Verizon has confirmed its decision to transition away from unlimited data plans in favor of tiered pricing. The move comes as no surprise considering how many rumors we've heard in the last year, but many of you will surely be irked nonetheless. The most convincing rumor emerged less than a month ago in late June and (accurately) predicted that the restructuring would occur on July 7.
Speaking with FierceWireless, the company said that it would introduce four different mobile data options: 75MB for $10 a month, 2GB for $30, 5GB for $50, and 10GB for $80. That's precisely what was reported in June, albeit with the addition of a 75MB package, which is limited to folks using feature phones and not smartphones. Users who exceed those caps will be billed at $10 per gigabyte.
It's worth noting that only new customers will be forced into the metered bandwidth. According to Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney, existing subscribers will be allowed to keep their unlimited data plan after July 7 (hopefully indefinitely). Also, there doesn't appear to be any separation between 3G and 4G devices, so you shouldn't be hit with extra fees to tap into Verizon's LTE network.
Verizon is also adjusting its tethering policy. New customers with a compatible smartphone will have to pay $20 per month to use the company's LTE mobile hotspot service, which will also boost their bandwidth cap by 2GB. Existing customers will be able to keep their unlimited data cap, but will have to cough up $30 a month to use LTE mobile hotspot -- a feature that has been free until now.
Verizon's shift to the dark side leaves Sprint as the only major US carrier with an unlimited data plan, though we wouldn't be surprised if that changed in the near future. T-Mobile offers unlimited consumption but throttles speeds after a certain point. AT&T made the jump last summer, offering 200MB for $15 per month, 2GB for $25, 4GB with tethering for $45, and $10 per gigabyte overages.