Unlimited Wireless Data: The End Is Nigh (Again)

We've known for a long time that the end of unlimited wireless data is all but certain. AT&T killed unlimited data plans for new customers last June, and Sprint's had to raise the price for unlimited data by $US10/month for every smartphone.

Verizon has been dutifully warning everybody that it's moving away from unlimited data soon. Like this summer soon. Which is what Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said at Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media and Telecom conference, declaring, "We will move to tiered pricing in the mid-summer time frame."

Verizon's not sure how it's going to structure that pricing, but it'll either be pay-per-byte, pay for speed or some combo of the two. (Probably the latter - expect 4G data to be more expensive, and you'll pay for every byte you download.) And this will presumably be on top of its current measures to keep traffic down - slowing down the 95th percentile of biggest data users and apparently crunching all of the http traffic that comes across its network. (Network engineers, I'm still deeply curious about this "network optimization." Ping me if you've got some insight.)

The big question, I suppose, is whether "mid-summer" is pre- or post-iPhone 5 launch. But if you're think about switching and need unlimited download juice, you've now got your timetable to try to get grandfathered in under the old plans. I'll let go of my AT&T unlimited data when they pry it from my cold, dead iPhone 10. [Fierce Wireless]

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