…they saw a chance to make a lot of money.
Another big wireless company has nixed it’s cell phone unlimited data plan. Verizon wireless is changing it’s data plan from a byte buffet to a tiered approach to data use that will first warn customers of nearing data limits and then tacking on charges when they go over those limits.
For $30 a month you’ll get 2GB of data, $50 you get 5GB, and $80 you get 10GB. Rivals AT&T and T-Mobile of course did this same thing months ago with a very similar set of data packages. But why the change…why now? I don’t think any of the carriers anticipated the incredible popularity of smart phones, ipads and other data crunching devices that can eat up bandwidth. And let’s face it, once these carriers got their customers hooked on things like navigation and streaming capabilities, they saw a chance to make a lot of money.
As Verizon put the brakes on cell phone unlimited data, keep in mind if you bought your smartphone or device as well as your data package before the changes were made you will be grandfathered in so you won’t have to worry about this new pricing. However if you ever want to upgrade your phone (iphone 5 is right around the corner), you may be cornered into a new data package as well. As it stands, Sprint is the only major carrier to still offer unlimited data packages, but how long will that last?
Now the major carriers say the impact will be minimal…in fact some data packages may even save a customer money. The Nielsen Company says 96 percent of customers don’t even use 2GB of data a month, so axing cell phone unlimited data plans shouldn’t be a huge issue for most. But Nielsen says the average data use grew almost 90 percent from last year to this year, so who knows where we’ll be a couple years from now.
If you’re concerned about busting through those data limits and getting charged $10 per GB of data over your plan, there’s a neat app for that. Onavo compresses the data by other apps and also gives you reports on your data use. It’s free…try it out here.