The definition of "unlimited" has been getting murky lately.
In July T-Mobile added fine print to its Unlimited Data Plans indicating that users who use more than 21GB during a month will "have their data usage de-prioritized" on congested cell towers, sticking the heavy users in the slow lane relative to everyone else.
And last last month - AT&T defined "Unlimited" to be 22GB/mo for customers still clinging to grandfathered unlimited AT&T phone plans (iPad plans are not limited) - with "speed reductions" on congested towers to be imposed on users who cross over this threshold. This was actually an increase UP from the 5GB throttling threshold that AT&T used to enforce.
Not to be left behind - Sprint changed its mind about eliminating throttling (an initiative proudly announced in June), and last week announced that new Sprint unlimited customers will not only pay $10/mo more, they will also be subject to throttling after 23GB/mo usage.
Fortunately - only new Sprint customers are getting the bum deal. Current Sprint unlimited customers remain unthrottled... for now.
Sprint's blog post announcing the justification for throttling said, in part:
The 23GB threshold is typical in the industry and other carriers have already implemented a similar practice.
Will dictionaries around the world need to be updated to redefine "unlimited" as 23,000,000 bytes?
And more critically - would Verizon be next?
Verizon: Not Gonna Throttle!
Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo confirmed today in an interview with C-Net that Verizon is NOT going to slow down unlimited plan customers, no matter how much data they use.
"For a customer who signed up for unlimited, they're going to get unlimited. But we are increasing the price. These customers are consuming a lot of data. But we're not in the habit of throttling customers."
This is awesome news!
Verizon hasn't offered unlimited data plans to new customers in four years, but the remaining grandfathered unlimited plans are worth their weight in gold, especially for data-hungry RVers.
Verizon now has the only unthrottled unlimited plans around on a large nationwide network, and Verizon is the only carrier that does not restrict customers using their unlimited plans in mobile hotspots to get their computers and other gear online.
For RVers who work or homeschool on the road - an unlimited Verizon plan is worth jumping through hoops to acquire or rent.
Fortunately - we've seen prices dropping a bit recently on both sales and rentals of these old plans, likely in response to the monthly price increase going up.
For those who regularly need more than 20GB of data a month - there is no better option out there.
- Navigating Verizon Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plans – Assumption of Liability, Buying & Renting - Our freshly updated members-only guide to getting a Verizon unlimited data plan.
- Guide to Unlimited Mobile Internet Data Options for RVers