Verizon launched their “Network Optimization” policy back in the Fall of 2011, which at the time meant the company could throttle 3G data speeds for their heaviest users in congested service areas. Unfortunately Verizon is now updating that policy to include wireless users on their 4G LTE network with unlimited data plans. Just how long Verizon will throttle affected users depends on a long list of criteria, in their words, “The customer may continue to be impacted for the rest of the current billing cycle and through the next billing cycle, but only while on a cell site that is experiencing high demand.”
The word “unlimited” is pretty good for marketing purposes— the world definitely has a certain buzz to it, and sounds almost as if you’re getting some kind of good deal (as if those even existed anymore).
US Cellular is now offering a new “No Contract Unlimited Data, Talk & Text” for $50. It’s the same price as the company’s 1GB plan, but there’s a catch. With the new “unlimited” plan, after you go over a cap of 500MB of data, your data speeds will be shot down all the way to 1X (2G) speeds. Ouch.
Hit the break for the fine print.
Over the weekend, a loophole was found on Verizon’s website that allowed customers to upgrade to a new phone and keep their coveted unlimited data plans. If you were among the people to take advantage of Big Red’s folly, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Verizon reached out to Droid-Life, who first reported the news, and said that they would not revert any transactions and would honor those who picked up a new device while keeping their unlimited data plan. Here is the full statement that Verizon provided:
If you are a Verizon customer hoping to upgrade your phone, but hesitant about losing your unlimited data plan, you may want to give some serious consideration to going ahead and pulling the trigger. Like right after you finish reading this article. Inexplicably, the Verizon web site is currently letting customers place orders for upgraded devices, even pre-ordering devices, without requiring users with unlimited data plans to switch over to one of the tiered plans. Several Verizon customers have reported success in placing an order or pre-order for a new device without any apparent impact on their unlimited data plan.
In a move similar to T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular announced today that they will offer a truly unlimited data plan. We’re not just talking any old data either. We’re talking unlimited LTE data, and for a wallet-friendly $40 a month. What’s more, you can even add a tethering plan for only $20 a month. Given those prices and speeds, you could essentially have a home phone using your mobile device, a mobile device obviously for your cell phone, and home internet using the tethering option all for $60 a month.
U.S. Cellular says that this deal is for a limited time, for the ‘holiday season’, and to sweeten the pot they’re offering up $100 discounts on some of their more popular LTE devices including the Galaxy S III. Like other carriers, U.S. Cellular’s LTE coverage is a bit spotty, but they claim that 58% of its customers will be covered by LTE by year’s end. They’re obviously aiming to grow their base in this move while also looking to retain more customers. What are your thoughts? Will this sway you to jump ship from your carrier, or convince you to stay if you’re currently with U.S. Cellular? Let us know. Hit the break for the full presser. » Read the rest
During a Goldman Sachs investor conference today, Verizon’s chief financial officer Fran Shammo shared some information about Verizon’s “Share Everything” plans and their impact on unlimited data plans. Shammo indicated Verizon was seeing many more people switching to “Share Everything” plans than had been originally projected. Verizon is also seeing customers buying more devices to tie to these “Share Everything” plans, a result the plans were intended to produce. What may be surprising to some is that many of the customers switching to “Share Everything” are coming off of unlimited data plans. » Read the rest
While you see a wireless carrier or two continue their commitment to offering shared data plans while wiping out those coveted unlimited data plans, it turns out consumers should be just fine with shared data plans. According to a study done by NPD Group, information collected from 1,000 Android smartphone users through an app that tracks data usage shows the vast majority of customers on a Big 4 network (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile) generally use less than 2GB of data per month. In another not-so-surprising fact, NPD also revealed that users with unlimited data plans didn’t even take advantage of being able to use unlimited data because those same users utilize WiFi networks more often than not.
In addition, not all customers of wireless carriers are the same. According to the findings, T-Mobile has the most data-hungry customers as 11% of customers use more than 3GB per month compared to 4% on AT&T/Sprint and 3% on Verizon. The reasoning? Analyst Eddie Hold believes: “T-Mobile consumers tend to be younger. Younger demographics are the ones we find hit the network harder by doing a little video and music streaming”.
All in all, the article sounds about right and confirms both Verizon’s and AT&T’s reasoning for introducing the tiered data plans. How about you all? Do you agree with the study or not? We’d certainly love to hear your thoughts of your usage or of the findings from the recent study.
You remember how we told you T-Mobile has secret plans of an unlimited 4G data plan in the works? Well T-Mobile couldn’t contain itself any more and spilled the beans on its truly Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data Plan. The real caveat is starting September 5th, T-Mobile customers will have the option of signing up for unlimited with no data, no caps and no throttling with T-Mobile’s blazing fast 4G HSPA+ network.
The price isn’t too shabby either as the data plan will cost $20 per month when added to a Value voice and text plan or $30 per month when added to a Classic voice and text plan. If you’re confused between the plans, here’s a quick rundown of the difference: a single line Value plan with unlimited talk and text combined with unlimited nationwide 4G data will cost $69.99. Conversely, a single line Classic plan with unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited nationwide 4G data will cost $89.99. So all in all, this means you won’t need to worry about streaming all those Arrested Development episodes or music on Spotify.
The new data plan should definitely excite more than a few customers. Once you get past the initial rush and excitement of T-Mobile’s announcement, hit the break to see the details of the new plan.
Everyone is wondering when Sprint is going to drop their unlimited data plans, but don’t look for any changes now. Sprint Chief Technology Officer Stephen Bye says there are no plans to change anything.
“There’s clearly a cost to support unlimited,” Bye said, but added that not every unlimited subscriber is a high data user and billing is simpler and more efficient without tiers.
In other positive news, Sprint plans on launching its LTE network in early 2012. They are already installing LTE equipment and field testing in select areas. They hope to launch commercial service by the end of the 1st quarter, but hopeful the target could move up.
This project is expected to cost $4 billion to $5 billion over the next three to five years, but over a seven-year period they will save between $10 billion and $11 billion.
If Sprint can keep unlimited going along with LTE, things could get very interesting.
We reported on Tuesday that Verizon would be eliminating the unlimited data plan in favor of tiered pricing. You will see from the above image the pricing is now confirmed:
- $30 for 2GB, $10 extra for every 1GB
- $50 for 5GB, $10 extra for every 1GB
- $80 for 10GB, $10 extra for every 1GB
- Hotspot add on will be $20 for 2GB.
Pricing is for both 3G and 4G.