Verizon Wireless plans to eliminate its $30 per month unlimited data plan that it provides to customers who subscribed to the plan prior to the company’s transition to tiered data plans last July, Fierce Wireless reported on Wednesday. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said at the 40th J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference that once unlimited 3G data plan customers upgrade to 4G LTE, they will have to purchase the company’s shared data plan. “Everyone will be on data share,” Shammo said. The carrier’s shared data plans are scheduled to launch in the coming months, and will allow users to share a single pool of data between multiple devices. “If I can add as many devices as I want, that is more efficient from a family perspective and a small business perspective,” the CFO said. When asked how Verizon will migrate customers off their unlimited data plans, Shammo said that LTE will draw customers away from it. “A lot of our 3G base is on unlimited,” he said. “When they migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share. That is beneficial to us.” More →
Voyager Mobile, an MVNO that resells airtime on Sprint’s network, on Monday announced it will offer unlimited wireless plans for use on its nationwide 3G and 4G networks starting at $19 per month on May 15th. “Voyager Mobile aims to make wireless service much more affordable, putting today’s technology in the hands of subscribers nationwide at a lower and fixed monthly cost,” the company said in a press release. The new wireless company offers no-contract Android and Windows Phone handsets that operate on Sprint’s EV-DO 3G and WiMAX 4G networks. The $19 per month plans includes unlimited talk and text, while a second plan for $39 per month includes unlimited talk, text and data. The company will offer Sprint’s most popular Android smartphones, such as the Motorola Photon 4G, Samsung Galaxy Epic 4G Touch, Motorola XPRT and others, along with a mobile hotspot, two USB dongles and Android-based tablets from HTC and ZTE. Voyager Mobile’s press release follows below. More →
A new study from Parks Associates found that two-thirds of U.S. consumers are unwilling to spend more than $50 per month on mobile data plans, while almost half of smartphone users were unsure how much data they consumed each month. The report highlights the risks carriers face as they try to shift consumers from unlimited data plans to usage-based ones. “Moving mobile users to usage-based plans will be difficult and painful, but changes are necessary for operators to maintain revenues,” said Harry Wang, Director of Mobile Research at Parks Associates. “Operators would benefit by recasting mobile data services as experience-driven in order to reduce price sensitivity, fend off competition, and keep their mobile data revenue engine humming.” The firm believes that in order for carriers to maximize their revenues, they should tie in their offerings to popular apps and services, including TV, music, books, newspapers, games, location-based services, and social activities, rather than charging consumers per megabyte. Read on for Parks Associates’s press release. More →
Sprint, the nation’s third largest wireless carrier, is the only major wireless provider that continues to offer unlimited smartphone data plans. When its network finally landed Apple’s iPhone, many people feared unlimited data would be heading out the door. Sprint continued to offer the plans, however, and will continue to do so even after its 4G LTE network goes live later this year and once it launches Apple’s next-generation iPhone. ”I’m not anticipating the unlimited plan would change by that point,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse told CNET. “That’s our distinctive differentiator.” The CEO believes the decision to stick with unlimited data for the iPhone has proved helpful in the company’s mission to appeal to new customers. “Frankly, it’s a marriage made in heaven,” he said about the combination of unlimited and the iPhone. “We’re clearly attracting customers from our competitors.” Hesse stressed, however, that he didn’t know when Apple would release the next iPhone, or whether it would even have LTE. “Our expectation is that we will all get the same device at the same time,” he said. More →
Sprint is known for its unlimited data plans and it is currently the only major carrier that doesn’t throttle excessive data use. Following the announcement that Sprint planned to discontinue its WiMAX buildout and switch to the more widely used LTE standard, however, the company never mentioned whether its upcoming LTE network would continue to offer unlimited data plans. To clarify the issue, Sprint on Tuesday confirmed to TechHog that its 4G LTE devices “will be available on Sprint’s network featuring unlimited data.” While the carrier’s initial 4G LTE rollout will be limited, data-hungry users who are not pleased with AT&T and Verizon’s 2GB and 5GB plans may be tempted to switch to Sprint when the carrier’s LTE services begin to go live in the coming weeks and months. More →
A judge in Southern California last month awarded $850 to an iPhone user who was throttled on AT&T’s network. The plaintiff, Matt Spaccarelli, filed a small claims case against AT&T, arguing that the carrier unfairly slowed speeds on his iPhone 4 despite his unlimited data plan. Spaccarelli on Thursday took to Twitter to announce that the carrier will not appeal the decision and instead paid him $850 plus $85 for court fees. In an interview with Mashable, Spaccarelli revealed that AT&T was still throttling his phone, which had an average download speed of 0.31Mbps. He said he plans to use the money to cancel his service with the network before his contract is up and will also travel to an AT&T stockholders meeting in April in Salt Lake City. “To me the check means AT&T didn’t stand a chance in the appeal,” Spaccarelli said. “If they did, they wouldn’t have paid me.” Read on for more. More →
A judge in Southern California on Friday awarded $850 to an iPhone user who was throttled on AT&T’s network, according to the Associated Press. Judge Russell Nadel of Ventura Superior Court in Simi Valley found in favor of Matt Spaccarelli, who filed a small claims case against AT&T last month. Spaccarelli argued that the carrier unfairly slowed speeds on his iPhone 4′s unlimited data plan and said his phone was being throttled after using a mere 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of data per month, even though AT&T’s 3GB monthly plan costs the same price of $30 per month. Judge Nadel awarded Spaccarelli $85, instead of the $10,000 he requested, for each of the 10 months left on his contract — totaling to $850. More →
In an effort to justify its policies surrounding data service throttling for subscribers with unlimited smartphone data plans, AT&T on Tuesday issued a brief report regarding data usage on its nationwide wireless network. Senior EVP of AT&T technology and network operations John Donovan wrote on a company blog that data traffic on AT&T’s network has grown a staggering 20,000% over the past five years. Usage has doubled between 2010 and 2011 according to the executive, due in large part to the proliferation of smartphones. AT&T sold more smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2011 than in any other quarter in its history. And because its smartphone subscribers use so much data, AT&T seems to suggest it has no choice but to put measures such as data throttling in place. Read on for more. More →
AT&T’s stance on unlimited data is once again in the spotlight as a new wave of smartphone users cry foul over the carrier’s questionable policies. The nation’s No.2 carrier does not currently offer an unlimited data plan to its smartphone subscribers. Instead, there are three available data plans that include “soft” caps, allowing subscribers to continue using data services for additional fees after the soft cap is reached in a billing period. Users who have been with AT&T since before the carrier switched to tiered data plans — loyal customers who have in some cases maintained the same account in good standing for more than a decade — had the option to retain their unlimited data plans when AT&T first made the move to tiered plans. While heavy users were initially relieved when the opportunity to retain their old unlimited plans presented itself, that relief has quickly turned to disdain. Read on for more. More →
T-Mobile and Walmart announced on Tuesday that the Walmart Family Mobile plan now offers unlimited talk, text and web for $45 per month. Additional lines cost just $35 per month. Until Tuesday, Walmart’s plan did not offer unlimited web access, but there’s a big catch: the unlimited data doesn’t always provide 3G data speeds. Instead, those who sign up before March 16th will be able to consume up to 5GB of data at 3G speeds. After March 31st, however, new customers will only be able to surf at 3G speeds for the first 250MB. Customers interested in purchasing the plan can do so in any nationwide Walmart store or by visiting Walmart.com. T-Mobile and Walmart said the decision to add unlimited data was because 44% of first-time smartphone buyers so far this year have said the high cost of data has been No.1 reason they delayed buying a smartphone.
Almost every one of Sprint’s recent commercials takes aim at other carriers’ data caps and throttling, while the Now Network promotes “truly unlimited” data. However, on Wednesday reports began to circulate that Sprint throttles the top 1% of unlimited data users. Sprint responded to these claims and assured customers that it is indeed the only carrier with truly unlimited smartphone data. “Sprint does not throttle any postpaid phone data users for on-network or off-network usage,” a Sprint representative posted on the company’s website. “Sprint is the only national carrier offering smartphone users truly unlimited data with no throttling, metering or overages while on the Sprint network.” The company clarified that it has various “terms and conditions which prohibit certain types of data use that may impair other customers’ usage or harm or interfere with the network.” Sprint claims CEO Dan Hesse was referring to the company’s right to terminate the service of users who violate these terms when he said “for those that want to abuse it, we can knock them off.” More →
Republic Wireless, a Sprint MVNO that launched in November, announced late last week that it is ditching its “fair use threshold” and is now offering a truly unlimited talk, text and data plan for $19 a month. When the carrier first made its debut, it advertised “unlimited data” but said it reserved the right to kick customers off of its network if they abused the unlimited data offering and exceeded the usage outlined in its fair use policy. “Some of your feedback about our CUI concept and fair use thresholds ranged from confusion to extreme criticism, with a wide variety of thoughts and suggestions in between,” Republic Wireless’s general manager Brian Dally said in a company blog post. “Some judged our marketing to be ‘deceptive.’ Others felt our concepts were just too complicated, and unnecessary to expose to end users.” He continued, “Rather than revising our fair use policy, we’ve decided not to have one at all. There will simply be no thresholds, and no risk of losing service.” There is still one caveat, however: Republic Wireless is currently offering its “unlimited data” plan with a beta label and it will re-evaluate whether or not to continue offering unlimited data at the end of the beta. Republic Wireless routes its customers’s data over Wi-Fi networks and only uses Sprint’s 3G network when Wi-Fi isn’t available. More →
AT&T on Friday responded to claims that it throttles the data speeds of smartphone users on tiered data plans once their monthly data allotment has been surpassed. A report from TechSpot on Thursday claimed that AT&T users on tiered data plans were not just being charged overages when their soft caps were exceeded, but also hit with reduced data speeds until their current billing periods ended. An AT&T spokesperson confirmed to BGR via email that this is not the case, however. As BGR reported in July, data-speed throttling applies only to smartphone users with grandfathered unlimited data plans, the spokesperson confirmed. Subscribers with AT&T’s newer tiered data plans are charged overages when they exceed their monthly data allotment in a single billing period, but their throughput is not affected.