Verizon Wireless put its tiered data plans in place today, and no longer allows new customers to sign up for an unlimited data plan. Nevertheless, Consumer Reports believes this change will have no effect on the wallets of most of this carrier’s subscribers.
Although those who already had an unlimited data account will be able to keep it, even when they change phones, anyone who becomes a new Verizon customer will have to choose from a tiered data plan in which paying more gets more data.
Smartphone users will have to choose between the 2GB, 5GB, or 10GB plan. And they will have to sign up for a Mobile Hotspot/Mobile Broadband Connect plan if they want to share their handset’s data connection with another device.
Consumer Reports: It’s No Biggie
The consumer-advocacy group Consumer Reports has released a statement that says that, according to its research, most of Verizon’s smartphone customers will be unaffected by this change. This is because the cheapest of the new plans, $30 a month for 2 GB of data, costs the same as the old unlimited plan while providing more data transfer capacity than the average person needs.
According to CR, most Verizon customers use around 500 MB of data a month, far less than the the 2GB in Verizon’s least expensive new plan. This led CR to fault the carrier, not for eliminating its unlimited plan, but for not offering its customers a plan where they could pay less than $30 a month for less data.
The only ones who are going to pay more for data service are the small number of smartphone users — CR refers to them as “data hogs” — who need more than 2GB of data per month. This group includes those who frequently use music or video streaming services over 3G or 4G connections, or who want to download movies onto their handset. A Netflix movie or TV show, for example, requires around 1GB of data for each hour of its length.