Verizon's New Tiered Data Plans: What You Need to Know
By Alex Colon, PCMag.com
July 6, 2011 — Verizon this week confirmed that new, tiered data plan pricing will go into effect on Thursday, July 7. These plans, which cover all Verizon smartphones, including the Apple iPhone 4, do away with Verizon's previously unlimited data caps and swap in some less compelling options.

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We knew this was coming. Verizon announced in January that it would ditch its 150MB $15 monthly plan and require new smartphone users to subscribe to its $30 unlimited plan. That move, announced several days before Verizon unveiled its version of the iPhone, was intended to attract new customers to Verizon and the iPhone, Fran Shammo, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Telecom and Business, said in March.

How does this affect you? Here are the main points you should know about the new data plans.

What do the new data plans cost?
Data was previously $30 per month for unlimited use. The new plans are $30 for 2GB per month, $50 for 5GB, and $80 for 10GB. Feature phone users with Internet-compatible phones can choose to pay $10 for 75MB per month.

What if I already have an unlimited data plan?
Luckily, the new tiered pricing won't yet affect customers who currently have an unlimited data plan with Verizon. They can even upgrade to a new phone without having to switch to a tiered plan.

What about Mobile Hotspot users?
A number of newer Verizon phones have come with the option for free Mobile Hotspot mode, allowing users to share their network connection with a number of Wi-Fi enabled devices. Customers currently using this promotion will now have to pay $30 per month for unlimited Mobile Hotspot use. New customers will have to pay $20 for 2GB of extra mobile hotspot data per month.

What happens if I go over my data plan limit?
Users who go over their data limit will be charged $10 per gigabyte. Given the costs of the new usage-based pricing structure, this seems to fall in line.

Do any other carriers offer unlimited data plans?
Now that Verizon has switched to tiered data plans, Sprint is the only major U.S. wireless provider to offer unlimited data. Sprint's Everything Data plan provides unlimited data access, along with a 450 minute calling plan, starting at $69.99 per month. Keep in mind that Verizon's new data plan pricing is for data only—a calling plan is a separate charge. T-Mobile offers unlimited talk and text messaging along with "unlimited" data that throttles after 2GB for $79.99 per month, while AT&T offers 2GB of data for $25 per month (again, this price is just for data only).