For six or seven years now, my family and I have had multiple smartphones with unlimited data plans. We originally switched to smartphones during the days of Alltel and were unexpectedly and reluctantly scooped up by Verizon Wireless in the beginning of 2009. Fast forward three years and those luxurious unlimited data plans are at serious risk.

Yesterday, FierceWireless reported that during the 40th J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said that Verizon plans to launch family shared data plans sometime this summer, which is nothing particularly new or exciting. Verizon has been relatively open about the future of data plans and some of the things they have in the pipeline – drip-casting, for instance – for months now.

However, Shammo also brought a bit of bad news for any Verizon customers still residing on 3G unlimited data plans. Once Big Red's family shared plans launch, those with grandfathered unlimited data plans will lose unlimited and be phased into shared plans. "Everyone will be on data share," Shammo said.

Just last week, I wrote a piece titled Will you trade unlimited for shared family data?, yet now we know that this will not even be an option. Data share plans will be forced on families and businesses because, as Shammo says on behalf of Verizon, "That is beneficial to us."

Yesterday afternoon, I texted my mom to tell her that we would lose unlimited data come summer. Irate and immediately assuming I had done something to the account, she called me. After explaining to her that I didn't change anything and that I hadn't subscribed to Dream Audio Misty Alerts via SMS (apparently my family got hit pretty hard with SMS spam last month), she said, "I'll leave. I'll go somewhere else."

Judging by my mother, some of my friends and the comment section on Alex's article yesterday, that's the initial reaction a lot of customers will have. But once they learn data offerings are hardly any better on other networks, they will likely stay where they are. That, or Sprint will have a sudden influx of new subscribers, and they, too, will be caught between a rock and a hard place. (Despite Sprint's optimistic outlook on unlimited data, I honestly don't think it will last very long.)

To be honest, I knew this day would eventually come. I just had no idea it would be this soon. When I purchased the HTC ThunderBolt just over a year ago, a Verizon rep and I talked about data plans. He told me that by the time I upgraded again, I would lose my unlimited plan, that Verizon already had an expiration date on grandfathered unlimited data. I doubted him (as I normally do with carrier reps). But I have kept the thought that he may be right in the back of my mind ever since.

Now I'm unsure what I will do. Immediately after reading the story yesterday, I started scheming. I will buy a 4G phone no-contract now and switch to a 4G LTE unlimited data plan before Verizon starts killing that option off. Then, once the phone I really want comes out, I will buy it off-contract and have the phone I want with the unlimited plan I don't want to lose. I'm not even sure that will work. Chances are, Verizon will have planned for people like me who try and beat the system and will kill my dreams of being a rogue, no-contract subscriber with unlimited data before I even get the chance. In the end, it would probably be more trouble than it's worth and I would end up paying more, which would ultimately defeat the purpose. (One can dream, though. Right?)

Truth be told, I will probably do exactly what most will do: sign off on a new phone, pay an upgrade fee and succumb to family shared data.

The better question, though, is what my family will want to do. Of the four of us, my sister and I use the most data, while both my mother and grandmother combined have only used about 70MB nearly halfway through this month's billing cycle. I've been known to use anywhere from 1GB to 6GB in a single month and I can't imagine my sister ever passes 1GB. All I can do now is hope that family shared plans come in a respectable size (read: larger than 5GB or 10GB) and at a decent price.

I'm not going to hold my breath, though.

And either way, whether it's cheaper, more data than we could ever imagine using or a rip-off, my mother will be up in arms over it. And I already am. Why did Verizon even allow grandfathered plans if they were only going to last a year and throttle them anyway? Now Big Red is going to have to deal with an angry mob of nearly 100 million subscribers that will soon have to switch to a data plan they don't want.

Something has to give already.

How do you feel about knowing you will soon lose your unlimited grandfathered plan, readers? Will you postpone upgrading for as long as possible? Will you switch carriers? Or do you think you might have a workaround that can keep you on unlimited data for longer?

Don't forget to VOTE! Each week, PhoneDog Fans vote for their #1 smartphone in the Official Smartphone Rankings. Vote now and contribute to the industry's most relevant weekly ranking charts

Related posts

Comments & discussions  

83 Reactions to this post

"Is monthly unlimited data a must for you?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
Thanks for your participation! :)

Shawn Leonard
Shawn Leonard Never move to Canada 3 year contracts and 1GB if your lucky. :(
Jesse Paz
Jesse Paz If I lose my unlimited data then I have no use for my galaxy nexus!!!
Christian Crawford
Christian Crawford If i could i would do the HTC One! Looks like a really cool phone from what I have seen on pictures and features!!!
Steven Pereira
Steven Pereira I get 5 gig monthly with ATT&T...and it's more than enough...what would I do with unlimited? Sleep while watching youtube?
Marcus Wiggins
Marcus Wiggins nope
Dominic Chapala
Dominic Chapala AT&T recently throttled my data plan. I currently used 5 Gbs I have unlimited on the iPhone and my internet isn't slow it's just videos won't download as quick as they used to. I love the unlimited plan and I hope they don't get rid of it.
L.j. Costanzo
L.j. Costanzo While I don't sit on my phone all day on the YouTube and such it is my main internet source. I use it sometimes for some work stuff, and make a lot of my contacts with people via text. If my data gets limited, and I can't put my smartphone through the paces without paying extra, then its not worth it, and I guess simple phone service, and old styled flip phones will come back to the main stream
Jay Dub
Jay Dub Another thing, this is the only country that charges for tethering. Now I know I can root my phone and go about it that way but why should I have to do that. My friends in other countries get this service for free but here in the states we pay for it. Time for me to take my own little stand and do away with all of it!
Jay Dub
Jay Dub I will be switching to a regular phone with no contracts. Inbetween my tablet and home internet I will do away with my smartphone. Why pay for all that when almost every place I go has free Wifi that a tablet like the Asus Transformer can connect to. Thanks Verizon I will put that $100 dollar in the bank instead of your coffers!
Chrissie Callis
Chrissie Callis I need my unlimited, for someone without a computer unlimited is something i definitely need
Tyler Shoulders
Tyler Shoulders I use 12+ GB every month so id probably drop verizon if they decided to take away the grandfather plan.
Jeremy Stewart
Jeremy Stewart Ok so those of us with a 3G phone need to be giving the option to upgrade to a 4g lte device at new contract cost instead of full price..... But I'm willing to bet big red won't go that route
Brain Roopull
Brain Roopull I've been with Boost since November '11. Running Waze and Trapster at the same time while streaming Netflix over their "slow" 3G service with very few "buffering" pauses over a 14 hour ride across I20 for $50/month unlimited everything. It's Sprint's network, so it's pretty stout. I doubt I'll ever go back to "post paid" like Sprint, Verizon, ATT or TMO. Do the simple math on how much you'll spend on that "free" phone on contract over two years vs. a $250 phone contract-free. At ATT, you'll pay almost two grand MORE for that stupid phone!
Kong Yang
Kong Yang I'll upgrade right before the stupid thing kicks into effect and wait it out as long as I can hoping that buying phones off contract will be a loop hole. After/if they switch me to tiered data, I'm dropping greedy ass verizon ASAP.
Ben Rivas
Ben Rivas Yes Specially when you're have family plan.
James Patterson
James Patterson Not to mention the fact that literally every media service out there, video or not, is increasing the quality of their content substantially every few months. Data, on the other hand, is getting crippled every few months. Eventually, we'll meet as a critical point where everything requires huge amounts of data, and we have none allotted.
Cordell Roberson
Cordell Roberson When I was in LA recently I used 4GB(YES GB I checked the math twice) worth of Wimax in 72 hours. So ya I need unlimited. I wasn't even trying.
Dillon Hanson
Dillon Hanson @Jesse I'm also a Sprint customer, and have easily surpassed 3gb just using netflix here and there. It is immensely data intensive.
James Patterson
James Patterson When this changes, I will be using it as a opening to take my 4 unlimited accounts elsewhere. I have paid Verizon THOUSANDS of dollars over the course of my service. Technology progresses and things get cheaper - someone needs to instruct the carriers of this.
Jesse Bryant
Jesse Bryant I know this doesn't really apply to me since I'm a Sprint customer but how do people use almost 12 GB's a month. I'm on my phone constantly using the web and streaming videos and I've never reached 3.
Han Lee
Han Lee Oh man thats something i dont even want to imagine....
Jim Walker
Jim Walker @Zack A smart phone is still a phone. Don't spew that "I'm more tech savy than you" bull****. Can't help it if you all bought into all the "my phone can do it all mentality, and I want all the data to it for next to nothing."
Vincent Del Pizzo
Vincent Del Pizzo I have it and love it.
JoHn Felix
JoHn Felix the most i went over is 8gbs unlimited i need u
Dionne Childs
Dionne Childs My customers get unlimited data for free. I won't post a link, cause I'm not about spamming, but people should know their options. I'm happy to share more info with anyone who messages me asking for it.
Zach Cline
Zach Cline @ Jim - They aren't just "phones" . These things now are going to be packing quad core processors now. Hell even intel is starting to put there chipsets in a few devices. If you think they're just a " Phone" you know very little about tech.
Jeff Jones
Jeff Jones I upgraded to 4G finally a few months ago after my Droid 2 bit the dust and I will be pissed if they switch me to tiered only 3 or so months into the new contract. And if they do, would that be a breach and wouldn't they have to pay me an early termination fee (like they love to charge to customers)? I like having GPS navigation without having to buy an actual GPS device. I like being able to do w/e I want on my phone whenever I want and not have to worry if I'm going to hit my limit. This is a money grab plain & simple and it's F'N BS. Verizon might as well go rob a bank because it's the same damn thing. I want to use my phone how I want to use it, when I want to use and I want it be a max of $50/month. I rarely ever use voice (well until recently) so give me a lower level voice plan or allow me to get rid of it. But no, then they'd lose more money and God knows Verizon is hurting for money *rolls eyes*
KC Whitfield
KC Whitfield Yup I use 5gbs a month with out tethering on my galaxy nexus. With tether its like 10gbs... my home internet its like 50gbs lol I'm so glad they ain't put a limit on home internet
Michael Ruiz
Michael Ruiz Thats the only reason why im still with Sprint's service !
Blake Huggins
Blake Huggins Verizon told me that im grand fathered in with my unlimited plan when i upgraded.
Joel Neil
Joel Neil Everybody with a contract, it was for voice only. Data is a feature and can be changed at any time and you are SOL with the ETF.
Jack Hueppelsheuser
Jack Hueppelsheuser Get rid of my smart phone and pay for home internet instead.
George Powell Jr.
George Powell Jr. Change carriers. Been with the for a loooog time and finally tired of the crap.
Alfredo E. Lopez
Alfredo E. Lopez Yes!!! No Stress!!!
Jim Walker
Jim Walker If someone is youtubing and netflexing on a PHONE all day, get a friggen life.
Catfish Mentzer
Catfish Mentzer I just got off the phone with verizon and they informed me that they will not be doing away with the ones who already have their unlimited data just will not be available for new customers.
Angel Ortiz
Angel Ortiz Lying bastards at Tmobile did the same thing
Jason C Kingry
Jason C Kingry Yes it is!
Corey Fawcett
Corey Fawcett Strangely enough T-Mobile still offers unlimited data plans, it's just on the business or specifically their small business service. Remarkably, it's cheap too......
Amie Lee Greenway
Amie Lee Greenway We can't afford Unlimited Data and it's hard for me to believe that anyone could use truly unlimited anyway. I get close to 4GB at the end of the month but even then I don't fully reach it or go over...not to mention I'm away from home a lot and use my phone for everything. When I had my iPhone" I barely touched 2GB too. I fail to see how anyone can go over 4. If you do then you must waste a lot of time watching movies and crap.
Bonnie Kettrick- DiCostanzo
Bonnie Kettrick- DiCostanzo Sure get us all hooked on unlimited so they guarantee they get customers who will go over the limit Because most of us can't function without our phones!!! At least if they wanna be "Greedy" offer us Unlimited Data" at $10 bucks more a month? Although it's still gonna piss ppl off it would be much easier to take and still worth it! I am already paying $300 a month with a 3 smartphone a month family plan! Also don't believe they can change our contracts until renewal Because that's not legal! They would have some class action law suit on their hands! Bottom line is all carriers will ride this train given time. So if you plan to move carriers just have that in mind.
Agim Alion
Agim Alion i dont need it, but I like not having to worry about it overages
Edwin De Alba
Edwin De Alba Haha people act like they don't care. I don't have to worry about gigs. I'll use my internet more for u guys.
Kevin Medina
Kevin Medina Unlimited 4g LTE with Metropcs in the 70$ plan :)
Furqan Taher
Furqan Taher Is it the case also even if you already have 4g LTE? If that truly is the case, then i know it sucks but i will switch to sprint.
Selene Knight
Selene Knight I think it's more frustrating that they are just taking advantage of consumers for the sole purpose of profits. Not that that's anything new from corporate america but when it's just so blatantly obvious it's like a kick in the nuts. Ugg.
Gerald Mccrae
Gerald Mccrae I have unlimited data and mobile hot spot on verizon and between the two don't came anywhere close 2 useing 2g a mouth. I think some ppl just want to stay on YouTube and Netflix all day. I think Verizon should slow those ppl down
Abram Wenevermet Dennis
Abram Wenevermet Dennis I learned that I didn't need unlimited data when I was with sprint because thier network was sooooooo slow I became dependent on WiFi in order 2 use the internet..
Raul Martinez
Raul Martinez Go back to using too cans and a string. "/
George Isenhart
George Isenhart Unlimited is an issue with me, glad sprint has it, wish they had it on their tablets.
Skylor Mitchell
Skylor Mitchell It's not really a must for me, but it's nice not to worry about how much data I've used and how much I've got left. I average 5-7Gb of data per month, so I think that I could live with Verizon's 6Gb data plan with tethering.
Abram Wenevermet Dennis
Abram Wenevermet Dennis 2gb on my ipad & iPhone & I never worry about overages.
Jose Be Julme
Jose Be Julme Lol.
Benjamin Collins
Benjamin Collins If Verizon is allowed to break a contract, so am I. I'll walk.
Carlos Guerrero
Carlos Guerrero Dislike
Carlos Guerrero
Carlos Guerrero Definitely need a button!!!!
Abram Wenevermet Dennis
Abram Wenevermet Dennis I left slow unlimited data at sprint for Verizon.. I'm doing just fine without unlimited data WiFi is everywhere.
Kyle Mcdonnell
Kyle Mcdonnell Yeah since I got my iPhone, I mostly use wifi, my data usage is really small so when sprint eventually cuts off unlimited data, I'll be fine
Chris Stec
Chris Stec Well I will leave Verizon tell them to kiss my ass! And go to at&t the only reason im with Verizon is my grandfathered unlimited data
Brandon Moore
Brandon Moore Have faster 4g speeds. Ppl who hog all the data slow everybody else down.
Zach Cline
Zach Cline They're going to have a lot angry customers . It's beneficial to us translates to- More money in our pockets.
Jerome Chaney
Jerome Chaney Ntelos
Andrew Lipps
Andrew Lipps i dont think wi-fi is an excuse. if im already paying over 150$ for one smart phone, why should i have to monitor my data?!? In that case lower the price of voice plans since NO1 calls people anymore.
Andrew Lipps
Andrew Lipps Just sux cuz it's not just Verizon and ATT doing this, every carrier has plans in the works to kill unlimited or raise their prices on unlimited to ridiculous rates
Bryan Wilt
Bryan Wilt Yes it is
Ethan Ramsey
Ethan Ramsey No. 2GB is just a lot if you live with WiFi. 200MB is perfect for my family because of the fact we don't need to rely on data as our internet source.
Jessica Rodriguez
Jessica Rodriguez I agree with Matt Porter, I have verizon I have the 4GB and I never go over because I use wi-fi most of the time and I never even get to 1GB at the end of my billing cycle.
Derrick Mlment Johnson
Derrick Mlment Johnson Sure is... thats why ill never become a at&t or Verizon customer.
Jamal Simpson
Jamal Simpson if i do, somebody is gonna get kicked in the nuts!!
Anthony V Cannata
Anthony V Cannata I think we pay to much for data now I pay for cell phone *2 plus I pay for home data I use WiFi more then cell phone data
Andrew Lipps
Andrew Lipps Government needs to take a new stand on these companies. Charging for all this data usage is inane. Especially when the demand for data on smartphones these days is continuing to climb. Something needs to be done, i'm not a fan of 200-300$ phone bills.
David TheNinja Bland
David TheNinja Bland I still have unlimited through Verizon, but to be honest, for the amount I'm on phone (about 13 hours a day) I barely touch 3 gigs. - NiNjA
Matt Potter
Matt Potter I'm on Verizon, but this doesn't bother me at all. I'll never come close to going over because I use Wi-Fi most of the time.
Adam Cory Mitchell
Adam Cory Mitchell I can live with 2GB, I use Wi-Fi
Frank Porter
Frank Porter Technically I still have unlimited with AT&T but what difference does it make, since they slow your speeds to a crawl once you've used a certain amount? Just sayin' things aren't that much better with this carrier either. I may still have my grandfathered plan but a lot of good it does me if it's just going to get throttled. Looks like Sprint is the best option left
Christian Carlos Falu
Christian Carlos Falu Sprint FTW. I'll stay with them till they cut Unlimited Data. Smartphones use so much data it ridiculous how carriers are forcing people to tiered data all for profits. A lot of people are going to pass the data caps...
Walter Nunez
Walter Nunez Go cray
Martin Alexander DeKorte
Martin Alexander DeKorte Nationwide wi-fi is on its way...
Andrew Lipps
Andrew Lipps right, when we will just have a nationwide Wi-Fi. it's 2012 this should be the standard by now
James Euless Derousselle
James Euless Derousselle Glad I have AT&T
Muiotakappaepsilon Wins
Muiotakappaepsilon Wins I wish they would just wifi the world already....
Maurice Hall
Maurice Hall Use Wifi...
Andrew Lipps
Andrew Lipps go insane

Most popular Videos
Most popular Videos
Most popular Videos

Most popular Reactions
Most popular Reactions
Most popular Reactions

This weeks "People's Choice Rankings" best smartphones
People's Choice Rankings

See all hot devices