In July Verizon caused a mild panic by sending out letters to roughly 1,200 "excessive" heavy data users with out-of-contract unlimited data plans, telling them that their plans were being summarily canceled on August 31st.
Verizon then moved against many gray-market providers of unauthorized rental unlimited plans, in many cases shutting down service without notice - leaving hundreds of customers cut off from their sweet fountains of unlimited data.
We've all been wondering ever since - was there more to come?
Unfortunately - it seems that Verizon's assault on grandfathered unlimited data plans is continuing.
Today - many customers who have been using an Unlimited Data Line in Verizon's "4G LTE Broadband Router with Voice" (aka Novatel T1114) reported receiving distressing letters in the mail, saying in part:
"After reviewing our records, we noticed that you are using your LTE Internet and Home Phone device with an unlimited data plan that is designed for smartphones. Please contact customer care to change your plan to one that is compatible with your device.
If you don't change your plan to one that is compatible with your device by October 31, 2016, this line will be disconnected."
Even customers who had UDP lines still actively under contract reported getting this letter.
Though very few RVers have ever used the T1114 router, this device in practice is really nothing more than a large-scale cellular hotspot - not much different under the hood than Jetpack devices like the popular Netgear AC791L or Novatel 6620L that so many RVers rely on.
Would unlimited lines in these Jetpacks and other data only devices be the next to get canceled?
What are the best ways to protect a Verizon Unlimited Data Line?
The 4G LTE Broadband Router with Voice (T1114)
Verizon offers the 4G LTE Broadband Router with Voice (T1114) or LTE Internet and Home Phone Router (T1114V - a newer model) to home customers who are interested in replacing their traditional phone and internet service with a home router that is connected via Verizon's LTE cellular network behind the scenes.
This router would then provide wired ethernet and home Wi-Fi service that shared in a customer's regular monthly Verizon Plan data bucket, and it even provided a traditional phone jack for plugging in an old-school wired home phone.
Because it is a bulky desktop device requiring AC power, few RVers have embraced the T1114. But a lot of rural customers who had no other fast way online made the the T1114 the center of their home network.
Though Verizon never officially offered an unlimited data plan that supported the T1114, many people discovered that they could transplant the service or SIM cards from grandfathered smartphone plans into the T1114 - enabling unlimited data for an entire household.
But not anymore.
This isn't a completely unexpected move - we reported in July that many customers with unlimited plans in T1114 devices were getting "Data Blocks" put onto their account that they would have to keep calling to have removed.
But no other mobile routers or Jetpacks were having any similar issues.
Clearly something deep in Verizon's systems had decided that Unlimited lines just weren't compatible with the T1114 home router.
So now Verizon is making it official - and canceling service for anyone who does not switch to a "compatible" (and no longer unlimited) plan.
The best theory we've heard as to the root cause is that it actually has nothing to do with the data half of the unlimited plan, but that the incompatibility is rooted in the voice line.
A "smartphone" voice line and a "residential" voice line are not the same inside Verizon's billing systems, and the T1114 provides a residential voice line and every unlimited data plan plan has some sort of smartphone voice line attached.
This is very likely why regular Jetpacks and cellular routers have not had any issues - they do not have a phone jack or any way to take advantage of a voice line, whether residential or smartphone.
The other key thing that sets the T1114 apart - though it has a SIM card, it was never intended to be user-removable and it requires taking the router apart with a screwdriver to change.
This is yet another potential reason why the T1114 a very different beast than regular Jetpack hotspots in Verizon's eyes.
Can You Save a T1114 Data Line Pending Disconnect?
Verizon's disconnect letter went out to all customers using a UDP line in a T1114 router, whether they were under contract or not.
The letter seems to leave no path forward that will allow you to keep the unlimited data plan - and almost certainly unlimited data in a T1114 is now a thing of the past.
But - it is possible that Verizon may be willing to save lines that are put back into a smartphone.
If you have gotten this letter, try transplanting the SIM card back into a smartphone and contacting Verizon support.
Once we've heard from some people who have succeeded (or failed) in saving their lines this way, we will update our members.
Verizon is clearly continuing to make moves impacting UDP lines, and a lot of uncertainty remains.
We are keeping our extremely in depth guide to getting (and keeping) a Verizon unlimited data plan constantly updated with our guidance:
The basic information is freely available - though the in-depth guide, full list of reliable rental and AOL plan vendors, current best practices for keeping UDP lines in contract, and ongoing guidance on how to protect a plan are exclusively for the paid supporters of this site.
MIA Members: We are also keeping a thread updated in the Special Announcements section of the forum with every update we make about the Verizon UDP crackdown, and with some more insider info and tips. Members can subscribe to this thread if you want to get email alerts as soon as any new updates are posted. If you have additional questions, feel free to start a thread in the Q&A Discussion Forum.
And if you are not yet a member and want to follow along or get our more in-depth guidance on best protecting your plan, you can join this site here.
We have published our updated thoughts on the best ways to keep your Unlimited Line safe as a MIA Insider's Tip below too (members, log in to see these special members tips.).
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