HOW TO: Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan after 7/7 (EVEN IF YOU UPGRADE)
EDIT: This document is now obsolete with the new Shared Everything plans.
If you have any questions please read my newer document
Correcting Some of the Shared Everything Misinformation
OK everybody by now everybody knows that Verizon is switching to tiered data plans starting on 7/7/11.
After scouring every bit of leaked information and talking to a couple Verizon employees I have uncovered a sure fire way to keep your coveted Unlimited Data plans after the switch and even after you upgrade.
DON'T CHANGE OR REMOVE YOUR DATA PLAN!
Yes class it really is that simple.
Already a Verizon customer with an unlimited data plan?
- Verizon is not changing the terms of your contract, nothing changes for any of us after 7/7 unless we make those changes ourselves.
- Verizon is grand-parenting all of us who have unlimited data plans into our existing UNLIMITED data plans as long as we don't change it FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.
- Yes we will still be able to keep unlimited data EVEN AFTER WE UPGRADE, no need to let your contract expire and/or buy your device full retail. You can have your cake and eat it too; get that discounted price and keep unlimited data as long as you DON'T CHANGE OR REMOVE YOUR DATA PLAN!
- It doesn't matter weather you have a 3G device or 4G device, Android, Blackberry or iOS, so all of you who are desperate to upgrade to a 4G device now (even one you don't really like) to get grand-parented into UNLIMITED LTE DATA can relax, as long as you are using a Smartphone on an unlimited data plan now you are set. All of our unlimited data plans are consolidated under one plan code regardless of platform or network technology, so swapping platforms will not prompt for a data plan change.
Considering Upgrading to a smartphone/moving to Verizon for a smartphone?
- Feature phones who are considering upgrading to a smartphone are advised to do so before 7/7, since they are not allowing back dating
- Thinking of adding a line? Better do it before 7/7 as grand-parenting applies to lines of service not accounts.
- Thinking of switching from another carrier for a smartphone? Best do it before 7/7 for the same reason. No back dating.
Now all that being said, does that mean that I like the new data plans? No I don't, I was hoping to see something more along the lines of this http://forum.androidcentral.com/veri...ml#post1018752 But there is nothing we can do about that. We have what we have and will have to live with it.
Is it possible that at some point Verizon may make some super device or device line and deem said device "incompatible" with the unlimited data plans? Of course it is, but if it happens it will be a ways off and nothing would be forcing you to upgrade to said device or devices. All of our existing phones will work just fine for many years to come. Why loose sleep over what MIGHT happen? If it does then we deal with it at the time.
It's also possible that Verizon will hear our voices and tweak/improve these plans when shared data plans are introduced at some unknown future date. Who knows?
The point of all this is that it isn't Judgment Day, the sky is not falling, and world isn't coming to an end. There IS life after 7/7/11. Verizon is simply making some changes to their fee structure; changes we have known about (though not specific details) for a long time. Do they suck? You betcha! But the vast majority of those of us reading this will not be effected by these changes for quite a while of at all.
Sit back, take a deep breath and of needed reread this post again (and yet again if necessary, as many times as you need) until it all sinks in and your blood pressure stops boiling......
***** UPDATE: 11/6/11 ******
With the recent leaked information about the promotional "double your data" LTE tiered plans there have been a new wave of fear that those upgrading to LTE phones will be forced off of their UNLIMITED data plans when they upgrade to 4G phone.
This is NOT the case. If you had unlimited smartphone data before 7/7/11 then you are grand-parented in unless you change it (even after you upgrade), 3G or 4G, Android, iOS, Blackberry or WP7. It does not matter.
Tiered data only effects new smartphone lines/customers and existing ones who are dumb enough to remove the unlimited data when they upgrade.
***** UPDATE: 11/20/2011 *****
There has been a new flight of misinformation being spread lately. The above info also goes for the new LTE Double Data plans that VZW is now offering for a limited time.
* They are available to anyone on an LTE phone (not grandparent into unlimited) and once you have it you don't loose it even when you upgrade as long as the device on the line stays 4G. Move to a 3G device and you loose it and cant get it back. So those of you who missed the boat on the grand-parented in unlimited data now is your chance to get double the data for the same price which should take away some of the sting..
* You don't have to buy a new phone, just log into My Verizon or call customer service and ask to change your plan code. Choose wisely though because once they are no longer available you will need to stay with what you chose and cant change or you loose it. You can however change it while toe offer stays in effect.
***** UPDATE 02/19/2012*****
Just an FYI the double your data deal on 4G phones is back, from Feb 10-March 29, 2012; so if you missed out on it the first time and are stuck on a 2GB or 4GB data package, but have an LTE phone, and would like to double your data for free go to My Verizon and make the change or if you so desire visit a corporate store and they will hook you up.
Double data was extended to the first week in June. Get it while it is hot!
***** UPDATE: 5/15/12 ***** WITH CLARIFICATIONS 5/17/12 *****
So the Internet is once again on fire with news that one of Verizon's bigwigs opened his mouth and spilled the beans that the company will be eliminating grandfathered in unlimited data (for LTE devices anyway) as they transition to shared data plans sometime this summer. [ http://www.androidcentral.com/verizo...ited-data-plan ] Not a lot of information is available yet but as before I will attempt to make clear some of the uncertainties and correct some of the misinformation out there.
What is Tired Data?
Tiered data is an attempt to make users pay their fare share for the data that they use. Ideally they will have several set plans with buckets of data and users are able to select the plan they want based upon their expected usage and then pay more for more data if need be. Overages would then be billed in fair even amounts if the user chooses to use more data than the plan allows.
Verizon currently has this in place for new lines or service and new smartphone lines of service after 7/7/11 (see the top of this post).
Unlimited data plans were created when customers and devices used a LOT less data than they do now. With the explosive growth of the smartphone part of the business it is no longer feasible to allow truly unlimited data and still make a profit, so carriers were forced to either switch of tiered data, raise the price of data plans, or switch to tiered data AND offer an unlimited option for those who wanted to pay more. I personally think they made the wrong choice but hey what can I say lol
What is shared data?
Currently each line of service requires it's own data plan regardless of how little data it uses. If you have a smartphone on your line that minimum ($30 for 2GB of data) is required even if you don't use the smartphone features of the phone. This is enforced by the MEID of the device and all carriers are this way and have been for years.
Shared data is when more then one line is allowed to share the same data package similar to how family share plans share minutes now. As someone who sells phones I can tell you that shared data plans will make the data requirement a lot easier pill for customers to swallow. This is beneficial for people who have lines on their account that barely use any data at all (such as people who use Blackberries or people who are constantly in range of WiFi). Depending on how the data buckets are allotted some people could conceivably save a great deal of money switching to shared data plans. Others, of course, like the power users who typically frequent this site, may end up about the same or in some cases pay more.
When does this take effect?
We dont have any hard dates yet but it is expected to happen sometime later this year, probably this summer. Verizon has stated that the specifics of this will be announced well in advance of the effective date to allow users to evaluate their data needs.
Can they legally do this mid contract? Isn't this grounds to get out of my contract without an ETF?
Yes they can legally do this because this will be "phased in as customers renew their contracts" and it will not effect anyone currently grand-parented into unlimited data until they renew their contract.
Since you are on the same contract until you renew it is not grounds to get out of your contract early.
Does this effect 3G customers too or is this just for 4G device upgrades?
They way I read it (from his carefully worded statement) this should only effect customers upgrading from 3G device to a 4G device, but considering the fact that virtually all devices going forward will be 4G this is a moot point.
This will effect all smartphone users regardless of network technology.
What about us early adopters who are already on unlimited LTE data? Do we get to keep it the next time we upgrade?
This is a big question mark right now and until some internal docs leak about this we have no way to know for sure, but I suspect that since we are grand-parented into unlimited LTE we should be able to keep it for at least one more upgrade, but that is speculation on my part.
No, after the set date anyone on an unlimited data plan who renews their contract will be forced onto a tiered data plan, regardless of network technology.
What if we decide to buy our next device full retail? Will that get us around this?
Again we dont know for sure yet, but:
* If you are still under contract and buy a new LTE device full retail during the term of your contract you should be fine.
* Since they are not legally required to allow you to keep your current plan and features once you are out of contract (although they almost always have done so) it is anyone's guess what will happen, but based upon previous experience I suspect that as long as you continue to pay your bill every month they will let you keep your plan until you decide to upgrade, but of course this is also speculation.
If you buy your next device full retail and do not re-sigh a contract you will be allowed to keep your unlimited data plans, HOWEVER once you are out of contract the carrier is not required to continue to honor discontinued plans, and while they have almost always done so in the past there is no guarantee that will be the case indefinitely. At some point they will likely force everyone onto a new tiered plan.
Are they doing this to get ready for the LTE iPhone launch?
The 3G iPhone actually uses LESS data than most Android phones and there is no reason to believe that the LTE version will be any different when compared to LTE Android phones. Data usage will go up compared to the 3G model but then so did every other 4G device.
Also, wild speculation aside, the LTE iPhone probably wont launch till late fall early winter anyway.
Should I Switch To AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile?
In a word, NO!
* AT&T Has already eliminated unlimited data plans so if you switch to them you will be forced to a tiered plan anyway, and while they do offer slightly cheaper data prices (for now) it is a virtual certainty that they will follow Verizon's lead with shared data later this year or early next.
* Sprint 3G data is slow and their 4G LTE network is in it's infancy (read: almost non-existent). While they have stated that they intend to continue with unlimited data plans, they will not be able do this financially over the long haul given their high churn (customer turnover) and need to invest money in their network(s). Sprint as a company hasn't posted a profit since 2006.
* T-Mobile is disorganized and it is only a matter of time before they merge or are acquired by someone (even if it isnt going to be AT&T), also their 4G network is the slower HSPA+, not the faster and more efficient LTE.
Anyway that's all of now. I will continue to upgrade this post as more information becomes available (vs the wild speculation that we have seen thus far), and I see more people asking the same questions and getting wrong answers.
Yes this is a bad thing (but expected) but not nearly as bad as people are making it out to be. The world did not end on 7/7/11 when tired data came into effect, nor was there a mass customer exodus, and it wont happen now. Verizon still has the lowest church (customer turnover) of the big 4 and I dont see that changing.
I am as concerned here as everyone else, but until we see what the shared data buckets look like I dont see the point in causing a panic by making sensational posts about it with few if any facts and a LOT if misinformation like I have been seeing.
Everyone take a deep breath and wait and see what happens. This wont effect any of us until we upgrade anyway.
***** UPDATE: July 2012 *****
As of June 28,2012 and the new Shared Everything plan releases grand-parenting in of unlimited smartphone date is no longer being offered when you sigh a new contract (ie upgrade at a subsidized price). There are now only TWO ways of keeping your unlimited data plan the next time you buy a phone:
1. Pay the fill retail price of the phone.
2. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) --- meaning buy a Verizon phone from somewhere else such as ebay or Craigslist.
There has also been some rumblings about the possibility that corporate stores may begin selling CLNR (Certificated Like New) devices in the corporate stores at a discount but I have yet to see anything official on this.
It was good while it lasted but this looks like the end of the road for Unlimited smartphone data