried to tell me that 200 MB tier was "a lot" and that "You would have to really work hard to use that much data". Are they friggin' serious? Do they really think people are that stupid?

Bottom-line, I won't sign a contract with anyone who is lacking an unlimited (truly unlimited) plan and one allowing me to tether. And, I'd break my contract in a NY minute if I was lured this way.

As for the early termination fee...they can chase me around forever for that fee, I won't pay it when the contract was created with intent to hold a service over my head. There is strange satisfaction knowing that they have to pay more money just to try and collect this fee, especially with the knowledge that I'll never pay it.

Posted by: dsd1080 | March 1, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Honest question and it would be helpful if anyone could answer it - will my two year contract commitment now be void if forced to buy a tiered data plan? Wouldn't that be a breech of contract on verizon's behalf?

Posted by: nickprzy | March 1, 2011 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I wish they would provide a "zero" tier for data use. I already pay TOO MUCH for internet access now, I don't want to pay my cell company AND my cable company for the same or even lesser access.

Either a zero data or a zero xG choice would make me very happy.


Posted by: lsochia | March 1, 2011 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Dear Verizon:

If you choose to use tiered data plans you will lose a valuable customer of over five years and four phone lines. Amen.


Maxwell Lorow

P.S. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.

Posted by: maxwelllorow | March 1, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

As a Verizon customer the $30 data plan is very expensive, thats 30 buck just for that by the time you had the plan price, insurance & taxes thats $80 plus a month! I'm still waiting for data cheaper then $30! Or, just keep using my data free ENVY.

Posted by: bobby20 | March 1, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I wish they would provide a "zero" tier for data use. I already pay TOO MUCH for internet access now, I don't want to pay my cell company AND my cable company for the same or even lesser access.

Either a zero data or a zero xG choice would make me very happy.


AMEN! I totally agree...I cant afford to pay for interent @ home and on my cell. And, thats why I dont have a data plan thats $30 added to the plan, insurance & taxes...

Posted by: bobby20 | March 1, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

This prompts two questions in my mind:

(1) Do customers with the unlimited data plan get grandfathered in until their current contracts expire (or beyond)? That's been the way Verizon has handled voice contracts in the past--for example, the voice plan I had until last summer was one I had originally subscribed to in 2001. Verizon stopped offering that plan in 2003 or 2004, but I was able to keep it unless and until I changed to another plan.

(2) Does data you send and receive over Wi-Fi count towards your data plan, or do they only count cellular data? I keep the 3G connection turned off at home, and when I'm at the Verizon Center for Caps games I usually use one of the various free Wi-Fi networks. Those also happen to be two of the places where I use the data the most (obviously, I do not need cellular data when I'm driving, for example). I suppose the answer to this question may be in the small print somewhere and I could go ferret it out, but I figured someone here might know the answer.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 2, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Upset, perhaps a bit. But certainly suspected/expected it all along. I just see it as a cost of more capabilities.

Posted by: VBcoach | March 2, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"Can you hear me now? G--NOO???!!!"

Welcome to the world of the iPhone. I wonder if Verizon's soon-to-be-overloaded data network will draw users' ire as quickly as AT&T's did?

And you can bet the remaining few dollars in your bank account that all the major carriers are going to metered data, it's the only way they can balance usage against expansion of their networks without going broke.

Posted by: BoteMan | March 2, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Surprised? No. The days of "unlimited" data transfers are over. With the Obama adminstration pushing so-called net-neutrality, the only way to make more money to pay for enhancing the networks is to charge by the amount of data you use. This is not something anyone looks foward to, but it is fair. Those who are into video and being connected 24/7 are the ones who should pay for it. The rest of us doing some brief surfing and texting (and talking) should not be the ones shouldering the lion's burden of these costs.

Posted by: moonwatcher2001 | March 2, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

So, Rob, can you get an answer to the question of whether people already on the two-year plan will be grandfathered or not?

Posted by: tmiller2009 | March 2, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I found the answer to my second question. Wi-Fi data doesn't "count," for lack of a better term. This makes sense because you aren't using a cellular network to send and receive. Interesting thing is that the phone itself doesn't distinguish, but your Verizon Wireless online account information does, as it will show only cellular data. (For example, my phone shows 188 MB received since I got my phone on February 11, whereas my online account info shows less than a quarter of that amount and doesn't distinguish between sent and received.) Again, it makes sense that the account manager would show only cellular data.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 2, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

so the 2 yr contract we agreed upon when we signed up which included the $30 unlimited data plan is out the window but they can charge us over $300 if we want to terminate service early? absolutely bait and switch.

Posted by: gmedel | March 2, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"gmedel," the point of several of the user comments here is that we don't know the answer to that question--it's not clear whether the tiered contracts are only for new buyers (such that those of us who have the unlimited-data plans are grandfathered in for the life of our current contracts) or whether they plan to change existing contracts.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 2, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"1995hoo" so if it's not clear then why speculate? isn't that the point of discussion - speculating since you don't know? seems pretty clear from the article that they will change the structure of billing no matter what. grandfathering would help. so to answer the question as a Verizon customer if i'm upset that "unlimited data on its way out", the answer is yes b/c i just entered into a 2 yr contract with Verizon. it's like changing the rules in the middle of the game.

Posted by: gmedel | March 2, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"gmedel," I agree with you: I entered into a two-year contract last month providing for unlimited data and I'd be less than pleased if they were to try to change it prior to the expiry of the two years. I need to dig out the contract language to see whether it gives them the right to change the plan mid-stream; if it does, then there wouldn't be grounds to say they "breached" it (i.e., if you do something the contract gives you the right to do, then you haven't breached it).

Everything I've found online suggests they'll grandfather existing customers, though none of those reports are definitive because it appears Verizon hasn't said.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 2, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

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