If you’re thinking about switching to Verizon in the near future, your timetable just got moved up. Sign up for a Verizon account today. Then reap the unlimited data benefits tomorrow, like when you get an iPhone 5. Yes, you’ll pay more up front for the phone in a few months since you’re blowing your subsidized load early, but if you stick to your contract and squeeze Verizon’s pipe for all it’s worth, it’ll pay off in the long run. (Though if you squeeze too hard, harder than the other 95 percent of Verizon’s customers, Verizon’ll squeeze right back.)
Verizon Wireless has confirmed that unlimited data plans for new smartphone customers will be withdrawn on July 7 and replaced with a tiered plan.
The other path to infinite bandwidth nirvana, if you’re not planning to jump to Verizon: Sprint. It’s the last big carrier offering truly unlimited data. AT&T killed unlimited data a year ago. T-Mobile’s metered too, though if you use more data than you’re supposed to, they just make your internet run slower. Potentially reeeeaaalllll slow. (And they’re probably gonna get eaten by AT&T anyway.)
Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney confirmed to FierceWireless that the unlimited plans were on the way out. The tiered monthly plans will be as follows:
$30 – 2 GB
$50 – 5 GB
$80 – 10 GB
On top of this there will be a $20 monthly charge for those wanting to tether devices to a smartphone, and an overage charge of $10 per GB. Feature phone users will be able to pay $10 for 75MB.
Note: 100MB equals about 10 minutes of standard definition YouTube video or 200 ‘typical’ web pages.
Existing customers, along with those who upgrade on or after July 7 will be able keep their unlimited smartphone data plan.
Sprint’s unlimited data plans are truly unlimited—there’s no throttling and no soft cap, and they apply to 4G WiMax. The only catch is that Sprint’s charging slightly more for all that data than it used to: $70 a month for unlimited data and messaging (plus 450 voice minutes) with any of the phones that you’d actually want, like a Nexus S 4G. Sprint won’t actually commit to saying they plan on carrying the flag for unlimited data forever, but given that it might be one of Sprint’s real points of differentiation against the oligmegalololopoly of AT&T-Mobile and Verizon, I suspect they’ll stick with it until it starts costing them too much money to keep going.