Unlimited data options grow limited- MSN Money
The all-you-can-eat era of smartphone data plans is nearing the end.
Verizon said Wednesday that customers still on its $30-a-month unlimited plan -- which was already discontinued for new users -- may be forced to switch to new usage-based billing when they next renew their contract. "You will have to go onto the data share plan," CFO Fran Shammo told attendees at the J.P. Morgan Technology Media and Telecom conference.
The new pricing and other details have yet to be announced, although the plans will likely allow customers to share data allotments between multiple devices. A Verizon spokesman declined to provide further details.
AT&T and Verizon both eliminated unlimited plans for new customers last year. Existing customers have so far been allowed to keep the perk, even after their contracts expired. Experts say that's changing fast as carriers look to data plan revenue to build up their networks.
"I don't think there's any way at this point to keep any unlimited plan for very long," says technology consultant Alex Goldfayn, author of "Evangelist Marketing." Adds Todd Day, an industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan: "All of the carriers will go toward tiered data pricing."