Earlier this month, a rumor claimed that Verizon would be making it harder for unlimited data customers to upgrade to a new device and keep their bottomless bucket of bytes by closing a plan loophole. Now it looks like that rumor was legit.
Verizon now requires customers that upgrade to a new smartphone on a contract to keep a data package on that line for the length of the contract. So if you use a line to upgrade to a new phone by signing a 2-year contract, you’ll need to keep a data plan active on that line for the entirety of the contract.
The loophole used to allow Verizon customers to have a cheap feature phone line, use it to upgrade to a new smartphone, then switch that phone to the unlimited data line and move the other line back to a cheap feature phone plan. This change closes that loophole by requiring an active data plan of at least $30 per month for the length of the minimum contract term.
Verizon stopped offering unlimited data plans to new customers in 2012, and since then it’s been getting harder and harder for unlimited users to get a new phone and keep their plan. Subscribers can still buy a phone at full price or bring their own unit to keep their bottomless bucket of bytes, but that may not be a feasible option for some folks.
The closing of this loophole is definitely a bummer for any Verizon folk still clutching on to their unlimited add-ons, but it’s also not terribly surprising. After all, I’m sure Verizon would like to move all of its unlimited users to usage-based plans, which offer varying amounts of data buckets for $30 or more per month. At least going the full retail route is still an option for those that don’t want to lose their unlimited data.