updated 01:45 pm EDT, Tue July 5, 2011
Verizon confirms capped smartphone plans
Verizon in a statement validated rumors of capped data plans coming this week. As of July 7, new customers or those having to change their plans will only have four limited plans to choose from. A basic 75MB plan at $10 will cover non-smartphone users, while $30 now gets users just 2GB instead of the unlimited access it provided before; the $50 5GB and $80 10GB plans carry over from data-only devices.
The carrier told FierceWireless that the $20 tethering plan is still in effect and adds 2GB of data that can be combined and used any way the user likes. Those with 4G phones and unlimited on-device data can have the rumored unlimited LTE hotspot use, though they will pay $30 a month.
Overage on any of the plans is $10 for each extra gigabyte. Anyone grandfathered into the older, better plans shouldn't have trouble upgrading to a new device without having to use the capped plans, Verizon said.
The ceilings come a matter of weeks before a new iPhone reaches the network and are likely to draw controversy for their pricing. Along with leaving Sprint as the only major carrier with true unlimited, full-speed data, the pricing is significantly more expensive than at AT&T. The original iPhone carrier, which was first to cap its plans outright, charges $5 less for 2GB of data and also has an in-between $15, 200MB data plan that can lower the practical rate for a smartphone.
Carriers have claimed that caps are necessary to keep data under control and pay for network upgrades. The argument has drawn criticism since more recent cellular networks, particularly Verizon's LTE-based 4G, are cheaper to run and usually have more headroom than earlier 3G, even with practical speeds ten times higher.