Verizon Lures iPhone Users with a Very Limited “Unlimited” Data Plan

by Matt Klassen on January 27, 2011

If iPhone users needed another reason to look longingly towards the calm and stable waters of Verizon’s wireless network, Verizon is making sure it gives them one, an affordable unlimited data plan. America’s leading wireless communications company stated earlier this week that it plans to offer all new customers the option of an unlimited smartphone data plan, something that AT&T notably nixed this past summer.

While there was some speculation that Verizon would be looking to phase out its unlimited plan as well, the company’s COO Lowell McAdam recognized that the availability of an unlimited data plan may very well be that final incentive that disgruntled AT&T customers need to switch carriers.

But just in case you were about to praise Verizon for its benevolence and magnanimity , be warned, the Verizon unlimited data plan won’t last for long…in fact, it will probably just last long enough to get you onto Verizon’s network.

For its part, Verizon is being particularly coy about the particulars of this offer, stating that it will only be available for a “limited time”, but not going into details regarding just how limited “limited time” really is. But the fact of the matter is that customers who choose Verizon’s $30/month unlimited data plan will likely have that plan till they switch phones.

A Verizon representative explains, “For example, a customer purchases an iPhone 4 or a Droid X along with the $29.99 data plan….This person’s contract expires February 10, 2013, but they love their device so much they never come in and purchase another device. They continue to pay us monthly and we continue to bill them for the exact same services. We don’t change their plan. Now let’s say in 2014, they want a new phone and they come in and purchase a new phone, then they subscribe to whatever service is offered at that time and pay that price.”

So here’s the bottom line: Verizon will be offering this unlimited data plan for a very limited time, probably for the next few months or so. Sign a contract with Verizon after that date, and the unlimited plan will be unavailable. For those that do sign on to the unlimited plan, Verizon will honour the contract for its entire duration—probably—meaning that you have the unlimited plan until you change your phone or sign a new contract.

Clearly a short-term marketing ploy designed to draw as many AT&T customers to Verizon in the shortest time possible; this plan seems simultaneously more and less generous than AT&T’s. For those that were able to secure an unlimited data plan with AT&T before it expired this past summer they still have the option of keeping that plan as long as they stay with the company. Sure it’s not available to new customers, but for existing customers, you could potentially enjoy that plan forever.

So, what’s an AT&T customer to do? If you’re one of the lucky few who managed to sign on to AT&T’s unlimited plan before it was abolished, you have a tough decision to make; either take the short term benefits of switching to Verizon, or stick with the long term affordability and unlimited usage of AT&T’s plan. In the end, this situation strikes me as the embodiment of the phrase, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

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Jordan Richardson January 27, 2011 at 6:01 am

So the “limited” part doesn’t have anything to do with the plan’s particulars but to do with the fact that Verizon is putting an end date on its promotion and not carrying on with it until the End of Days? These aren’t really “short-term benefits” if the plan carries out as long as a user has the phone, are they?

It’s a promotion. All promotions are limited. This one actually sounds pretty good.

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