Verizon Wireless promised those with smartphones on the $29.99 unlimited data would be able to keep it, and even upgrade to 4G smartphones at their convenience. Many feature phone users presumed they were covered by this, having what Verizon long-ago touted was the same plan.
The carrier has begun to inform feature phone customers, who have $29.99 unlimited grandfathered data, that they will not be able to keep it when upgrading to a 4G smartphoneâ€¦ or even a 3G smartphone.
PhoneNews.com has already received complaints from readers in this situation, that have tried to upgrade their feature phone to a 4G smartphones, and are told that there is no escalation path which will resolve their issue.
Many at the last minute locked in $29.99 unlimited data on all their lines, knowing that capped data just wasn’t going to work for them. It was a smart move, considering Verizon now wants $80/month for a mere 10 GB of metered data. Long ago, Verizon Wireless touted unified data plans, which allowed customers to maintain unlimited data, and routinely swap between smartphone and feature phone.
That all changed on July 7, when Verizon switched to metered data. The plan codes for unlimited data were discontinued, and due to internal plan code provisioning, the code for $29.99 smartphone data, and $29.99 feature phone data, are actually different.
Verizon has informed PhoneNews.com that they have no plans to change the policy, or give users who thought they were grandfathered a path to upgrade to LTE phones, sans metered data.
A spokesperson for Verizon defended the move, citing that Verizon did post on social media sites the notice that smartphone users (and not feature phone customers), would be grandfathered in.
Frustrated users are not happy, and even calling their contracts into question. “This is an outrage.” One user to Verizon wrote, continuing “I was promised I could use a feature phone on the weekends so my smartphone wouldn’t get ruined when I go hikingâ€¦. and now they tell me that I am stuck with metered data if I re-activate the very devices I was using a week ago!?”
Verizon is facing the same situation that rival AT&T faced when it reached saturation over iPhone users. As 4G and LTE data becomes more popular, consumers with unlimited data will likely begin to rely on it as their primary internet connections, leading to network congestion. By blocking feature phone users that “parked” unlimited data at the last minute, the company may avert many savvy users that will upgrade.
Despite all of this, it is still possible to get unlimited LTE data on Verizon, by doing a Change of Financial Responsibility (COFR). Taking over someone’s contract who already has a 3G smartphone with unlimited data activated. This lone-remaining option may eventually spark a bidding war for taking over accounts of those looking to leave Verizon.