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Verizon notifies heaviest unlimited data users they need to switch plans or leave

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It used to be that smartphone mobile data was unlimited, but it wasn’t fast. Then it got fast and people started using a lot of it. Carriers felt the need to ease the strain on their networks, and they also wanted to make a little more money from heavy users. Carriers moved away from unlimited data, like Verizon did in 2011. For all these years, the carrier has allowed people to keep their grandfathered unlimited data plan, but now it’s looking to get the heaviest users off its network.

According to a notice from Verizon that was sent to unlimited customers, it’s putting a hard limit on data usage by unlimited customers. Anyone with average usage higher than 200GB per month will be forced to leave their unlimited plan behind and move to one of Verizon’s existing data tiers. Depending on usage, that could be way more expensive for customers who do not modify their behavior.

Verizon is one of the carriers employing overage charges to encourage customers to buy into a higher monthly plan than they probably need. The highest tier offered on Verizon is 100GB of shared data for $450 per month. That’s a stark difference compared with the $30 per month most grandfathered users are paying for unlimited. Amusingly, Verizon promotes its plans by saying, “Don’t get limited by an unlimited plan.”

2017-01-10 15_24_40-Verizon Plan _ Verizon Wireless

Extra data costs $15 per gigabyte after you hit your limit, whatever that may be. For the sake of argument, someone using 200GB in a month would pay around $1,950 per month. Yeah, these people will either change how they use their phones or switch carriers, which is probably what Verizon wants.

Anyone with an old unlimited plan on Verizon is off-contract—those would have expired years ago. So, why wait so long to do this if they could have moved everyone to more profitable plans in 2011? Some people moved over of their own free will to get deals on phones and other perks. Now, the population clinging to their unlimited plans is small enough that Verizon can afford to get tough with them.

Customers notified by Verizon of their high usage have until February 16th to move to one of the tiered plans or leave for another carrier. Both Sprint and T-Mobile offer unlimited plans… sort of. They both throttle video unless you pay more, and even then they make is a pain to deal with. There’s not really a good source for truly unlimited data right now.