Verizon Overhauls Data Plans, Hikes Prices

Customers Can Now Carry Over Data, but Only for One Month

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Verizon's new pricing structure for data plans
Verizon's new pricing structure for data plans Credit: Verizon
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Verizon confirmed Wednesday that it was revamping its plans, a move that will come with increased prices of at least $5 per month.

The new plans will have increased data allotments of at least 30% than previously offered, the company said. All its plans, from "small" to "XXL," will include unlimited calling and texting and will now also include carryover data, which will allow customers who didn't use all of their data to roll it over to the next month.

But the company will only allow carryover for one month, a move that executives said during a press conference Wednesday was designed to "keep it simple" and to allow customers to manage their data on a monthly basis, as it can get confusing if data is carried over for months at a time.

Rolling over data, of course, is not unique to Verizon. AT&T has a similar plan that carries over data to the next month, while T-Mobile's allows people to carry over data for a year.

Marketing for the new plans will begin tomorrow, though other details weren't immediately available.

The company said Wednesday that its customers in April this year used an average of 2.7GB per month, up from 1GB per month three years earlier. The cheapest plan, "small," which includes 2GB of data, will go up in price by $5 to $35. The priciest plan, XXL, will now have 24GB of data and will cost $110. It's worth noting that the plans charge a $20-per-month access fee for additional lines, so plans with multiple lines could end up costing significantly more.

Verizon has long been known for being more expensive than its competitors, especially T-Mobile, which has been giving Verizon, AT&T and Sprint increased competition with its aggressive discounting.

The move to increase data comes as more customers are using more data, thanks in part to the proliferation of video. People are increasingly watching Netflix and other streaming services, like Verizon's Go90, on their phones, along with live-streaming services like Facebook Live.

Verizon is also offering a safety-mode feature, which will move a customer's network connection from 4G LTE to throttled 128 kbps speeds if they hit their data limits, and they won't be charged extra. The feature will be free for customers who are on the XL or XXL data plan, but those with the smaller plans will be charged $5 per month if they choose to add safety mode.

During the press conference, Jeff Cha, VP-total experience at Verizon, said the safety mode is offered for free to larger plan customers because they are the ones that use the most data and are more likely to go over their limits.

It's also adding a "data boost" feature that will give customers the option of adding a 4G LTE gigabyte of data for $15.

As for international calling, customers with XL and XXL plans can get unlimited talk and text from the U.S. to Mexico and Canada. They can also use their data plan, along with unlimited talk and text, when they're in Mexico and Canada. For those on the smaller plans, they can pay $5 per line per month for calls from the U.S.

The company also announced a revamped My Verizon app, which it said will make it easier for people to manage their plans, shop for new devices, check their data usage and use Verizon's customer support services.

Verizon "simplified" its plans last summer when it moved its data packages to sizes "small" through "XXL."