Verizon Wireless to adopt tiered data plans

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Hot on the heels of revealing Verizon Wireless isn’t going to be getting the Apple iPhone anytime soon, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg has revealed Verizon Wireless plans to convert mobile users to tiered data plans, bringing and end to the all-you-can-eat data services currently enjoyed by many customers. As reported in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, Verizon Wireless plans to introduce tiered data plans in the next four to six months; however, the company has not yet decided on pricing or tier structures.

The move would follow AT&T, which dropped unlimited data plans in favor of tiered offerings back in June 2010. At the time, AT&T claimed nearly two-thirds of its smartphone users fell into the lower-valued tier of their new plans—which offers 200 MB of data a month for $15—meaning they actually paid less than they did under unlimited offerings.

Verizon Wireless hasn’t detailed how if plans to offer tiered data packages, with Verizon CEO Seidenberg saying only that they weren’t sure they agreed with how AT&T “valued” data.

Verizon Wireless currently charges uses $29.99 per month for unlimited mobile data service.

Mobile operators have long complained that a minority of mobile broadband users consume the majority of bandwidth on mobile networks, contributing to traffic congestion and service problems for other users. Mobile operators have opined that heavy mobile data users should pay for the privilege, and that perhaps may aid in reducing network congestion and improving network performance for everyday smartphone users.

Verizon Wireless is preparing to launch LTE-based 4G service later this year to compete with WiMax offerings from Clear and Sprint; some industry watchers expect the company to introduce tiered data service pricing at the same time it launches 4G services.