Verizon has been in the news quite a bit lately due to its decision to extend its Network Optimization throttling policy to customers with unlimited 4G LTE data plans. Now it looks like things are about to get even rougher for Verizon subscribers that are still clutching their unlimited data plans.
A new report from Droid-Life says that Verizon will soon close one of the loopholes that enables unlimited data customers to upgrade to a new phone at a discounted rate and still keep their unlimited plan. It’s said that starting on August 24, Verizon will require smartphones acquired with a discounted upgrade to hold on to a data package for the duration of the contract.
One way that many Verizon folk have upgraded to a discounted device and kept their unlimited plan is to sign up for a $10 feature phone plan, use that line to upgrade to a smartphone and then move that smartphone to their unlimited line and switch the recently-upgraded line back to a feature phone. This policy change will prevent anyone from using this loophole any longer by requiring a smartphone that was purchased with an upgrade to remain on a data plan while it’s on a contract.
Under this new policy, any customer with a “legacy” plan and a smartphone purchased with a 2-year contract will need to keep that discounted smartphone on a data plan. Verizon says that it’s implementing this change because when a customer gets a discounted price on a new smartphone Verizon “expect[s] them to pay for data services and keep the smartphone activated for 2 years.”
Most of the wireless industry is moving away from truly unlimited data plans, and Verizon stopped offering such a plan a long time ago, so it’s not terribly surprising to see Big Red making it a bit more difficult for unlimited customers to keep their plan. There’s a chance that customers with one unlimited data line and one tiered data line could upgrade on the tiered line and then switch the device to the unlimited line and still be ok, but we’ll have to wait until this change goes into effect on August 24 before we know for sure.
Are any of you still rocking a grandfathered unlimited data plan?