A Verizon official announced the company will begin forcing users with grandfathered-in unlimited data plans to choose data share plans when they migrate to the company's 4G network.
With 3G no longer the fastest option, users are expected to migrate to Verizon's 4G LTE network, and as they do, they will be forced to give up their unlimited plans for Verizon's tiered data plans, Fran Shammo, chief financial officer for Verizon Communications, said Wednesday at the JPMorgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference.
"As you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto the data share plan," Shammo said, according to a transcript available online from Verizon. "And moving away from, if you will, the unlimited world and moving everybody into a tiered structure data share-type plan."
But the announcement has not been well-received by Verizon customers on Twitter, who have immediately begun expressing their disappointment.
At least one user tweeted Verizon would be losing his business and another user said, "Soo Verizon is going to punish us long time customers for upgrading to a 4G LTE device by taking away our unlimited data plans? : ( "
The announcement is the latest move by the communications industry to step away from unlimited data plans and shift to tiered data plans.
Verizon stopped selling unlimited data plans to new users last summer after AT&T stopped selling its unlimited plan in 2010. With T-Mobile's unlimited data plan that slows down users' data after 2GBs of usage, Sprint is the only company that still offers a true unlimited data plan.
Verizon's shared data plans, which the company has said will roll out around mid-summer, according to CNET, will allow Verizon customers to share data within family plans and over multiple devices.
"A lot of our 3G base is unlimited. As they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan," Shammo said. "And that is beneficial for us for many reasons, obviously."
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