Ina Fried

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Verizon Confirms No New Unlimited Data Plans as of Thursday

When we said that those seeking an unlimited data plan on Verizon had better hurry, we weren’t kidding.

The company confirmed that, starting Thursday, new customers will have to choose one of several usage-based data pricing plans.

The plans start at $10 for 75MB of data for feature phones, with smartphone plans ranging from $30 for 2GB all the way to an $80 plan that includes 10GB of data each month, far more than typically used these days by even heavy data users.

Those who have an unlimited plan today can keep it through their contract, and Verizon said that existing customers who are no longer under contract can still upgrade to a new smartphone, sign a new two-year agreement and keep their unlimited plan.

Though the all-you-can-eat approach is popular with customers, carriers have been itching to move away from unlimited plans in order to be able to handle an explosion in data use and because a small number of customers have been using an inordinate amount of data, streaming copious amounts of video and performing other data-intensive tasks.

“Unlimited billing on data is simply unsustainable for the industry,” Verizon VP Nicola Palmer said at a conference earlier this year.

The challenge for many consumers, though, is predicting and understanding their data use. Carriers have offered a number of tools, including calculators that predict data use based on planned tasks as well as alerts that let a customer know when he or she is approaching a data limit.

AT&T led the charge away from unlimited plans last year, while T-Mobile has taken a different approach, throttling down the data rate once users hit their limit, but not charging customers overage fees. Sprint, meanwhile, continues to offer a range of unlimited data plans with its phones.

The new pricing lines up with information that had leaked out last month and was confirmed earlier on Tuesday by online wireless industry publication FierceWireless.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus