Verizon Reportedly Considering AT&T-Like Tiered Data Plans

Oh, no. There are great trends, and then there are awful trends. And this one looks like it may be falling into that second category. AT&T shook the mobile broadband universe when they decided to do away with their "unlimited" (which was really a 5GB limit) data plan on all smartphones in order to present customers with two initially cheaper options. But these cheaper options include far less data, and unless you are grandfathered into the old plan, you can no longer purchase an AT&T phone with one of those old "unlimited" plans.

But you're aware of all that. The issue is that Verizon Wireless, America's largest mobile operator, may be following suit. VZW is home to the DROID, DROID Eris, DROID Incredible and a bunch of other phones that have the potential to consume loads of data. AT&T has a few BlackBerry hands and the iPhone, but with VZW expected to get the DROID 2 and/or DROID X soon, Verizon may soon have a data problem on their hands as well.

According to John Killian, chief financial officer of Verizon Communications: "We will probably need to change the design of our pricing where it will not be totally unlimited, flat rate." He says that based on assumptions that there will soon be "explosions in data traffic" over mobile networks, and if he think it's bad now, just wait until Verizon adopts LTE and allows users to head to 4G. Craig Moffett, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York, seemed to understand the concerns: "The more bandwidth that you make available, the faster it will be consumed. From Verizon’s perspective, the last thing you want is for another generation of consumers to be conditioned to the idea that data is always going to be uncapped."

Of course, Verizon has yet to confirm that they're really working on tiered data plan options, but to assume that they aren't at least thinking of it would be a bit naive. Better lock down those contracts soon, right?