BUSINESS

Verizon’s Last Remaining Truly ‘Unlimited’ Plans Are Getting The Boot

Grandfathered customers who use the most data have until Feb. 16 to switch plans or carriers

BUSINESS
Photo Illustration: Diana Quach
Jan 10, 2017 at 12:10 PM ET

Verizon customers who are averaging up to 200GB of data over several months are about to get the boot. The U.S. carrier is telling these customers, who were grandfathered into unlimited data plans after Verizon ended that option in 2011, that they have until February 16 to switch to a tiered plan or find a new carrier.

The new 200GB threshold on “unlimited plans” comes as part of Verizon’s effort to try and get rid of customers who aren’t under specific data plan contracts. The carrier began its process in 2011, when it stopped offering truly unlimited data to new smartphone customers. Customers who have been with the company for years still kept their unlimited plans.

Those who keep using that much data and don’t switch to a tiered data plan by the deadline will have their lines discontinued entirely. If they don’t switch on time, they will have 50 days to re-activate their accounts.

Verizon’s limited, tiered plans will usually just reduce speeds once the customer exceeds the monthly data limit. The largest plan size is of 100GB and costs $450 a month.

Along with that change, the company also quietly increased the upgrade fee from $20 to $30. The upgrade fee is applied whenever customers buy a new phone. That charge is an extra fee separate from the activation fee. By press time, Verizon had not responded to a request for comment on these changes.

Verizon’s limits and increased fees might cause some loyal customers to move to other carriers such as T-Mobile, which has for awhile been putting Verizon on blast to steal its customers. Last month, T-Mobile CEO John Legere filmed a commercial titled “#DontGetVerizoned” criticizing its competitor and pointing out how it allegedly takes advantage of its customers.

However, all carriers have unexpected fees for upgrading or switching data plans. T-Mobile charges customers a $20 “assisted services fee” whenever they upgrade not using the Jump and Jump On Demand service. Sprint and AT&T also have unnecessary fees for upgrading phones and plans.