Verizon doesn't want to be the bad guy and completely get rid of its old unlimited data plans, so it's pursuing a new strategy: price customers out of them. The Verge has learned that Verizon will soon raise the monthly cost of grandfathered unlimited data plans by an additional $20 per line to $49.99. A friendly tipster clued us in on the change, and when contacted for comment, a Verizon spokesperson confirmed the news. The new rate will apply beginning in November.
To be clear, $49.99 is the cost of unlimited data alone and is added on top of your monthly voice and text plan. I've got the Nationwide Talk & Text 450 plan ($59.99), so this change would raise my monthly payment to $109.98, and that's before Verizon's extra fees and charges. If you've got more or unlimited voice minutes, you'll pay more each month. For customers determined to remain on the unlimited plan, Verizon will now let them purchase new smartphones through its monthly device payment plan; previously, you could only buy phones outright at their full retail cost. That's one upside in this news.
Verizon will let you pay for phones monthly and keep unlimited data
Note that this change only impacts customers who are out of contract; if you're signed to an existing two-year agreement, you'll keep your current rate for the term of that contract. Once you go month-to-month, the $49.99 data fee takes effect. Verizon also says that government and corporate accounts won't be included in the price hike.
Assuming they haven't done so already, the move will force many Verizon customers to weigh just how much unlimited data means to them — and what they're willing to pay to keep it. The carrier recently unveiled simplified data packages (S/M/L/XL/XXL), and this decision is obviously meant to drive consumers onto those newer plans. And if you still refuse to relinquish unlimited data at this price, you're probably burning through a lot of data every month. Verizon knows that, and now the company is happy to make you pay more for such freedom. Verizon says less than one percent of its customer base is tied to unlimited data plans, so the numbers are dwindling.
Only two of the four major US wireless carriers still offer unlimited data plans; T-Mobile's costs $80 per month, and Sprint recently announced it'll be increasing the cost of its unlimited option to $70. Verizon stopped selling unlimited data to new customers way back in 2011.
Correction: I originally had the overall price of Verizon's unlimited data plan wrong. It was previously $29.99 before this increase, which makes the new rate $49.99. Sorry, I'm just no good at math in the mornings — or ever, really.