Verizon to switch to tiered data, scrub unlimited plan

Verizon will reportedly get rid of its unlimited data plan for mobile customers, switching its model to a tiered structure in which users have to decide how much data they want to use each month.

Speaking at a conference today, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said the idea of an unlimited data plan “was never a long-term strategy,” noting “We didn’t want to put up a barrier to anybody who wanted to come over and experience the Verizon Wireless network.”

Currently, customers are allowed to use as much data as they want over Verizon’s mobile network for just $30 per month. However, with the iPhone hitting Verizon last month and a steadily increasing collection of strong smartphones, people are using up more data. That makes the idea of unlimited access more untenable for the carrier.

This is the exact same story that AT&T faced last year. Due to data pressures from the iPhone, AT&T decided to end unlimited data and force users to sign up for a tiered plan. Customers can still use as much as they want, but now if they go over a certain limit they have to pay overage charges.

It looked like Verizon was poised to prevent this from happening on its network, as earlier this year the company got rid of all of its other data structures. That is, if you bought a smartphone you had to buy an unlimited data package. It seemed as though Verizon was trying specifically to avoid a tiered structure.

Nevertheless, it seems that offering unlimited access to mobile Internet is not sustainable for Verizon, so expect to see the company’s pricing structure change some time soon.