Demise of Verizon’s Unlimited Data Much Ado About Nothing

There’s been ballyhoo lately over news that Verizon Wireless will eventually eliminate its $30-per-month unlimited data plan.

The hubbub may be for nothing.

The change won’t have a significant impact for most subscribers, according to a study conducted by Validas, a company that provides mobile intelligence.

After studying the 2011 usage of more than 6,000 lines, Validas found that a negligible .04 percent will likely demand more data than what will be available on Verizon’s biggest 4G LTE tiered plan: 22 gigabytes for $100 a month.

“So, as long as you’re not a top .04 percent data hog, it’s unlikely that a tiered plan necessarily means you lose the same kind of access you enjoyed with unlimited,” Validas said.

The study also found costs won’t rise significantly for most VzW customers who move to a tiered plan. About 95 percent of VzW users consume less than 2 GB, and the 2 GB and 4 GB tiered plans on Verizon’s 3G and 4G LTE networks both cost $30. Bottom line: Those customers aren’t expected to shell out any more money immediately upon transitioning to a tiered plan.

However, due to the growing demand for data, a larger percentage of customers could soon need more bandwidth. Still, Validas found that the average unlimited subscriber ended 2011 using only 9 percent more data than when he or she began the year.

“In other words, that average user probably has a significant way to go until he or she needs a more expensive plan,” Validas concluded.

Following the remarks of Verizon’s CFO during an investor conference, Verizon Wireless recently clarified to The New York Times that it’s not immediately nixing its unlimited data plan.

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