It has been years now since Verizon offered an unlimited data plan, and Verizon has been making it harder and harder for customers with this plan to keep it.
The biggest pressure to get people off these plans came when Verizon started forcing users who upgraded to a new phone at a discount to give up their unlimited plan in the process. Only by paying full price for every device upgrade could users keep their unlimited plan around.
But there was a loophole, and a way around this requirement that involved a complicated shell game of transferring service between devices. The end result was that users who did things exactly right could get a new smartphone at the subsidized discounted price and a new two year contract, all while keeping their locked in unlimited data plan.
One expert at helping people jump through these hoops while avoiding accidentally losing their plan in the process is Ryan Maharg, an employee at a regional Verizon reseller that has focused on catering to the RV market. Ryan is a regular attendee at RV rallies around the country.
He just posted on the Escapees Forums that as of August 24th, this loophole is closing:
I just wanted to reach out to everybody and let them know that this loop hole is GOING AWAY. VZW is making some changes to make it a lot harder to save these unlimited data plans. I wanted to reach out and let everybody know about this change and give everybody a warning.
This change will be here Aug 24th. If you need any advice or assistance with this please feel free to reach out to me and I will help you. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan continued with some more details:
What this is intended to stop is someone adding a line for $10 per month and getting a $600 smartphone on it, then transferring that phone to the unlimited data line and putting a dumb phone back on the new contract line.
I am sorry but it is hard to provide details on how to save your unlimited because each situation is unique. Depending on how the account is set up you might have do an alternate upgrade ( as another user already suggested) or maybe the plan needs to be reworked or in extreme cases it might not be possible at all without a significant bill increase.
And yes this is not a big secret but I wanted to make sure everybody was aware to HELP them. I am not selling you anything as my advice is 100%. I have been in the business for 10 years and a lot of time my experience helps where most VZW stores won't. If you have questions feel free to reach out to me and I will answer them at no charge.
I expect the reason Verizon is eager to shut down this loophole relates to Verizon's new plans to throttle unlimited data users.
Verizon's proposed throttling will only impact unlimited users who are out of contract. But users who upgrade via this loophole process end up with a new two year contract on their account, seemingly locking in not only unlimited data, but unthrottled data, for two more years.
If you want to take advantage of this loophole for a phone upgrade, or to try and lock in unlimited and unthrottled data for two more years - you've got just 10 days to do it before things get even more complicated, and perhaps impossible.
We recommend contacting Ryan if you need help here, since most Verizon stores are completely clueless about these procedures, and if done wrong you can irrevocably lose your unlimited plan.
I imagine someday these few remaining unlimited data plans may become cherished family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation...
If you do go about trying an upgrade, let us know how it goes in the (MIA-members-only) comment section.