Verizon will not honor grandfathered unlimited data if you upgrade this summer onward


We knew this was coming. When and how, we weren’t sure, but we know it was coming. I’m referring to Verizon’s plan to get rid of unlimited data for those who are grandfathered in. When Verizon originally axed unlimited data they honored standard grandfathered clauses that allowed people to keep their unlimited data.

Even if you upgraded after that change you were able to keep your data. You can say goodbye to that soon. Verizon Wireless CFO Fran Shammo announced in a conference call that users who wanted to upgrade their phone that’s on a grandfathered data plan from this summer onward would be forced to switch to the tiered and shared data plans that Verizon is looking to introduce.

We assume the policy will be enforced starting on the day those new plans start, but we don’t have a launch window outside of “summer” for those.  For the time being you can upgrade and keep unlimited data, but you better act before it’s too late. It wasn’t clear whether or not this policy would apply to those who buy their phones off-contract either through Verizon, a retailer, or another source, but we’ll be trying to dig for confirmation.

I know many of you will be disappointed by Verizon’s decision, but I’m sure you’re no less surprised. Unlimited data is a dying breed and to expect Verizon to honor grandfathered contracts forever would be setting your hopes at an extremely high and unrealistic level. Sure, some less important perks may have lasted longer but Verizon’s bread and butter is data and they have to leverage that every way they can.

As a customer of Verizon, I’m going to do everything in my power to keep my unlimited data. If that means going without an upgrade, then so be it: my Galaxy Nexus should suffice for a fair amount of time beyond late 2013. And if people can last on the G1 this long (there are still some out there), then it should be no problem for me. Thoughts? [via The Verge]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Sprint is about to get very popular…

    1. As much as I would love for Sprint to absorb a bunch of customers from VZW, I doubt that will happen. Too many whiners out there already complaining about the areas that have poor data speeds.

    2. And slower. If more users do jump ship to Sprint it could cause an already slower network to get slower.

      1. Unless you’re in a Sprint 4G market. I use 6-8GB/month and get decent 4G performance. Would never consider ATT/VZW.

        1. I’m in a sprint “4g” market and I couldn’t get a single bar inside my house. Even after I dumped them for VZW 3 years ago, my wife’s uncle still can’t get any WiMax or even decent 3G signal inside my house. On VZW, I get full strength.

          1. Doesn’t sound like you’re in a sprint 4g market then does it.

          2. lol, We are in a WiMax market for sure. Sprint is just garbage for most locations as it always was even before WiMax.

          3. Baltimore =/= most locations.

          4. I live in Baltimore and my friends never have a Wimax signal. They barely have one outside on the rare occasions they do. Forget it inside.

            Both of them have turned it off as it just sucks battery looking for a nonexistent signal.

      2. But with more customers comes more revenue, and with more revenue comes better network.

        1. Ya, tell me how that’s working out for AT&T …

          1. .i don’t know why disqus does that.

          2. Trying to be twitter like I guess…

          3. The worst part is it started happening 5 years ago on AT&T and they still haven’t caught up

        2. depends on if they use that increased revenue to better their network or not. J
          Just because they make more money and can afford to improve their network doesn’t mean they will actually use that money to do so.

    3. Sprint is akin for 56k right now. No thanks. You couldn’t approach 1GB if you tried.

      1. Nobody gets 1GB. The best reported average is about 20mbps on Verizon.

        That being said, I get good speed anywhere but in my office, which is in a remote location and is built like a bomb shelter. (AT&T and Verizon also suck here). On 4/25/12, for example, I got 3113kbps down and 778kbps up near my house, on Wimax. I just got 785kbps in my building as I’m typing. (Only 174 up though)

        So, in essence, go away troll.
        (I used my Epic 4G Touch with the leaked modem FE10, by the way)

        1. Maybe he was talking about a monthly limit?

          1. Nah, he just didn’t realize you guys were talking about the monthly limit, he was talking about bandwidth :-P

      2. My daughter uses 2.7GB a month on average. Her peak usage was 4.7GB and the lowest she has used in the past 8 months is 880MB. She only uses 3G because 4G kills her battery. I think you are quite wrong about Sprint data speeds.

    4. Verizon has both hands in my pockets already now what are they trying to stick in there?A Google unlocked phone sounds pretty damn good right now and be able to be month to month instead of locked innto this. Will look for some other provider who I hope will only use one hand. Verizon “it will make it easier to connect mutiple phones to one account”…….who are they kidding… like its hard to do that now? Quit feeding me BS and telling me its steak. Done.

      1. What they mean by hard to connect multiple devices to one account is how a user in a family with 3 tablets and 5 smartphones would be paying $240 a month just for their data, even if they only used maybe 5GB between all of those devices. Some people will save money with this change, others will be expected to pay more. I’m personally not in favor of it, but many people have wanted the data share plans for a long time. If only verizon would leave us unlimited users in peace while adding that plan.

  2. Well then don’t upgrade and wait for the next generation Nexus devices and buy them from Google’s play store, or just get the Galaxy Nexus now for $399.

    1. When your 2 year contract ends, you’ll be bumped to the new limits, even if you activate a used phone.

    2. What are the chances they made a CDMA Nexus?

  3. Perfect. Exactly the time when I’ve been wanting options other than Verizon and now I can look at the other companies and start really playing them against each other. Stupidity in competing markets is always welcome.

    1. Good luck. I hope it works but I have a feeling Verizon won’t play. If u find a way though, let me know so I can try too 8-)

  4. such bull shit

  5. This applies only to upgrades? Or does it affect simple device switching as well? Could push a lot of people to the Craigslist/eBay market.

    1. That’s what I’m wondering as well. If I can buy my phones for retail and keep my unlimited data, that’s what I’ll likely do. Hopefully this will be a useable loophole.

      1. How would this work? I know on GSM carriers like TMO and ATT you can simply pop the sim card into your new device but don’t you have to activate new CDMA devices through the carrier? If so, they could cut you off. I’m not 100% sure how this works but I would like to know.

        1. You can activate a new phone from your account at home. VZW doesnt care if you buy your phone from them or not as long as its an approved phone to be on their network.

          1. Ya, but will VZW screw you for changing phones or buying a new one full retail?

            I’m not on a contract – never have been with VZW. Unlimited data is why I came. Of course, my phone isn’t really usable abroad so there’s a lot less incentive for me to put up with Verizon with international travel.

            So the choice comes down to having better 4G coverage but putting up with having to use a different phone abroad, or having LTE coverage where I live and having my phone work everywhere I go. Tough call.

          2. Nope they wont screw you. At least they havent me when I activated my Nexus on a new line the switched a different phone to it and then switched the Nexus to my line. Then had to do the same thing again when I had to exchange the Nexus

        2. I have swapped LTE phones without ever calling verizon between a thunderbolt and rezound, Verizon didn’t have to be talked to at all. It’s possible that if you buy your phones from a third party and just swap the sim we’ll be able to get away with this, but they still know when you swap devices, the new phone was reflected on the Verizon wireless website almost immediately, I’d be surprised if they made you switch packages for swapping phones, but I’m also surprised they killed grandfathered upgrades so quickly as well, so who knows.

    2. A few employees have already told me that it will likely be like the other data plan changes in the past. It will be device switching. Unlimited was special and got the grandfathering treatment, but the 150mb pack, multimedia pack, etc have all already gone through transitions and it was by device switching.

  6. Goodbye in 2014, verizon

    1. November 2013 for me. Although, I am sure that the others will follow suit in the next 18 months, so it’s a moot point.

  7. If they do that then there’s nothing to keep me with the service. AT&T has better phones and access to international ones at that, cheaper data and calling plans, and faster internet. This will not go well for Verizon.

    1. Better read up on international frequencies and LTE.

      1. LTE may or may not work (likely won’t), but at least HSPA will work well abroad.

        Ironically, my last HSPA phone worked much better in Europe than it every did on AT&T’s network.

    2. I looked at switching a few months ago for the One XL and AT&T actually would cost me more for what I have with VZW, minus the unlimited plan obviously.

    3. Faster internet??? Now that laughable.. You been stuck under a rock?

  8. I definitely don’t need unlimited data (i really don’t use it), but honestly, the only reason I put up with the inflexibility of CDMA was because of the potential for unlimited 4G.

    By the time I really need to upgrade my Galaxy Nexus, other LTE networks will be have as much coverage. Either way, when Jelly Bean comes out, i’m going to think long and hard before getting another Verizon Nexus..

    1. That’s assuming that they even get one. I don’t think any CDMA carrier will see a Nexus if Google goes forward with their plan to release the device to the various OEMs and sell them unlocked.

  9. Hmm, I received an email on the 14th telling I could save $130 by upgrading to a 4G LTE phone. This was below the pictures of the phones:

    “Keep your unlimited data package when you move to a 4G LTE smartphone!”

    I was waiting for the Incredible 4G or an X variant(this one, really, before the news hit). Guess I might have to pick something pretty soon.

  10. Days after I switched to Sprint too. Good timing for me!

    1. not really, they still dont have LTE and the faster vzw unlimited data will not be axed until this summer at the earliest. Kind of jumped the gun actually

  11. Don’t act surprised people, this is Verizon we’re talking about.

  12. Well that was fast…

  13. The only thing that makes stomaching Verizons INSANE charges bearable every month is the fact that I still have unlimited data. Ever since I switched to the GNEX on release day my service and reliability has been HORRIBLE! I will definitely be leaving Verizon the second this change occurs. As a matter of fact I’m hoping they try to force it on contract customers so I have a legal reason to break contract without a penalty.

  14. summer means before the LTE iphone.

    1. That’s what I was thinking. An LTE iPhone will cause a lot of people to switch over and increase useage. It’s a great time and device to pry the Unlimited out of people’s hands. I think they will actually be happy to see some more of the power users leave and head for sprint. A minimal drop in subscribers in exchange for reduced strain is pretty good deal when reliablity is a key to marketing.

  15. it was mentioned below, but this is just going to make you buy your phones at FULL pop.. not the subsidized price. They can’t legally do anything about that.

    The effects of that is people will not upgrade their phones as often, and the overall sales will drastically decrease.

  16. Son of a…I guess I better find an upgrade soon. I wish they had a decent handset out right now though. After this then, I guess it’s on to Sprint.

  17. I think that’ll just about do it for my business with Verizon. No new every two, a $35 upgrade fee, and now this? Not only is there no more incentive to stay, it’ll actually be cheaper to switch. Stupid.

    I kinda wish I hadn’t got a Gnex in December so I could switch now.

    1. I would imagine that if you sold your GNex, it would about cover your ETF fee. Just an Idea.

  18. If you think about it not upgrading may not help either. At the time youre eligible for an upgrade your contract is also almost up. Soon as you hit the end of your two year agreement, they can axe your unlimited data and auto stick you on tiered. Nothing to stop them at that point because there is no contract to abide by.

    1. They continue to use your previous contract, but folks forget that data is Not part of a main Verizon Contract. It gets added onto a line and can be subtracted at any time by a customer without penalty. I confirmed it a long time ago and have reconfirmed it again that the forced shift will likely be upon “new device activation” which means activating any phone on that line. It doesn’t matter if the contract is up or not, the moment you switch devices they can remove unlimited as an option. What comes in at contract renewal time is the family share data. That will most likely be part of the main contract like shared minutes and shared texting.

      So essentially if you activate any new device on a line that previously had unlimited, then you will be forced to take a tiered plan or renogiate your contract for shared data and take all the lines off unlimited and tiered. If your contract is up then you can choose tiered or a new data share contract.

      1. Except shared minutes can be changed at any time as long as devices stay active on the account. You are not locked into any minute plan and texting can always be canceled regardless. My whole point was technically as soon as your contract was up they could drop the unlimited right then.

        1. Changing from a text plan and changing minutes is technically renegotiation. It doesn’t extend anything thankfully, but it does modify your contract (unless your texting was by line like data). You are right that they can force a change at the end of a contract, and my point was that they usually wait to change things until an upgrade happens or a device switches. They seem to like changes to be finalized by a customer’s action.

          Either way, we are eventually screwed out of unlimited by changing devices, coming to the end of a contract, or upgrading.

  19. If it’s good in your area, I’d switch to T-Mobile, Simple Mobile or Straight Talk…to hell with Verizon….CDMA is the devil.

  20. Everything about VZW is garbage except for their coverage. When my upgrade is available in AUG, I’m really going to look at any other option.

    1. Their data speeds are pretty dece.

  21. Fuck you Verizon you just lost another one of your previous loyal customers

  22. This really sucks, i have an upgrade in coming up in November that is now ruined, I am surprised that this change came so quick.

    I won’t go to sprint, unless they release LTE here ( which I don’t expect soon) their network is way too slow, but I was a dedicated Verizon customer due to my unlimited LTE data, I don’t know yet if I’ll leave but it’s much more likely now if I can’t keep my unlimited LTE after an upgrade.

  23. That’ll do it for me and my 4 lines on Verizon! This galaxy nexus has bad signal and we could be saving 100 a month total with sprint! I might even look at virgin mobile 4g, or other carriers. Unlimited data is what kept me with Verizon, I average 12 gbs a month no tethering either.

  24. When i decide my galaxy nexus no longer satisfies my taste and i look for a better NEXUS. I will also replace my carrier. Verizon has really gotten on my last nerve. By the time my contract is up other carriers will have their LTE sevice rolling and i will pick the best one in my area. This is my last rodeo with u verizon

  25. how is this legal. They can just switch up the rules so that when we buy a new device we cant have the same data? WTF

  26. I’m not going to be happy if they eliminate grandfathering before the Incredible 4G comes out. I’ve been waiting a long time for a reasonably-sized dual-core LTE phone to come out and would be extremely angry if that wait resulted in me losing my unlimited data.

  27. Sprint is not an option for our area. The 3G is slow the Wimax does not exist and LTE is a bullet point on the latest Sprint long term plan. Upgrade BEFORE the plan changes go into affect. Who knows maybe the family plan could save families some money.

  28. They are about to get rid of the only reason 1/4th of their customers stick around.

  29. These cell phone companies are scam artists making billions each year and crying that they need more $..its sad.

    1. Sounds like oil companies, utilities, and everyone else.

  30. Whoever told Verizon this would give me incentive to upgrade lied to them. I’ll stick with my Galaxy Nexus until it doesn’t work any more, then I’ll switch carriers.

  31. I switched to Verizon in September of 2011, so I’ve always had tiered from them. I was used to having unlimited data from Crawl…I mean “Sprint”, but what is the point when your 3G would never go past 200 kbps. Lol They’re terrible in my area, even with full signal.

    Anyway, I pay for 5 GB of data, but thanks to the double your data promotion I received 10 GB :). On a month of heavy usage (My entire library is on Play Music, Netflix, HBO Go, Splashtop, lots of downloading ROMS, etc) I usually only use about 7 GB. Unlimited would be wonderful, but its not necessity.

  32. If I could only get coverage by anyone other than VZN in my work building i would switch over as well. But until ATT/TMo comes up with better coverage options, I’m not sure what else I can do but to either pick crappy cell service or crappier customer service.

  33. Wow! This kinda stinks… But, what can one do?…

  34. I think people should write or call Verizon and complain and threaten to discontinue service with them, or respond the same way they tried to charge additional fees for more payment options. Otherwise, I may join Sprint or Virgin Mobile. Can’t get T-Mobile where I live, and I won’t support AT&T (they’re the ones that started tiered data).

    1. They won’t care. Where are you gonna go? Let me guess, Sprint? It’s only a matter of time before Sprint does away with unlimited data as well. I am pissed like you as I have grandfathered data plan also. I’m just hoping that you can keep your unlimited data if you go month to month after your contract and don’t upgrade. I’ll pay full price for a phone if it keeps my data unlimited.

    2. Good thought but I just tried that complaining about their phone selection (not trying to start a different argument) and their response was, “We have a great selection. There’s Motorola’s, the Nexus, Stratosphere, and Spectrum.” Really?! So, I don’t think they’ll care.

  35. Well, that does it. Screw VZ after my next upgrade

  36. TING. Seriously

  37. Yeah, I may have to ditch Verizon now. I made sure to get my Droid X before they axed Unlimited and I knew it would be grandfathered to my Nexus for 4G. 4G easily uses 3-4GB a month without a lot of streaming. So I may tell Verizon to screw off for my next upgrade. This is complete bullshit and I’m tired of Verizon’s crap.

  38. Well isn’t this just a big FU to their early adopters who made them so successful in the first place. There’s no reason to be loyal to a company that isn’t loyal to you.

  39. My current contract is up in a month, will I need to renew to keep my unlimited?

  40. So this basically screws anybody that roms or roots their phones! If you dont realize it whenever we do that with a 4G phone, upon first boot we are greeted with that awaiting activation prompt, which means we could be pushed into those new tiers.

    We need some additional clarity into how this will be pushed onto our accounts, because even if we buy a new phone at full price, or used phone we would still have that activation prompt.

    Might have to go with a prepaid phone soon, because the incentive to stay under contract appears to be ending. Hell I have 15 more months but will still pay an early term fee, screw this.

  41. Quick question:
    If I started my Verizon contract on November 2010, how much longer will I have to wait until I’m able to upgrade?

    1. Typically, your contract is 2 years so it would be up in Nov 2012. They usually will allow you to upgrade early with no extra fees, and maybe even the reduced rate, after 18 months, which would make it… May 2012. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  42. We need some more clarity on the details with this… can you buy a phone out right and avoid this or will they just cut you off when the contract is up? When changing roms, will this cause issues? This is some serious bull shit Verizon!

  43. as a consumer, i have a choice….bitching in a verizon store about a policy WHILE signing another two year agreement is no going to change anything…say your leaving, if they dont care then actually leave….years and years ago people didnt have cellphones and its my understanding that people did not just drop dead….go to another carrier and save some cash…if they start bleeding customers things will change…

  44. Gah. I’m a 3rd party dealer, and they’re signing my death sentence. It already takes about 15 minutes to calm half of my customers down over no unlimited data option, higher initial device prices, new upgrade fees, why their upgrade credit went away, why the double price to cancel a smart phone, etc. I’m going to wind up beat to a pulp. *Eyes wide* Verizon, I could do with some of that $30 upgrade charge that you’re trying to explain away as “Dealer end Set-up pain”!

    That said, I understand a lot of what’s going on recently… At least from a business practice end. But I WILL be either switching carriers or purchasing every phone outright from this point on. We’re getting a glimpse of the future, folks – And it’s Dystopian. Won’t be long before Blade Runner becomes a documentary(Ok, maybe not.)

  45. I would assume they will take and make this take effect right before the launch of the Galaxy S III. I thought about switching to Sprint before but did not want to lose my grandfathered plan. If it hits before the S III I will no longer worry. I could get the EVO 4G LTE on Sprint and if the coverage sucks, go back to Verizon within my window since I would have lost the unlimited data either way. F*cking VZW.

  46. So happy I left VZ for sprint last year. Same service (in my area) so I don’t really care about 4g, but the 3G is pretty much the same for me and well, I use over 5 gb a month.

  47. I’ve already ranted about this on facebook and on cnet where I first read this. But I’m still feeling taken advantage of over this. It’s like Verizon is trying desperately to piss off as many loyal customers as possible, first with the $30 “upgrade” fee and now this. It’s a shame that Verizon gets all the best Android handsets, but I’ll gladly settle for an EVO 4G LTE on Sprint if I have to. I mean goodness! I get that Verizon would rather profit than please customers but they are acting like they can do no wrong to their patrons.

    Well I’m ready to do what many did to Netflix when they pulled all that garbage a while back with all their radical changes, I’m ready to go elsewhere for my smarphone fix. Go ahead all you elitists who don’t care how much you pay to be in Big Red’s club, I for one, am on a budget and if Sprint is cheaper then it’s cheaper, I don’t care if you make fun of their network or services. Heck, I’m still using a 3G phone anyway so not like I’ll feel the hurt as much as those who have had a taste of 4G and are hooked.

    1. Unfortunately, they are worrying about the only group they’ve ever really worried about, their whinny investors who want even steeper returns and who complain every time they spend a dime to invest in their network. Investors are short-sighted and hence so is the industry.

  48. This blows, got over a year til contract is up and if VZW is still pulling this garbage I’m going to start using Dixie cups and string for my wireless needs

  49. To me, this is totally incongruous. They advertise the fastest speeds and everything you can do with your phone, and then do everything they can do to discourage you from using it. While I understand that unlimited data forever is probably unrealistic, the fact that they can apparently unilaterally change the terms of the contract is very disconcerting. I will hold on completely passing judgment until we learn exactly what is replacing this with. A 2 GB limit per line would suck, but a 4 or 5GB cap per line would be somewhat reasonable. The normal users are subsidizing the heaviest users.

  50. Between their home service and our cell phones they get me for over $600 a month. Charging more for data now is gouging, ( 4g transfers at higher rates, taking less time, tying up the frequency less). So on a system that should be more efficient than 3g, you are going to get charged more. If anything they should drop prices. Can’t blame them for wanting to make more money, but not on me, not this way. If the other companies are smart they will take advantage of this, (Look at Ultra deal t mobile is offering now, beats , anything Verizon is offering) and make “switch” offers to get the customers from Verizon.

  51. Something tells me this is in preparation for the release of 4G LTE iphones this year.

  52. my LTE in Charlotte is lucky to reach 1MB down & .5MB up, after months of 15down & 7up–if Sprints LTE is coming by the time my contract is up–i might as well go with their 3G & be happier with unlimited data. screw caps.

  53. Can’t wait to see the mass exodus to Sprint, only to have Sprint do the same thing a year from now.

  54. I have the original droid incredible and have had it since it came up. I am clearly able to upgrade, but I like this phone. It does not have the latest technology, but it suits me fine. What I really like about it is the size. I am not a fan of the bigger screens like the Nexus. Knowing what will be coming this summer, when do you think I need to upgrade by and what phone should I get?? (keep in mind, I do not want a big screen). I know if I want the best, I will have to get a bigger phone, but I don’t want to so I guess I will have to settle without the best on the market. Suggestions?

  55. Here I (finally) come Sprint!

  56. Fortunately, my wife and I are on grandfathered unlimited 4G on our Galaxy Nexus phones. Though when our contract expires, we’ll weigh our options then.

  57. “One” can truly tell why VFG is called
    Big Red& it’s not for the color. It is just like the red river here in la and tx.,
    It lays around just waiting& Watching,
    Then before you know it ; it is outta its
    Bed and is all over you.And you.Are fondering around looking for a rescue
    And it tosses a rope just long enough to
    Get you.Back home. But all you saved is
    Gone.And you have to.Start over from g

  58. Most users crying are the ones who replaced their home internet with their smartphones,i am more then happy with my 4GB cap,as i never get near it,i had sprint and Virgin Mobile,might as well go back to dial-up i think its faster

  59. All I got to say about time we can share data I got three phones plus mifi 30 bucks a piece and 50 bucks for 5 gb on my mifi I never use all of the five gigs so I can’t wait.

  60. WOW!!! I’m surprised that Verizon is willing to lose all those customers. Most of the other companies are offering unlimited data. Now I myself do have an unlimited data plan but I don’t use nearly any of what I would need in a 2GB Plan, but still the thought of having to watch and be weary of my usage, I can do without.

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