Well it was nice while it lasted. Just like AT&T dropped unlimited data plans in June 2010 for its iPhone customers, Verizon will cap data in the coming months. The switch to tiered data plan offerings is expected to happen this summer, in advance of the iPhone 5 launch.
Verizon CFO Fran Shammo announced the plan to move ahead with tiered data plans on the iPhone during an investor conference. Shammo also explained that consumers might not be thrilled when they're stuck with an iPhone 4 contract after the next generation device is launched by Apple.
Verizon will likely follow AT&T and continue existing unlimited data plans for current iPhone owners until they decided to upgrade. Recent reports have stated that even AT&T is quietly reinstating unlimited data plans to hold onto iPhone customers amid competition from Verizon. Until February of this year AT&T Mobility was the exclusive US carrier of the Apple iPhone.
AT&T made a similar move with iPad data plans, requiring iPad users who discontinue their unlimited plan to sign up for a tiered plan when reconnecting. Verizon's tiered data plans have not yet been finalized, however AT&T currently offers subscribers the choice of $15 per month for 200 MB or $25 per month for 2 GB. Anything over the limit costs $10 per gigabyte. Verizon's current unlimited data plan is required for all iPhone 4 users and runs $30 per month.Analysts expect that Verizon will make the change in data plan offerings to coincide with the iPhone 5 launch, which could come as early as this summer. Some reports have hinted that the iPhone 5 could be delayed until fall due to component shortages and a late iPad 2 launch. Wireless carriers make a large portion of their profits from smartphone data plans, and capping plans makes sure there's enough bandwidth to go around. iPhone users are notoriously heavy data users thanks to the multimedia and app-based focus of the device.