If you’re one of the lucky few Verizon customers holding on to grandfathered unlimited data, listen up: you could soon be booted from your plan.
Droid Life reports that the carrier is set to remove a number of users from older unlimited plans, thanks to what Verizon calls ‘extraordinary’ data use. Basically, if you’re regularly using 200GB or more of fast data per billing cycle, you may lose your unlimited privileges next month.
Verizon first announced plans to crack down on greedier unlimited users in July of last year, with a first round of data-lovin’ customers shown the door in August. Affected subscribers were given the option of moving to a specially-designed tiered plan within a one-month timeframe, or ending their Verizon agreement completely.
At the time, the ‘extraordinary’ qualifier wasn’t explained by Verizon. Now, the carrier has informed employees and customers that 200GB is the magic number, and compared to other provider limits, it’s actually quite generous.
Offending unlimited customers who have exceeded data limits will soon receive notice that they’ll need to move to a new Verizon Plan by February 16, or face disconnection. While Verizon’s current postpaid plans don’t offer unlimited 4G LTE data, there is a 'safety mode' feature that avoids overages by providing unlimited data at 128Kps.
Safety Mode is free on XL and higher plans, while customers on the S, M and L options can add it to their account for $5 per month. If you'd rather more 4G LTE data, options are available up to 100GB per month – although at $450 for a single line, this plan isn't for the budget-conscious.
What about other carriers?
Sprint and T-Mobile both slow down the top 3-5% of unlimited data users temporarily, usually in times of heavy network congestion. To fall into the top tier of heavy data users, you’ll need to average 23GB or more of data use in a month.
Of course, the key difference is that while T-Mobile and Sprint will only throttle guilty customers for short periods, these users are still free to keep their unlimited plans – and usage rankings reset after each billing cycle, so subscribers aren't permanently punished for a single month of excess use.
Switching to either of these carriers is certainly cheaper for heavy data users who want more value for money than Verizon’s postpaid plans provide. Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom plans start at $60 per month, while T-Mobile’s One plan begins at $70.
AT&T also offers unlimited fast data, but only to customers who also have a DirecTV or U-Verse TV subscription. This plan is priced at $100 per month for a single line, but again, if you use more than 22GB of data in a month, you may be temporarily throttled during peak traffic times.
If you're looking for unlimited high-speed data, we've complied an easy guide to the best options here.