Verizon's switch over to its new shared data plans -- which happened this morning -- marks the beginning of the end for those of its subscribers who still have an unlimited data plan.
The carrier stopped allowing new customers to sign up for the unlimited data plan last year, when it implemented tiered data plans instead, but Verizon allowed current subscribers to keep their old plan is they so desired, even when they upgraded to a new device.
Starting today, the rules have changed. People can keep their "grandfathered" data plan if they wish, but not if they want to buy a new smartphone at a subsidized price. Only those who pay full price for new models can hold on to to their unlimited plan.
Price subsidies are a powerful incentive to get people to switch plans, as they offer considerable reductions in the cost of a new smartphone. For example, the carrier subsidy on the Apple iPhone is $400.
More about the Share Everything Plans
In response to customers who own multiple devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.), Verizon introduced its ''Share Everything'' plan, which was announced earlier this month. This gives users a pool of data from which they can draw with up to 10 different wireless products.
It has proved to be somewhat controversial because in the name of simplifying choices this carrier is now offering only unlimited voice and texting plans for post-paid customers. The only option is how much data people want in their "pool".
There is a flat fee per device. This covers voice and texting: $40 per smartphone, $10 per tablet, $20 per mobile hotspot, and $30 for featurephones.
The data costs are on top of that. Paying $60 a month gets 2GB, $70 gets 4GB, $80 gets 6GB, $90 gets 8GB, and $100 a month gets 10GB data transfers. Users will be charged $15 for each 1GB they go over their limit, but they will be warned multiple times when they are approaching their limit, and given the opportunity to buy an additional 2GB of data for $10 for just that month, as long as they do it before the overage begins.
Current customers can keep their service plan, but all new Verizon customers much get a 'Share Everything plan. This, however, does not apply to corporate customers.
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