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Verizon to launch tiered data plans in July

If you’re thinking of switching to Verizon, now would be a good time to make the leap: Reports indicate that the wireless giant is set to do away with its $30-per-month unlimited data plans, instead opting for a tiered system. We heard about this all the way back in March, but now the news has received backup support from Verizon itself.

“We will move to a more usage based model in July,” wrote Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney in an email to AllThingsD. “We’ll share more later.”

Raney’s statement confirms an earlier report from Droid Life, which said that Verizon would make the switch to tiered data plans on July 7. Verizon employees have allegedly been training on the new pricing plan for the past “couple of weeks,” which Droid Life says clued them into impending changes to the wireless packages.

Droid Life‘s sources gives them the following price breakdown for the “usage based model” Verizon is set to adopt: 2GB for $30 per month, 5GB for $50, 10GB for $80. In each case, adding the tethering option will cost users an additional $20 per month. Exceed your limit, and Verizon will charge $10 per 1GB of data.

These prices are said to be for both 3G and 4G connections. Anyone who has already locked in an unlimited data plan on their contract will not be affected by the change, as it will only apply to incoming customers. It’s even possible that current Verizon customers can upgrade to a 3G or 4G device after July 7 and still receive the unlimited plan, though that point remains unconfirmed.

Based on the pricing/data packages detailed above, Verizon’s offering is both a little better and a little worse, compared to AT&T’s data plans, depending on which level you opt into. AT&T offers 200MB for $15 per month, 2GB for $25 and 4GB for $45. So the cheapest option on Verizon is twice as expensive as AT&T’s cheapest option (but is only 1/10 as much data), and $5 more expensive than the same 2GB plan AT&T  offers. If these are the actual prices — a fact not yet confirmed by Verizon — then they will likely justify it by boasting their 4G LTE connectivity.

Since Verizon’s lowest-use option will purportedly cost as much as its currently unlimited plan, there’s no way to look at this as anything but a bad deal. (The wireless industry will say that unlimited plans are financially unsustainable option.) With both Verizon and AT&T on board, however, there will be very few places for a wireless customer to go.