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Verizon Confirms Plans To Drop Unlimited Data

Basking Ridge, N.J. -Verizon
Wireless plans sometime this summer to drop its flat-fee unlimited-data plan
for new smartphone users.

Verizon will replace it with tiered
plans offering capped amounts of usage at different price points, a
spokesperson confirmed.

At some point, the carrier will
also offer family data plans, that like family voice/text plans, will enable a
family to share a bucket of megabytes, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson confirmed a


quoting Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo about the carrier’s
data plans. Analysts see carriers

away from offering only unlimited-data smartphone plans

, as AT&T did
last year, to reduce the capacity strains on their networks as smartphone
adoption explodes. Offering less expensive tiered plans will also expand the
potential smartphone user base, generating additional income for carriers,
analysts said.

Verizon Wireless currently offers
a $29.99/monthly smartphone data plan allowing for unlimited use. For awhile
beginning last October through early this year, Verizon began offering a $15/
month data plan for 150MB of data on an experimental basis while maintaining
its $29.99 unlimited-use plan.

In June 2010, AT&T dropped
its $30/month unlimited-data plan to launch two options: $15 for 200MB and $25
for 2GB.

For its part, Sprint offers combined
voice/data plans with unlimited data, and it offers data-plan add-ons to voice
plans at $15 and $30/month. T-Mobile also offers combined voice/data plans that
include data. Some of those plans include unlimited data, though some throttle
back speeds once 2GB or 5GB of data are consumed, the carrier’s web site shows.
The carrier also offers voice/data plans that include 200MB of data.