It’s no secret that the major cell carriers are trying to ween customers off of their “grandfathered” unlimited data plans. I’m sure you have seen the commercials that are designed to entice folks to switch to one of the new “tiered” data plans.
While those new offers have indeed prompted many customers to give up their unlimited plans in order to qualify for the perks mentioned in the commercials, many more have stubbornly decided to stick with their current plans in order to keep taking advantage of their unlimited data allotments.
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re one of the folks who are still using one of those grandfathered plans (like I am), start preparing for the party to end before too long.
Some carriers have already made policy changes that will make it harder for customers to keep their old unlimited data plans when they come up for renewal.
For example, Verizon has already eliminated subsidized upgrades on all phones that are still using a grandfathered plan. That means if you own a phone with a grandfathered plan, you’ll have to buy your next replacement phone outright. In other words, a phone that would have previously qualified for either a massive discount or a free upgrade will now have to be purchased at full price.
And Verizon isn’t alone in their efforts to push people off of their grandfathered plans. AT&T now “throttles” the network speed for customers with unlimited data plans once their monthly data usage exceeds a certain threshold amount. Once such a customer’s data usage reaches that amount, his/ her mobile Internet speed will suddenly slow to a snail’s pace for the rest of that month.
Even with the changes described above, some customers will surely try to hold on to their grandfathered unlimited plans as long as possible. I know I sure will. But I fully expect the carriers to start getting even more aggressive in the tactics they use to induce us to switch to tiered plans. At some point the pain of hanging on will almost certainly exceed any benefit derived from having an unlimited data plan.
Bottom line: I recommend that we all start planning for life without the joy of unlimited data or else be prepared to start paying out the nose in one way or another for the privilege of keeping it. Unfortunately, such is the future of mobile data plans.