(Updated 3:31 p.m.)
Verizon scrambled this week to clarify a top official’s suggestion that a new data plan option would lead to phasing out unlimited data plans that were grandfathered in 2010.
Sometime this year, Verizon will allow customers to add multiple smartphones and tablets to a “shared data plan,” and on an LTE network that allows faster video streaming and media downloads.
Verizon expects the combination of shared plan and faster network will lure customers into committing to more expensive data packages.
There were reports that Verizon would be dropping the unlimited plans when the shared data plans make their debut based on comments by Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo.
At an investor conference this week, Shammo was quoted as saying,“A lot of our 3G base is unlimited. As they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan.”
Instead, Verizon customers who currently have a grandfathered $30-a-month unlimited data plan but want to upgrade to a shared plan will be able to do so without losing the unlimited feature – if you pay full price for upgraded devices, like the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx.
If you buy a device at a discount when renewing your two-year contract, however, you’ll lose the unlimited feature.
Truth be told … chances are most of you will end up surrendering your unlimited plans the next time you pick up a new Verizon smartphone. Unless you have at least $400 handy to spend on a new phone, that is.
AT&T, which also grandfathered in unlimited data plans, also is expected to introduce a shared plan sometime this year.