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Ask Slashdot: Is It Worth Being Grandfathered On Verizon's Unlimited Data Plan? 209

An anonymous reader writes I understand a lot of people dislike Verizon in general, but assuming for a moment that they were your only option for a cellular service provider, is staying on their grandfathered unlimited data plan still worth it? Their recent announcement to not throttle traffic is inpiring, but I just don't know the long-term benefits of staying on this plan. I fear there is a tipping point where enough people will swap over to a metered plan and Verizon will ultimately abandon the unlimited altogether and assume the risk of losing a percentage of those remaining folks, at which point all of us who bought unsubsidized phones will have wasted the money doing so. Does anyone have any insight on this? Useful answers to this should take into account the problem with the question of "How long is a piece of string?" Give some context about how much you pay, and how much you use -- and how much that would change if the price were different.
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Ask Slashdot: Is It Worth Being Grandfathered On Verizon's Unlimited Data Plan?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    $45 unlimited. nuff said.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AvitarX ( 172628 )

      I'd rather do Tmobile $35.00 plan, only 100 minutes, but the same otherwise (I think it's 5gb).

      • With the ubiquity of objects connected to the internet and increasing wi-fi like capabilities for those objects. One has to consider their investments in companies like Verizon. Is Verizon still going to be relavent? With band width throttling allowed on Netflix, and Verizon going into the same industry as Netflix; one has to ask, "why?" With software now able to bypass the Cell Tower, maybe the Cell Towers can be moved to more sparse locations, and still be userful?

        It will interesting to see what happens
        • If you spend all your time at home/work I think you have a point. Is there free open wifi every where you go?

          • Maybe one could consider the wi-fi setups General Motors is testing for their cars? This is the reason for moving cell towers to more sparse locations. When the Internet is allowed to bypass cell towers, then maybe they should be placed somewhere more useful? Will there be a need for Ericsson Int?
    • $40 unlimited. nuff said.
      • Republic Wireless isn't a cell carrier, they're a voip provider. If they were a real carrier, you'd be able to bring a GSM phone to them for use. You have to buy RW's phones to use their serivce, because the ROM they use has baked-in RW voip functionality.
        • Republic Wireless is a MVNO that rides on Sprint's network. Hence why you can't use a GSM phone with their service. You have to buy the phone from them because no one sells "unlocked" CDMA phones. They don't sell them for the simple reason that the by far largest CDMA carriers (Verizon and Sprint) don't allow unlocked phones on their networks.

          • They're still just a voip provider. You try taking a Sprint phone to them and they'll turn you out the door. Doesn't matter if they're riding Sprint's network. They won't let you use a phone without their firmware, which is only available for a scant few phones.
    • He said verizon was his only option. Boost is sprint.

    • by deesine ( 722173 )

      Maybe enough for you. For me, I would need to research more to find out what they consider high speed data (which is capped) and 3g speeds (which is what your streaming video is limited to).

      Caps and throttling.

      I'll never give up my Verizon unlimited. No matter how good looking the Verizon rep is, and no matter how much a month they promise to save me for switching to a new plan.


    • I have to suspect you have never experienced Verizon's coverage area and reliability.
      • Re:Boost mobile (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @03:53PM (#48049985) Homepage

        I have to suspect you have never experienced Verizon's coverage area and reliability.

        Like every carrier, it varies depending on where you are. I used to swear by their coverage and reliability but then I found many places where it just fell flat. The best coverage carrier is the carrier who has coverage where you are or need to be, not the carrier who claims to have covered x% of a map.

    • $45 unlimited. nuff said.


    • Just checked there website. I see no unlimitted DATA plans.

    • $45 unlimited. nuff said.

      $45 unlimited. Poor coverage where I am. A phone that constantly rebooted all by itself every five minutes or so. Customer support that was almost impossible to reach. Returns department that loses phones. Customer support where it took more than an hour to cancel service after they could be reached.

      There's more to a good company than just cut-rate pricing. Nuff said.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      Maybe not limited in the amount of data, but very limited geographically.
  • Streaming videos (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Kids + tablets + streaming videos = Massive GBs used per month

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
      A friend has a grandfathered account and sometimes we use his phone for streaming video hotspot, cost = $0. And doesn't seem to have throttle issues. They keep calling him about free upgrade plans. Otherwise using our phones we have to pay quite a bit (video adds up the GB very quickly) and only lasts for an hour when cell company "slams on the brakes."
  • The final straw for me was when i wanted to add a data hotspot to my iphone 4s while i was on the train to San Diego. I didnt want to pay the extra $20/month just to internet connection share but i needed it. The guy told me that they werent allowed to make any changes to 3g plans at all any more. It was upgrade to a 4g plan and new phones or fuck you. I ordered a Moto G LTE the next day and went to T-mobile and am very happy with my service so far. I save almost $70/mo in the switch. (3 lines total, 2 [1GB
    • by Sancho ( 17056 )

      Crazy. You can go to the website and add features on Verizon, which includes tethering. However you get a data bucket for the tethered data, while your phone gets to use the unlimited bucket.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I was a hold out. I purchased at full price my Samsung S4 ($700 with taxes) and my wife's iPhone 5S ($800 with taxes). I calculated that the break even point was about 2.5 years. Then my wife wanted text messaging that we had turned off to save money. Then Verizon reduced the cost of their data plans. I looked at my data usage and saw that it was low. I turned on wifi on both phones and my data usage dropped. I called one night and asked if there were any promotions to get me to switch. After promotio

  • by c0d3g33k ( 102699 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @03:35PM (#48049759)

    Stupid analogy, that.

    Useful answers to this should take into account the problem with the question of "How long is a piece of string?" Give some context about how much you pay, and how much you use -- and how much that would change if the price were different.

    The second half of the commentary in the summary is a bit easier to digest. Yes, it all boils down to math. The key is, Verizon has probably calculated how the math will benefit them in the long run, and customers effectively can't, so the game is rigged from the start.

    Let's give an example. Verizon bases their "limited" usage caps based on the average usage of their aggregate customer base (plus a little wiggle room, I guess). So on average, the data usage of a given customer won't go over the limit. However, the usage of a particular customer might exceed the cap at particular times. Travel/vacation time is a good time for this. You use more data while running the GPS-based turn-by-turn navigation while driving to your destination. Once there, you want some entertainment during the evenings, but you're not at home where you can use your home-based internet via wi-fi, so you stream some Netflix via 4G. Since your phone can output 1080p via HDMI, you use that cable you bought to plug into the HDMI port of the television at the place you are staying. Depending on the length of your stay, that's a significant spike in your data usage.

    Under the unlimited plan, you either get throttled at some point (but now you don't) or you just don't notice the fact that you wandered above the average usage for the week or two you were traveling, because unlimited. Under capped, metered data plans, you are subject to overage fees based on a cap that has been fine tuned to be just above the threshold of "normal" usage, so your bill is higher. It may be only for those few weeks, so easy to absorb, but add that up across the entire customer base and Verizon has made more money than they would have with the unlimited data plans in place.

    *That* is what it's all about. So unless you absolutely have to, you might as well stick to your grandfathered unlimited plan, because once you give it up, you will be fleeced, even if just a little bit.

  • Between wifi at work/home/parents, I use maybe 1.5gb in an extreme month. lots of travel with maps/radio apps. Otherwise it's barely over 500mb per month.

    You could try finding a mnvo for Verizon: []

    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

      Since I'm also in a Sprint-sucks area, I looked through all the Verizon and AT&T mnvo's a while back. All had outrageous prices if you use the phone more than a miniscule amount. Do you know of one that doesn't?

      • Yeah I have straight talk att Sim. Make sure it's att and not T-Mobile. (Unless T-Mobile doesn't suck in your area like it does in mine). It's 45 for unlimited talk text. 3gb LTE no throttle. After 3gb it throttles to 2g speeds.

        Customer service can suck. You have to know how to edit your own APN your self. But they do based on your phone number give you the right settings. I have 2 phones over 2 years with them so far. You can port your number in but if you don't pay a month you have chance of losin

        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

          Ouch. I really need to keep it around $30/mo. or less. I mostly use the phone for talk, never text, seldom data.

          I had T-Mobile for $30/1500 min. but it's all roaming here (mostly to AT&T, that part works fine) and when roaming, you can't pick up voicemail at all!

  • by unfortunateson ( 527551 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @03:38PM (#48049813) Journal

    The two big catches with the unlimited plan are
    (a) you can't buy a discounted phone (which someone above has already mentioned)
    but the big one is
    (b) you can't hotspot or share the account with other devices

    (a) is less of a problem these days: There really aren't discounted phones, just installment payment plans. And I got my latest phone from a relative who's an exec at Verizon (no, I can't get you one too)
    (b) is nearly a dealbreaker. I don't like touchscreen typing, so any message more than two lines long I want to use my laptop or tablet keyboard for... but I can't if I'm not in a free wifi zone. Is it worth losing unlimited to be able to occasionally tether? Maybe. At one point there were apps that would let you tether without rooting the phone, outside of the provider's knowledge, then they stopped working, maybe they work again.

    Anyone have experience with non-root tether apps on Android?

    • You're 100% wrong about (b). I've seen me do it. I'm dong it right now. I can do it because I pay for it.

    • (b) is just not true. It is only true for the limited scope of Verizon's built-in monthly fee plan for tethering that uses their software. If you download other software through the Playstore, such as FoxFi, you can tether like a ... weather balloon.
    • FoxFi has long been the defacto standard for non-root tether apps but whether it works varies by phone. But, I honestly haven't used it in ages as I always just root my phones (last 4). It was so easy to root my Moto X Dev that I have never looked back. But, even having the ability, I rarely use it. I just occasionally connect to my phone with my Android tablet, but never with a PC.

    • Corporate partners can still upgrade at reduced rates ($99 G3 for me this summer, $99 iPhone 5s for the wife last spring) and still keep unlimited. ($47/mo for unlimited data and metered voice/texts with low includeds)

      Tethering is not allowed by the TOS, but a rooted device will tether easily and in 3 years I've yet to be caught - but I'm generally low usage compared to top downloaders. I think (but am not certain) I could pay for a byte bucket for tethering as a side fee, but it's ~$50/mo and the bucket is

    • Just piling on the bandwagon. You can absolutely use your phone as a hotspot. In fact, the FCC made them allow it. []
    • Actually, you can hotspot, but only on Android. One of Verizon's 700MHz licenses came with the stipulation that VZ has to allow any application to run. So, they can't ban the PDA Net application, which lets you run a hotspot on your Android phone. There presumably could be a comparable app for iPhone, but Apple hasn't allowed it through the app store. Don't know if there's a similar app for jailbroken iPhones, though.

      Bottom line, you can definitely have a hotspot (for no extra charge) as part of your Ve

    • T-Mobile doesn't care if you tether/hotspot (since March): []

      I didn't even know their policy and tether regularly, but not for large transfer communications on my non-root Nexus 5. Shoot, the carrier can't even prevent tethering on the Nexus 5, it's built into the operating system (and my phone was a private purchase). I'm guessing the carrier can tell if you are tethering, I'm not sure, but then again it doesn't matter to me.

      T-Mobile's coverage isn't the best (AT&T has t

    • Anyone have experience with non-root tether apps on Android?

      If you don't mind getting your hands a little dirty with adb and OpenVPN, you can take a look at azilink []. It basically runs a Java-based NAT on your phone, which communicates with OpenVPN on your computer. I had some issues with the app on the phone crashing once in a while, but for the most part it works. It might work better for you.

  • ...and the day they take it from me is the day I leave Verizon. I have somehow managed to get subsidized phones and keep my unlimited data plan. Most recently was with the October '13 glitch that let me get a LG G2 and keep my data plan. I travel extensively to rural areas and use the hell out of my data plan. Verizon's network coverage is still untouchable, as is their ability to nickel and dime their customers.
  • I've been limited for 15 months now, and I haven't changed my habits. I only use about 0.5 GB per month because I'm always on WiFi at work and at home and I rarely play videos while I'm out. I haven't missed unlimited, and I haven't felt restricted.

    My wife's usage was basically the same as mine until the past few months, when she started using Spotify and YouTube to entertain our toddler on the go. If she's careful not to use YouTube much while she's out, she now uses 1.5-1.8 GB per month. This weekend

    • I have unlimited in V (my plan allows me to get upgrades and keep it), but I rarely use a lot of data. Even with unlimited, I suspect my wife and I combine for less than 3GB 11 out of 12 months of the year. We used to have AT&T and were on the 250MB/mo plan and ran over twice in 2 years - once when I got bored on a long train ride an was watching videos, and once when Pandora decided to start streaming in the background while the sound was off and it ran all night.

      For $47 each, we've got all the data/mi

  • As someone on the grandfathered Verizon unlimited plan, I'm seriously considering buying an unsubsidized phone.

    My wife traded it for a 5GB plan, and has gone over her data plan with only limited youtube usage. Once XLTE gets implemented, that means you can burn through your data even faster.

    It's either that or go to Sprint, which I understand in recent years has turned down the "suck" lately, and actually has decent speeds, coverage, and unlimited data.

    • by dave562 ( 969951 )

      YMMV with Sprint. Based on feedback from people who have Sprint here in southern California, the suck is less but it is by no means nearly as good as Verizon.

  • For me, it's been great. I've been on a year long road trip and I kept my unlimited account to use as a backup. Turns out the internet service provided at rv parks/resorts has sucked fetid donkey balls at nearly every stop. If I hadn't kept my unlimited Verizon account, this trip would have had some really annoying stretches. Instead of being my backup, it's been my primary access most of the time and I've moved hundred of gigs during some billing periods. I'm [almost] embarrassed by the amount of data

    • On a more philosophical tangent, I don't see how people put up with metered service on cell phones these days. I've got half a dozen apps that all want to sync all my pics and video automatically. I'd be paranoid that I missed a setting on some new app and it's going to eat up a gig of data before I catch it.

      On Android phones, at least, you can set warning and cut-off thresholds in the Data Usage settings panel to ensure that you don't go over your limit. I have my Nexus 5 set to warn me at 75% and disable mobile data at 90%. Of course, that's less helpful if you have several devices sharing the same account, and you can still end up in a situation where you unknowingly burn through your months' allotment in the first day, but at least with the automatic cut-off you won't get stuck with massive overage charges.

  • by Amtrak ( 2430376 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @04:05PM (#48050157)

    So my wife and I both switched from Verizon Unlimited to Republic Wireless this past January and I've already saved enough money to cover the cost of the two Moto X's I had to buy. I can see Republic Wireless not working well for everyone though. I happen to live in the Chicago Area where coverage from every major provider is basically the same. I actually get better service in the loop with my Republic Wireless phone than I did with Verizon because Sprint's towers are less congested.

    However, I wouldn't ever tell my Mother-In-Law to switch to Republic since she lives so far north in Michigan that they deliver the mail by snow mobile and talk with Canadian accents. Sprint basically has zero coverage up there and when my wife and I visit we have to put our phones on airplane mode with only WiFi so the battery doesn't die really fast. Verizon has full coverage with 4G LTE there so the choice is obvious.

    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

      Are there any outfits that offer similar plans that are resellers for either Verizon or AT&T?

      Because tho those are attractive plans for my usage, Republic Wireless is a Sprint reseller, and in my area that means 1) ALL use is 100% roaming (which causes all manner of issues, among them voicemail only works over WiFi) and 2) coverage via the actual Sprint towers that the phone will speak to is spotty at best. (Yes, that sounds contradictory, but I used a Sprint reseller before and had both a very restrict

  • by JustOK ( 667959 )
    So, it's come to this.... Massive random cell division and mutations
  • gave up my AT&T long ago and never looked back. i rarely stream music, netflix or youtube. with phones being able to store over 100GB of data you can just carry it around instead of paying money for bandwidth

    $10 a month buys spotify premium with lots of features including online caching
    you can download podcasts and large youtube videos to watch offline
    you can't cache netflix, but any other movie can be stored locally
    porn is easy to download a bunch of videos on wifi and watch later at your leisure

    my 4 l

  • I'm not the original anonymous questioner, but I'm in the same boat. I live in a rural area where Verizon has the only coverage, and I've been on an unlimited plan for years. My phone is a Galaxy S (that's S #1) that's getting a bit old; it chokes on a lot of modern websites and apps. I never go above 2 GB/month. I don't even think it's possible, as my old phone is 3G and barely handles Youtube.

    I would have switched plans before, but Verizon didn't give me any incentive other than a new phone. My month

  • I use mine for just about everything. My data usage is usually about 5G a month which is right at most company's largest caps. I could downgrade if I were by myself but then I would have to be careful. Screw that! But.. my phone shares the plan with my wife. She uses 3 or 4 times what I use. How? She watches Netflix at work all day. they don't mind her doing that but she keeps it off of their network just to keep it that way.

    Don't want to pay full price for a phone? Go used. Big deal if you are a generati

  • by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @04:50PM (#48050727) Journal

    I was on the grand fathered plan until corporate made me switch. I rarely use more than the data cap, but when I travel I prefer to use my cell phone instead of hotel wifi. I have already run into problems with forced disconnects and throttling. They say that they do not do it but my experience tells me otherwise.

    I am still waiting for the call from the accounting drone about overage charges. Of course I saved the email where I told them that when I go over, I tend to go WAY over and that by forcing me off of the plan they are going to end up paying more.

  • Yesterday I just changed me & my wife from our AT&T legacy unlimited plans to a shared 10gb plan (think it's doubled to 20gb due to some promo). I think we'll end up saving over $30 a month and going from 1400 minutes to unlimited. I looked at the stats & combined in the past year our biggest usage month was about 5gb.

    Not sure if you can look up the data usage on Verizon, but you can find it for AT&T. If your not using much compared to a capped pan & there is a savings, your probably bet

  • Really can't use T-mobile through combination of LTE, Wi-Fi calling and limited free data roaming? Your highest data use to date would be prohibitively expensive on best limited plan? Then stay on your current plan while it lasts and look at your options then. I definitely wouldn't pay month after month to just preserve what you might need some day.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments