Dallas-based AT&T recently announced plans to do away with unlimited data plans for new subscribers, a move that was met with much consternation by those who had become accustomed to having all the data they could consume for a cost of $30 per month. That left Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile as the only other major U.S. wireless carriers with unlimited data plan options.
Soon, that number may dwindle by one, with Verizon’s CFO announcing in an interview with Business Week, that the carrier is considering following AT&T’s lead and eliminating unlimited data plans. John Killian, CFO of Verizon Communications Inc. stated, “We will probably need to change the design of our pricing where it will not be totally unlimited, flat rate.”
To those following the trend of increasing mobile data usage, the statement from Verizon should come as no surprise. Wireless carriers are in a constant race to increase the speed of their data networks. An pricey undertaking, leaving carriers with the need to generate revenue to cover the cost of speed increases while weaning people off of an unlimited data consumption pricing method that affords users the ability to stream video, download music, and send emails with enormous attachments at their leisure without worrying about how much data their using.
Thanks to new hardware offerings such as the iPad, the new iPhone, Android devices, Blackberries and more, one can stream YouTube, Netflix, and other data gobbling services with ease, anywhere, at anytime. While AT&T plans an upgrade to HSDPA+ by the end of this year, T-Mobile having “4G-like” HSDPA+ speeds at present, and Sprint having 4G speeds in some cities, data transfer will become faster and will only encourage subscribers to consume more than they do at present.
The days of unlimited data plans are numbered. That said, some that consume less data will save, while those that use more can either condition themselves to use less, or expect to pay a premium to have the ability to consume additional data. Are unlimited data plans great? Yes, but unfortunately, like the Dodo, will soon become a thing of the past.
Are you at all surprised that unlimited data plans appear to be a dying breed? If you are an AT&T subscriber who was grandfathered in and could keep their unlimited data plan, or opt for a less expensive option, which did you choose? Comment below, submit any questions to C4 Universe via Formspring, follow C4 Universe on Twitter, and visit the Facebook page of C4 Universe, for the latest in social media, marketing, advertising and technology news!