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

May 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?