Verizon Wireless Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo has confirmed what was already known, that Verizon
will be ending its smartphone unlimited data plans later this year, replacing them with tiered data plans, similar to those already on Android
tablets such as the Motorola Xoom. However, the company says it hopes the advent of "family data plans" will soften the blow.
There are family plans for minutes, meaning the old school talking on the cell phone, so a transition to family data plans makes sense, as Shammo admitted:
"We had individual minutes for individual users. Then we eventually got to what we call family share where everyone in the family shares the same minutes.
"I think it's safe to assume that at some point you are going to have mega-plans (for data) and people are going to share that mega-plan based on the number of devices within their family. That's just a logical progression."
The thing is, shared minutes don't require much monitoring because most carriers have Friends and Family or other sorts of programs that don't count against your minutes. There no way you can do that with data, so there might be a little jostling among the family as people suck up a joint data bucket.
Still, if the price were attractive enough, it might sell well. One thing about the offering though: it's probable that Verizon will grandfather in those who currently have unlimited data, meaning those who currently have it will be able to keep it, as long as they don't switch data plans (at least, that's the assumption and hope). It's obvious that switching to the family data plan would eliminate that aspect.