In the process of researching our guide to acquiring a Verizon Unlimited Data plan, I've spent a lot of time over the past few weeks closely watching eBay prices on these plans fluctuate.
With Verizon's announcement on October 1st that they were backing down on plans to throttle unlimited plans, I had actually been expecting to see the prices heading upward.
Instead - especially over the past few days, they have been tanking.
Tanking to the point that I'm now seeing legit looking plans on eBay selling for as little as $29, and people on forums actually GIVING these plans away. The market is suddenly flooded with Verizon Unlimited Data plans, where just a month ago they were exceedingly rare and valuable.
With a glut of plans on the market, it makes sense for sellers to be eager to get out from under paying Verizon $70+ a month to keep these plans going. Sellers with plans still under 2 year contracts are especially eager to get out from under their obligation.
But where on earth did all these plans come from? What on earth is going on?!?
I've been digging to get to the bottom of it tonight, and found the culprit...
The iPhone 6.
It turns out, if you are ordering an iPhone 6 from Apple.com and choose to "add a line" to a plan that has an unlimited data line already on it, a seeming glitch in the ordering page gives you the option of adding unlimited data to the new line too.
And - you still get to keep the massively subsidized discount price on the iPhone purchase, getting you out the door for as little as $199 (plus a new two year contract on the new line).
It didn't take long for people to put the pieces together and realize that they could have up to five lines on these old accounts, and you could thus buy four new iPhones at a discount. Then, without ever breaking the shrink-wrap on the phones, you could sell the new unlimited data lines (with the two year contract attached), and then once the iPhone line was contract free you could flip it on eBay or Swappa.com as being "New In Box" or "Mint". With the iPhone being in such incredibly high demand, these phones were quickly selling for well over list price. Kaching! (Prices are dropping as more people start playing this game, so be careful!)
There are people on a MacRumors forum thread bragging about having made flipping phones a full-time job over the past month, buying 30+ phones and unlimited data plans using this process.
Amazingly - the loophole is still open on Apple's iPhone 6 ordering page as of October 20th, 2014. I was just able to confirm that our newly acquired unlimited plan line is capable of spawning four more if we wanted to:
Verizon had been working for years to try and push unlimited data lines towards extinction, and now they are being spawned like mad through this loophole.
This leaves Verizon in a tough spot.... If they move to cancel unlimited plans, they will probably need to let everyone with an unlimited plan out of their contracts without paying an early termination fee. With every new unlimited plan spawned, that kill-switch becomes an increasingly expensive option for Verizon.
I am surprised this glitch in the ordering process hasn't been closed down yet. I expect it will be soon.
But the impact will be lasting - if you have ever been tempted to get a Verizon Unlimited plan (and know what you are getting into), there has never been a better time. You sure can't beat free, unless the glut gets so bad that sellers start paying people to take the plans.
For all our tips and tricks on acquiring an unlimited data line and not getting burned, check out our MIA members-only post:
I've updated the guide to take all these crazy new developments into account, including information on how to take advantage of this loophole yourself.
WARNING: Do your homework before taking over one of these plans - remember even a "free" plan may be coming with a two-year contract with early termination fees attached to it. And Verizon can change the terms and conditions on these plans at anytime.