It simply had to happen sooner or later. Usually, when it comes to U.S.
carriers, they each follow one another. If one does one thing, the other
follows suit. Generally, these are minor things. Unlimited calling plan
introductions, unlimited texting, etc. But tiered data pricing is a
fundamental shift in how mobile data is distributed, and AT&T
started that shift when it switched over from a simple $30/month
unlimited mobile data plan for smartphones to a tiered plan that
introduced new limits and new (albeit cheaper) overage plans.
Analysts were quick to point out that the rest of the U.S. phone
industry would probably follow them down that same path, regardless of
whether consumers were willing and eager to accept it. There had
previously been rumors flaring that Verizon
Wireless, which is America's
largest carrier in terms of subscribers, would soon be pushing tiered
data live, making them the second in the U.S. to do so.
Now, Verizon Communications' chief said "he expects to soon start
charging wireless customers based on their Internet data usage and
introduce new plans with limits." That's according to a new Wall Street
Journal report on the matter, where Ivan Seidenberg confirmed that the
wireless carrier's new data plans could be phased in over the next four
to six months. Though, don't expect them to be identical to the newer
AT&T data plans; he confirmed that they would differ in some ways,
but didn't provide details.
Basically, this is a heads-up for everyone considering a smartphone
VZW. If you want one of their phones, and you want their service, and
you want unlimited smartphone data for $30/month, you better buy in now.
Users who already have the plan are likely to be grandfathered in, but
after the tiered plans are introduced, you can probably kiss the old
ones goodbye forever.