Ina Fried

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Verizon Unlimited Users’ Plans Not Going Away, but Options Likely to Narrow

Verizon hasn’t offered unlimited data plans for a while now, but it has lots and lots of customers still on them.

So, naturally, there was much kerfuffle on Wednesday after reports that Verizon was planning to ax plans, even for those grandfathered in. The reports stemmed from comments made by Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo at an investor conference.

Thing is, he didn’t actually say that those on plans would lose them. However, he did suggest that those looking to upgrade to a 4G LTE smartphone would soon be unable to take their plan on to a new phone.

Until now, Verizon has been letting those with unlimited plans move to 4G and keep their plan. Shammo said that will come to an end once the company introduces shared data plans this summer.

“So when you think about our 3G base, a lot of our 3G base is unlimited,” Shammo said. “As they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan.”

But those who have unlimited plans and are okay with keeping their 3G phones are likely to be able to keep their plan. My understanding is that there are Verizon customers on 10-year-old rate plans and, so long as they are happy with their phone, no one will force them to change plans.

In a statement on Thursday, Verizon Wireless didn’t exactly clear things up entirely, but suggested that there will be fair warning before anything changes.

As we have stated publicly, Verizon Wireless has been re-evaluating its data pricing structure for some time, Customers have told us that they want to share data, similar to how they share minutes today. We are working on plans to provide customers with that option later this year.

We will share specific details of the plans and any related policy changes well in advance of their introduction, so customers will have time to evaluate their choices and make the best decisions for their wireless service. It is our goal and commitment to continue to provide customers with the same high value service they have come to expect from Verizon Wireless.

That said, if you have an unlimited plan and think you might want to move to 4G, it’s probably best to do so now.

Update: I got a few more details on how this will be rolled out. First of all, Verizon is saying definitively that customers that are on an unlimited plan and want to keep it with their existing phone can do so.

What will happen is that once shared data plans arrive, unlimited data customers won’t be able to upgrade to a new phone at a discount and keep their unlimited plan. Should they want to, customers could opt to pay the full unsubsidized price for a new phone (3G or 4G) and keep their unlimited data plan.


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