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Clarification: When Will You Be Forced Into Verizon’s New Shared Data Tiers?

Thoughout the last day, we noticed in the comments that there seems to be this belief that Verizon is going to forget that you signed a contract and simply force you immediately onto a shared data plan tier and off of your unlimited plan. That’s just not the case, at least it shouldn’t be, so we wanted to help clarify everything that went down yesterday, as best as we can. 

When VZW’s CFO Fran “ShamWow” Shammo said that they would migrate unlimited customers to shared data tiers, he said some key words along the way. The most important were “as you come through an upgrade cycle” and “upgrade in the future.” What he is saying, is that as you complete your current contract and then upgrade, that you won’t have the option to keep your current plan. From what we assume, Verizon is moving from a singular model of per line or per customer data plans to a shared or account structure, so while we don’t know the exact details of those plans, it sounds as if the only available plans in the future will be shared data. Whether you are by yourself or not, it will all just be one pool of data to pull from on your account. (That last part is me speculating of course.)

Back to this “upgrade cycle” stuff though. When Verizon launches their shared data tiers this summer, they aren’t going to force you immediately onto them. They, per your contract, have to wait until you upgrade to a new phone or renew to change your data or minute plan. While they plan to launch these new plans this summer, they won’t affect you until your current contract runs out. For some of you, especially those that just bought a new phone within the last few months and signed a new contract, won’t have to deal with shared data tiers for almost 2 years. (At least in theory and possibly, legally.)

Shammo even said during his speech on generating revenues through this model, that it is going to take quite some time before everyone is on shared data tiers. We assume he mentioned that because of all of the current contract-locked subscribers they have. Again, you have a contract that Verizon can’t simply void just to get you onto a new data structure. If they do, that usually means you have the option to opt-out and can then take your business elsewhere if you please.

*Note – We see that some of you are wondering if this only applies to 3G customers or if it will affect 4G LTE customers too. It is my understanding that this is for everyone. Shammo specifically called out 3G to 4G customers because they likely have a ton of customers in that situation. I see no reason why Verizon would keep 4G customers separate from this new data structure. Most 4G customers just simply do not have contracts that are ending any time soon.

The only tricky situation here is how they plan to deal with accounts that have multiple lines that have contracts ending at different times. Say you have a line that’s contract ends in September, but your main line’s doesn’t until next February. If you sign a new deal in September on that separate line, how will its data package work and how will it affect the rest of your lines? We should know shortly.

To recap, what we are trying to say is that shared data tiers shouldn’t be of concern until your current contract runs out. Verizon will launch them this summer, but as long as you are under 2-year agreement with them, you shouldn’t care until that agreement is over.

Now, keep in mind that this is all information based off of years of contracts and policy changes with Verizon. Big Red could always change it up, void all of your contracts, force you onto tiers, and create a giant whirlwind of destruction. That all just seems far too unlikely though.

  • loalpine

    Why can’t they adjust the network, not our plans, internet is not a natural resource, we are not running out of it!!!! Its growing at an exponential rate. In theory your going to have to make the system larger eventually, why not build it now before you limit your valued customer to frigging 2 gb per. Wtf, it’s not like we get the service for free, ,we pay for it evey monthwith out hesitation, some in excess of 300 dollars. Give a break. We dont deserve thia and please excuse my grammar. My verizon 4g lte phone is acting. Funny….

  • coolsilver

    I want to break my family share into indivdual plans and drop a line and keep unlimited data

  • balthuszar

    after reading this article, i believe as some do, that this switch to shared data is aimed squarely at iphone users…if cnn is to be believed, they are only forcing the switch on customers who switch from 3G to 4G with their upgrade. while the story suggests that they do not know how this will affect people already on 4G with unlimited…there is hope

  • Dominick_7

    If I have to I will buy the Galaxy Note/Journal at FULL RETAIL price to keep my unlimited with Verizon, assuming these guys get it soon, as in within a month or two at most. If they don’t soon, I’ll be using my $50+$50 credit from Best Buy to move to AT&T to buy the Note from them. But if Verizon tries to cut off unlimited Im gone. Had it with their nonsense.

  • Tyler Chappell

    “Say you have a line that’s contract ends in September, but your main line’s doesn’t until next February. If you sign a new deal in September on that separate line, how will its data package work and how will it affect the rest of your lines? We should know shortly.”

    That’s the part I am eager to find out. Me, my brother, and my mom are all one one account, with my mom’s account being the main one. I got my Thunderbolt in April 2011, my brother got his Bionic in Sept 2011, and my mom just got her Lucid in April 2012 with the 4GB promo. So while my contract wont expire until April next year, I can upgrade as early as December, I guess it just depends what phones are available that will determine when I want to upgrade.

    • balthuszar

      this is my thinking, and it may be so far off base it’s not even funny…but as long as you don’t change the main line, there’s not really much they can do

  • JAstro13

    This is pretty shady. Way to reward your loyal customers Verizon! What’s that? You’ve had Verizon for over 10 years? Oh, hey thanks…we are just going to treat you like a number now…

  • Marko343

    And with the unlimited going away I would like to not have ANY Bloatware or services from VZW installed on my phone that will use a kb of data unless I want it to.

  • Marko343

    This just plain sucks, as tech advances and prices goes down data plans just get more ridiculous. There is no competition anymore. Every carrier will have some form of tiered data plans priced accordingly. I can see “savings” for people who only use under 2gb a month and having it priced accordingly but but why not just keep the unlimited option as it stands?

    Faster speeds that move more data, apps that are bigger and more data intensive, everyone offering some form of cloud storage where everything syncs all the time. Just eating data. Every carrier just trying to trap us at every possible opportunity.

  • Genius

    If you have multiple lines on your account, simply alternate upgrade a basic phone on your account to the new smartphone you want. Then change it over to your line. Bam! The unlimited feature on your plan will not change because you simply changed devices. Obviously this would only work if you have a few lines that don’t all have unlimited data features themselves.

  • possomcrast

    “tired data plans are better and more simple for the customer to customize their plan” WHATS MORE SIMPLE THAN UNLIMITED?!!

  • Why can’t everyone just have unlimited data forever

  • moozicmon

    I wonder how this will affect hardware change. There is no new contract generated to activate a device.unless it is a plan change so activating a new device should have no impact. So in theory, if I buy my phone outright and activate while still going month to month there should be no change…


  • Anon

    What most of you all fail to realize is that your 2 year contract does not become void after the two years are over. Under US Contractual Law the contract is automatically renewed as long as both parties continue to provide their obligatory conditions of the contract i.e. you continue to pay Verizion, they must provide you the service stipulated in the original contract. If one party wishes to change the terms of the contract that would require consent by both parties i.e. Verizon cannot change the terms without you agreeing to the new terms which is basically a new contract. That is why Verizon’s upgrade cycle is every 18 months and not every 24 months. Because if you were to look at your contract and actually read it, you would notice that you are only under obligation to pay for 24 months after that time period your contract goes under a month to month pay schedule under the terms of the previous contract. This is why they offer subsidized phones, this is why they must wait until your upgrade is due or you initiate a change on your account. They cannot legally force you into a tiered plan without your consent, and even if you brought a new device to your current plan they would not be able to change your contract because a device change is not part of the contract for cellular service. So buying a device at full price even if you bought that device directly from Verizon, they would be forced to activate that device on their network for you to utilize on your contract that is for cellular service.

  • derp

    I bet they will stall phone releases for this….

  • You know your phone bill is expensive when you can get the entire master collection and more from the Adobe Creative Suite for cheaper.

    • rob

      how can you do that?

      • Monthly payments are 30 dollars for students and 50 for everyone else. Best part is that your version updates automatically when a new one comes out.

  • Brad

    Im so sick of these greedy corporations. Verizon can go to hell. I refuse to pay more for data. Ill just find another carrier. So long Verizon.

  • Silent Majority

    So, the real question is, when do i need to get a new phone by to ensure i can still keep my unlimited plan?

  • MrEnglish

    No worries. VZW is not the end all carrier, nor is not having unlimited data a death sentence. It’s consumer unfriendly, it’s insulting for a loyal base, but it’s not apocalyptic. The only people I see getting really hurt are those that stream the crud out of music and movies and they’re probably the ones who use the most bandwidth without a real need anyway. Business users have always had a handle on managing data (least the ones I know). Either way, if there’s a way around it, we’ll find, if there’s not, we’ll either suck it up or switch to a better carrier.

  • LEGAL ACTION!!!!!!!

  • Chidoro

    Also, unlimited ended in the beginning of July last year. Most 4G contracts are already abiding by some data cap

  • Devilsephiroth

    I just upgraded, I’ll buy my phones from Google now and never upgrade

  • Mike Boodoo

    I have an upgrade available on one of my lines so I called in to see what the deal was if I wanted to upgrade next month (I am planning to)
    The woman didn’t know anything about this at first and said I shouldn’t go by news on sites without Verizon sources.
    I pointed out that it was their CFO and Spokesperson making these statements and she looked into it further.
    Came back and said that they do not have many details on pricing or how they will work in the new shared plans and will not be forcing anyone off their unlimited plans when they come around.
    She assured me that even if I used the upgrade that I will keep unlimited. I want to believe her but she just seemed so misinformed. My guess is because its still relatively early news and not everyone on their end got the memo.

  • Kingo

    Sprint here I come!!! Good bye Verizon

  • Dazz1996

    Like Nokia said, the beta test is now over!!!

  • Sylense

    The “OPTION” of shared data is cool for those who it suits but forcing people to give up their current unlimited plan is stupid and nothing more than a sheer sign of greed. Funny how the voice plans aren’t forced to work in a “shared” matrix. I can have an individual or family shared plan. We all knew last year before they killed off unlimited plans that they would try to find a loophole to drop the grandfathered plans too….. And here we are.

  • CdtDelta

    I might have actually picked 4G if Verizon’s 4G network was actually STABLE in Chicago. But since it isn’t, I’ll stick with my unlimited thank you ver much….

  • eazy

    This is bull the only reason people thought that we were all doomed is because of the way you Kellex presented the news…since when did droid-life become a hub of doomsayers

  • subsity

    Just called verizon they said it affects the 3g customers and peolle who do upgrades they said once our contract expires we keep our unlimited unless we upgrade or use ahope that is true 3g only phone

    • r0lct

      Sounds nice, but trusting a support rep won’t get you very far.

  • pokemontez

    I complete my 2 years in August, but I’m eligible for an early upgrade now.
    Would it be wise to get a subsidized phone and extend my 2 year unlimited plan, or are they going to somehow give me a colonoscopy

    • RobMorris

      Id upgrade now

    • r0lct

      I would check how much data you consume in a month.

  • axelfoley

    all this said, should i use my upgrade now and get the razer maxx before all of these changes start. i’ve had my droid x since it came out and was wating for the next best thing, but with this news, i feel like i should go and get a 4g phone now and just ride it out till the end.

  • David

    If this is how they are going to treat their long-time, loyal customers (14 years and counting), then I believe that I have already signed my LAST contract with them.

    • Ron Jeremy

      Calm down.. None of this has even happened yet!

    • Scott

      14 year customer of a company that was founded in 2000? That’s a random thing to lie about.

  • Philip A. Kaiser

    They will sucker people into the new plans by offering free phones. When Verizon bought Alltel, I was offered a free device on every line to change to a Verizon plan. I declined. Years later, I am still on the Alltel data smart 500 shared plan. 2 x4G devices with unlimited data, 1 regular line, all have unlimited text, nights weekends, mobile to mobile and shared 500 minutes for under $150/mo. To top it off, my lines are staggered 8mos apart so I can upgrade 3 times a cycle.

    • except when you sign a contract you have to change plans. Verizon will not give you a discount on the phone if you do not have a current supported plan. That is what they are saying the article as well. I used to work for a Alltel/VZW agent and when you choose contract you are prompted to switch. Not sure how you are getting by with this but you either very lucky or not going to corporate store and an Agent found a loophole in the system to allow phone upgrades without plan upgrades as well.

      • Philip A. Kaiser

        I never use the stores. 90% of the time I use the same agent when my time is up. I have her email and she has always hooked me up when I renew. Usually get my phone and she’d throw in $60 in accessories. Not sure how but I have had my alltel plan since my Palm Treo. Lol

  • They obviously received a lot of calls on this or they wouldn’t directly do a press release for it… When I called vzw earlier today the rep assured me this is for people migrating from 3G to 4g devices. She also said that as long as I am on 4g with unlimited grandfathered that I should be able to keep it as long as I keep my accounts in good standing. Just a thought for all the people out there worried about it.. I still am worried they will force me off of unlimited data but time will tell..