The Other Shoe Drops

It just came to my attention that Verizon has decided to raise the price of their Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plans by $20 per month (from $30 to $50). This is of particular interest to me, as I am one of those few brave souls still on that plan, which was last made available to Verizon Customers in 2011.

Now I am not a huge data hog, my monthly usage once maxed out at 16GB, but generally resides between 2 and 5GB. According to Verizon staffers, that is modest for an unlimited user.

I’m not mad at Verizon. I am out of contract, and they can do whatever they please. But the fact is that Big Red has eagerly embraced the brave new world of pay-for-data, and wants us to all be on tiered capped data plans with nice fat overage fees, on the very sensible grounds that that’s where the money is. But for those of us who are still on unlimited plans because we love the convenience of not having to count megabytes and gigabytes, this looks a lot like a slap in the face.

Last year, they had threatened to throttle unlimited data usage, then quietly backed away from it when the FCC determined that throttled unlimited was not really unlimited. I would not have had a problem with throttling if the bar were fairly high (say 10GB), but the fact is that a small number of bandwidth hogs may have been costing Verizon money. So in many ways this really needs to be blamed on the FCC.

So Verizon were caught between a rock (unlimited customers using massive amounts of data) and a hard place (can’t throttle big data users). This is doubly ironic to me — just a month ago I cut by bill from $80 to $60 a month (by cutting my voice minutes from 700 to 450), and her we are with Verizon slapping the $20 right back on again.

The way I see it, I have two options available to me:

  1. Stay with Big Red, pay the extra $20/month and turn my phone into a lean, mean downloading machine in an attempt to get my pound of flesh out of Verizon. Streaming movies from my home Plex media server over 4G is a neat way to entertain myself while pulling Gigabytes of data through “The Best Network” as Verizon modestly likes to refer to themselves. After all, Streaming Video features heavily in Verizon’s advertising, so it must be OK, right?
  2. Say “Sayonara Verizon”, end a business relationship that started in the last century, and take my business elsewhere. Page Plus (unlimited calls, texts and 5GB of 4G data per month for $55) is currently the front runner — and they use Verizon’s 4G LTE network, though it is bandwidth throttled to 5MBps as opposed to 20-40 for Verizon customers.

I have about a month to make up my mind. Time will tell.

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