Verizon Wireless will no longer be allowing customers on a grandfathered unlimited data plan to upgrade to a 4G LTE smartphone without changing plans when the carrier launches its tiered data share plans in mid-summer. Executive Vice President and CFO Fran Shammo announced the news during an investors conference this morning. "LTE is our anchor point for data share, so as you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto the data share plan, moving away from the unlimited world," he said. "So when you think about our 3G base — a lot of our 3G base is unlimited — as they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan, and that's beneficial for us for many reasons, obviously."
Unlimited data is a concept that has been heading towards extinction for some time now, and Verizon's decision to no longer honor the plans with LTE-capable devices will only expedite the process. AT&T continues to honor grandfathered unlimited plans for 4G upgrades, and Sprint remains the lone major carrier that still allows new customers to sign up for the privilege. Verizon had already been making a clear distinction between LTE and its legacy 3G network, offering data-doubling promotions exclusively to those shopping for an 4G-capable handset.