Verizon's Coming for My Unlimited Data

Remember this logo? It's from when they still had unlimited plans (From Wikipedia)
Remember this logo? It’s from when they still had unlimited plans (From Wikipedia)

Re-reporting a news originally from Droid Life, Ars Technica’s Jon Brodkin had this to say about Verizon’s new threats for its grandfathered unlimited data users:

Verizon Wireless customers who have held on to unlimited data plans and use significantly more than 100GB a month will be disconnected from the network on August 31 unless they agree to move to limited data packages that require payment of overage fees.

Verizon stopped offering unlimited data to new smartphone customers in 2011, but some customers have been able to hang on to the old plans instead of switching to ones with monthly data limits. Verizon has tried to convert the holdouts by raising the price $20 a month and occasionally throttling heavy users but stopped that practice after net neutrality rules took effect. Now Verizon is implementing a formal policy for disconnecting the heaviest users.

When Allison and I got our first iPhones in 2012, we chose Verizon because our current service (and our family’s services) were with Verizon already.

After about a year of tiered data plans, I did some research and found that Verizon still maintained a loophole called an Assumption of Liability, which more or less allowed me to get an older “grandfathered” unlimited plan.[1]

I’ve been using that plan for the past three years, and boy has it been a real godsend. Consider my most recent experience with said plan:

  • We recently moved into a new house
  • Because the house was in a new development, there was no prior internet service provider in place
  • I chose Comcast, because that’s the only real option in the area.[2]
  • We moved in on a Saturday, but Comcast couldn’t come out for at least a week
  • No internet for a week? Gasp!
  • No worries. I’ll just tether.
  • S’All Good, man, right?

Well, after a few days, this is how much data I had used:

Not quite 100GB, but close.
Not quite 100GB, but close.

That’s a lot of data. It’s not the “100GB” Verizon mentioned in its press release, but it’s getting there.

Both this month and the previous month (~50 GB) were obvious outliers: my average monthly data use is only[3] ~15 GB. At those amounts of data, I could probably join Allison on whatever their new shared plans are called, and actually end up saving a few bucks per month.

But if I were on Allison’s “shared data” plan these past two months, we would have paid close to $405[^4] in overages—about 4x the cost of Allison’s plan by herself.

Now that’s a lot of money.

Knowing that I have unlimited LTE for times like the past two months makes non-important the cost differential between the grandfathered plan and shared plan.

That said, the writing on the wall is clear: the unlimited data plan train is running out of steam, and sooner or later, it will stop altogether. I just hope that day is isn’t any time soon.

(Links to the Ars and Droid Life articles were from Gizmodo)

  1. “Nationwide Talk 450,” is what it’s called.

  2. Unless you count AT&T’s DSL, which is horrid.

  3. Everything is relative.