Mobile operator AT&T turned heads—and made a few people see red—when it announced it was eliminating unlimited data plans in favor of tiered data plans. Now, in a move pretty much everyone knew was coming, Verizon Wireless is signaling it’s getting ready to do the same: Verizon Wireless’s CFO John KIllian tells BusinessWeek the company will “need to change” its service plans to eliminate unlimited data service.
Mobile user’s rapidly increasing use of mobile data services is fueling the move—and that usage is only going to get worse as consumers enthusiastically embrace data-surfing smartphones and tap into mobile media applications—particularly video. Verizon Wireless’s move to drop unlimited data plans is also likely to happen this year, as the company works to roll out its own 4G data network based on LTE technology.
AT&T’s move to eliminate unlimited data plans actually went over with a large portion of its customer base, because the new tiered plans actually represented a cost savings for users who consumer 250 MB of mobile data or less per month. AT&T indicated that represented about two thirds of its smartphone users. Users who make heavy use of mobile data, however, users consuming more than 2 GB of data per month may wind up paying substantially more under AT&T’s new pricing system.