Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said at an investor conference earlier today that users on those wonderful old grandfathered unlimited data plans will soon have to give them up if they want to move into a 4G device.
“A lot of our 3G base is unlimited,” Shammo remarked. “As they start to migrate onto 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go onto the data share plan. That’s beneficial for us for many reasons.”
Though the move doesn’t come as a surprise — they’ve been running promotions to incentivize migration to their LTE network for a while now — but hearing their intentions actually spelled out like that probably won’t please many long-standing Verizon customers. The carrier is aiming to roll out their shared data plans “mid-summer,” though I expect more new details to trickle out soon.
But let’s back up a bit here — how will these things actually work? Though most of the details are still hush-hush, customers will be able to pay a set rate for tiered data plan that can be shared by all the devices on the account. Even though these new data plans are set to make their debut sooner rather than later, there’s still no information available on what they’ll actually cost. Verizon isn’t exactly known for being the most price-conscious wireless carrier (don’t get me started on the rise of $299 smartphones), but we’ll have to wait and see what they’ve come up with.
The concept of shared data plans would is wonderful for families and other multi-line accounts, but it doesn’t do any favors for the individual customers who don’t need more than one device. The status of existing customers who have had their unlimited data plans grandfathered over to their new 4G devices is also unclear — Shammo makes it sound like only customers who upgrade after the change takes place will have to pick a new data plan (for better or worse), and with any luck they’ll leave the lucky souls who have already locked their old data plans alone for now.