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Verizon Wireless is making a huge about-face in its data plans. The nation’s biggest wireless carrier has announced it will launch Verizon Unlimited, which will offer smartphone and tablets unlimited data for $80 per month. The plan will officially be available starting on Monday, February 13.

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This sea change comes after the company tried to push a 5GB monthly data promotion for $55 per month over the past few weeks, claiming that most people don’t really need “unlimited” plans. Sprint took advantage of that promotional blunder by offering its own unlimited plan for $50 per month for a limited time. Now it appears that Verizon is once again offering its own unlimited plan, although it does cost a bit more than Sprint’s promotion. In addition to the $80 per month for one line, customers with four lines on their account can also get unlimited data for $45 per line.

Verizon claims its unlimited plan will include support for streaming HD video. It also comes with unlimited Mobile Hotspot data as well, but only the first 10GB per month come at 4G LTE speeds; after that, you are cut down to 3G speeds. The plan will also include unlimited calls and texts to the US, Mexico and Canada, and 500MB a day of 4G LTE roaming in Mexico and Canada.

There are a couple of caveats. One is that the $80/month price is if you sign up for paper-free billing and AutoPay. The other is that if you go above 22GB of data in a month, Verizon says it “may prioritize usage behind other customers in the event of network congestion.” The company stated it will let unlimited customers add a “connected smart watch, GizmoPal, or other connected device for just $5 each month.”

Verizon is not ditching its other plans; it stated that it will “still have 5GB, S, M, and L Verizon plans that are perfect” for people who don’t want to spend quite as much money.

This news is certainly unexpected. Just a few months ago, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo announced that he knew what customers wanted better than they know themselves. “At the end of the day, people don’t need unlimited plans,” he said. Apparently they’ve changed their minds.

John Callaham
John was a newspaper reporter before becoming a technology and video/PC gaming writer in 2000. He lives in Greer, SC with his wife and five cats.