Verizon backtracks, will only kill grandfathered unlimited plans for subsidized devices

by: Bogdan PetrovanMay 18, 2012

verizon smartphones 2012

Yesterday, we reported that the nation’s largest carrier has decided to “discontinue” its grandfathered unlimited data plans and ask customers to move to tiered data plans. The move, which would align Verizon with its largest competitor, AT&T, is supposed to happen this summer. At least that’s what much of the blogosphere made out of the statements that Verizon’s Fran Shammo made during an earnings call.

As it turns out, the reports of the death of Verizon’s unlimited plans have been exaggerated. In a press statement, Verizon said that it would only force customers to move to a tiered plan if they want a subsidized device. In other words, the “grandfathered” plan won’t be available as an option when purchasing a subsidized device.

This means that customers will not be moved automatically to new plans, as some have believed. If you have an unlimited data plan and you are willing to pay the full retail price for a device, you can continue to use your grandfathered plan, indefinitely.

That’s relatively good news, or at least better news that what we initially understood from Verizon’s statements. Of course, if you depend on subsidies to get a decent smartphone, you’ll have no choice but to move to a tiered plan. But if you can come up with the extra cash to buy a phone without a discount, you can happily burn your way through the gigabytes without fear of bill shock. That’s an especially attractive option when you consider that you can get unlocked devices for affordable prices these days.

It seems the Big Red is not ready to face the ire of its longtime users, so instead of killing the grandfathered plans with one fell swoop, it will force them into a prolonged agony. We must specify that this new policy will kick into action this summer, when Verizon will launch the new shared data plans, which will allow customers to have multiple devices on a single plan. Until then, there’s still some time to upgrade (and get a subsidized device) without losing your grandfathered plan.

What do you think about this new development, Verizon users?

  • Utvballman

    I wonder if Verizon will “delay” the availability of top tier smartphones until their data tiered plan goes into effect. That would force more users who can not afford full price phones to make the switch since as stated, a lot of customers rely on the subsidies. I have the original Droid with unlimited data and am waiting to see what Verizon is coming out with this summer. Was hoping for Galaxy Journal (Note) or Asus Padfone.

  • Robhimself79

    Hopefully this is why Google is rolling out that hand full of devices directly from them. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t buy subsidised phones either, they might as well say most of their customers will lose their unlimited plan.

  • Jaysann22

    When I go to upgrade this summer I will demand my plan remain unlimited and if they refuse, I will immediately go across the street to Sprint and most likely get a superior device with a cheaper unlimited plan anyway… :)

    • get real

      of course they’re going to refuse. why don’t you just start at the Sprint store and save yourself and some unfortunate verizon employees the trouble.

  • Km

    “That’s an especially attractive option when you consider that you can get an unlocked Galaxy Nexus from the Google Play Store for just $400.”

    Not very relevant since the $400 Google Play model is GSM and won’t work on Verizon.

    • Jaysann22

      I’m sure Sprint has the biggest sh!t eating grin on its face right now. lol

  • Ted Calouri

    If paying full price for a phone, why in the heck would I buy a CDMA phone?

  • Martyandleigh

    What pisses me off the most, is the fact that this is all so Big Red can earn more money. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Liberal ash hole who thinks someone can make too much money. It just irritates me that they can not leave good enough alone. I have been with them for many years and this is the thanks I get.

  • Enlightened

    Verizon is stupid. I have a data only phone that I use to make and receive calls and texting all for free. And since I’m normally near a wifi hotspot no data usage so $30 month fully functioning unlimited virtually everything phone. Once the masses are enlightened they will truly be in trouble.

    • Enlightened

      Oh and yes Verizon is my carrier. And I’m on a galaxy nexus.

    • Ted

      Ummm… where are you getting phone and unlimited texting for $30/mo? Let alone be on wifi wherever you go! Now if these large cell companies also offered wifi off buildings/towers it may help the cellular bandwidth a little. I myself see these companies doing nothing but trying to find a higher revenue stream (this coming from a 1.5 gb/mo user with unlimited plan)

  • SDSU Nick

    So if I got iPhone 4, that has a 3G, and got unlimited data and I want to buy the rumored iPhone 5 with LTE, I just have to buy it full price to keep my unlimited?

    • Yep

      Yep, thats how I read it

  • Douglas Hovey

    If 4G becomes available and I can get a strong enough down speed, then I will dump my cable internet and just use my phone at home with Fox Fi. Saving the $40/month that way will pay for the full price phone in 7-10 months, right? As long as I can keep the unlimited, I think this is fine.

  • Where I live, I’m pretty much stuck with Verizon, unless I go to Wal-Mart and get a Smart Talk phone. (yuck)