Verizon has tried a number of different tactics to kick off customers on unlimited data plans and push those customers onto shared data plans. According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Verizon has been the best at ridding themselves of customers with unlimited data plans.
According to the CIRP report, just 22% of Verizon users remain on grandfathered unlimited plans, compared to 44% for AT&T and 78% for both Sprint and T-Mobile (who both advertise unlimited as a differentiator). Verizon also leads at getting users to pay more: 51% of Verizon Wireless customers paying the company at least $100 per month, compared to 47% at Sprint, 46% at AT&T, and 33% at T-Mobile. - DSLReports
Verizon (like all other major wireless carriers) want customers on their metered data plans so that the carriers can raise data revenues.
Previously, if a customer wanted to keep their unlimited data plan, they had to pay full retail prices for phones or use an upgrade on a separate line and then transfer that new phone over to the unlimited line.
Now, as DroidForums.net notes, that last scenario is changing. On August 24, Verizon will begin to force customers who are upgrading a smartphone to keep data packages for the remainder of their contract.
Customer uses an upgrade on the feature phone line to buy a new smartphone at a discounted rate, even though they are locking that line in for another two years. Verizon makes them add a $30 2GB per month data plan to that line initially with the purchase of the smartphone. However, once that smartphone is moved over and activated on the unlimited data line, the $30 2GB data plan on the old feature phone line can be cancelled, taking that line’s monthly price back to $9.99. You could, in theory, also do this by adding a new line to buy a smartphone before transferring the phone over to your unlimited line and then canceling the data package on the new line. - Droid-Life
Therefore, when a customer is upgrading their feature phone line to a smartphone, they will be forced to keep at the least a minimum $30 2GB plan. This includes customers with a “legacy plan.”
Of course, Verizon has two options for those looking to
pay more every month avoid this situation:
- Switch to MORE Everything plans or;
- Purchase a non-contracted smartphone
(Updated to include DroidForums.net as the original source of the story)