Well, it was fun while it lasted.
As of Thursday, June 28, unlimited data plans have essentially ceased to exist as an option for Verizon customers, as the largest American mobile carrier tries to usher subscribers onto its recently-announced Share Everything plans.
Verizon-ites: Your carefree days of not monitoring your monthly data usage are coming to an end.
After closing off the unlimited option for new subscribers in 2011, Verizon decided to let those customers who already had unlimited data contracts keep their plans. Now the grandfather policy will end the next time a customer signs a contract extension with Verizon; along with a handset, the customer will also have to select a new data plan.
Although there are ways to keep unlimited data -- buying a smartphone for the full, unsubsidized price, or buying a smartphone with a 3G, rather than 4G LTE, connection -- most Verizon customers will find themselves on a Share Everything plan sooner or later.
In those plans, detailed by Verizon earlier this month, family members share a set number of gigabytes among them. The family pays a flat monthly fee for that set amount of data, and then pays another monthly fee for each line using that data.
Here are the plans:
As a hypothetical example of how this might work in real life: Let's say that I'm married and have two teenaged sons (I don't believe I am married, nor do I have any children that I know of, but bear with me). If the four of us have smartphones, we each pay $40 per month for unlimited text messages and voice minutes. Then, after we determine how much data the four of us will need per month, we choose a Shared Data plan. Let's say we need 4GB for the four of us: We then pay a single monthly fee of $70 for that amount of data.
That's $160 total (per month) for the Talk & Text, and $70 total (per month) for 4GB of data. Tony Bradley at PCWorld has another clear, concise breakdown of how this could work for your family.
Still curious about shared data? Verizon has set up a section on its website to explain how to best take advantage of its new Share Everything plans. We've also written a handy guide on how to calculate your monthly data needs and which tools you need to decide which data plan is right for you.
In the meantime: If you're on a Verizon unlimited plan, enjoy these final few months of worry-free movie streaming and multimedia messaging. Soon, you'll be deciding between downloading a microstrategy app and uploading a video of your daughter dressed like a tree for the school play.