Is the Verizon Wireless Mobile Data Plan Truly Unlimited?
- October 5, 2010
- Posted by: Craig Chamberlin
- Category: Uncategorized
As many may know, back in June Verizon dropped hints that their data plans will be restructured to drop true unlimited coverage. For those of us who are professional geeks, we tend to use more bandwidth than the majority of the universe. Last month, I grabbed ahold of my bill to find I had over 4 gigabytes of data usage just in the month of September! That sounds about right, I thought to myself, but at what point is Verizon going to come back and say “Yeah, you’re unlimited, but umm, that doesn’t really mean unlimited.” This prompted me to investigate.
Verizon Mobile Hotspot Pricing is Definitely NOT Unlimited
Upon looking on the web, there had been announcements back in June of 2010 from Verizon stating their costs of overhead as more and more individuals adopt smartphone technology will become too high to sustain unlimited plans. Given this was three months ago, it didn’t really confirm that the change had actually taken place. There already exists a pricing structure for those who want to utilize the new “mobile hotspot” feature of the new Android phones. This price, at this point in time, is $50.00 extra a month for 5 gigabytes of transfer over the mobile hotspot. Whew!
Verizon Mobile Hotspots Aren’t Part of the Unlimited Data Plan
Fortunately, mobile hotspots aren’t part of the unlimited data plan. It’s good to know this, especially for those of us who were thinking when we purchase our mobile 3G compatible phone that we’d be able to let our buddies connect to the internet from anywhere we are. After all, they had a sweet commercial showing us in a glowy orb to represent how popular we would be.
Contacting a Verizon Wireless Business Representative
I decided to contact a business representative to find out if the “Unlimited Data Plans” were truly unlimited. First I contacted a “higher up” business network sales representative by e-mail, and this was the response I received.
Digging into the Verizon Wireless Terms of Service
So far so good. I have learned, however, that the word of one sales representative doesn’t necessarily preach the truth. I dug deeper into the interwebs, hoping to find a contradictory statement on the unlimited data plan structure of Verizon Wireless. At this point in the Verizon Wireless data plan terms of service everything seemed to be going quite well, I was pleased with the following permitted uses for my data plan:
Data Plans and Features: Permitted Uses. You can use our Data Plans and Features for accessing the Internet and for such uses as: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) e-mail;(iii) intranet access (including accessing corporate intranets, e-mail and individual productivity applications made available by your company);(iv) uploading, downloading and streaming of audio, video and games; and (v) voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
Permitted uses appear at first glance to include just about anything you can imagine. This was a bit relieving to me, and then I read the following information:
Data Plans and Features: Prohibited Uses. Customers who do not have dedicated Mobile Broadband devices *cannot tether other devices to laptops or personal computers* for use as wireless modems unless they subscribe to Mobile Broadband Connect.
Everything sounded good except the tethering part. I had no interest in committing illegal activity while using the Verizon Wireless mobile service, but I had much interest in using the EasyTether application that is widely available on the Android market. It appears to be compliant, I would now have to uninstall the application from my smart phone.
None of this really answered the unlimited data plan issue yet, but I had already learned many people who I know are using their Android Droid X telephone were outside of compliance with their terms of service. Why does this raise a concern? The following statement from the terms and conditions are why:
We further reserve the right to take measures to protect our network and other users from harm, compromised capacity or degradation in performance. These measures may impact your service, and we reserve the right to deny, modify or terminate service, with or without notice, to anyone we believe is using Data Plans or Features in a manner that adversely impacts our network.
It all sounded reasonable up to this point. At this point Verizon basically states, “Sure your dataplan is unlimited, but if we think you are using too much data on your data plan because it is resulting in a “degradation of performance”, we can terminate you without notice. Most may be thinking, why is this an issue? Well, it’s simple, on a distributed data network, ALL data usage results in a degradation of performance, which means that everyone falls under this section and Verizon has the authority to terminate their service at any time without notice. For every kilobyte your phone transfers, that is one kilobyte less of performance available to everyone else.
As of today, it has been confirmed by the Verizon Wireless sales representatives and the Verizon Wireless terms of service that the data plan is truly unlimited. However, it has also been confirmed that if you decide to get generous with your bandwidth on your data network, you will likely be flagged by Verizon for “degrading Verizon network performance” and they will either issue you a warning or terminate your service without warning. So be frugal in your usage fellow streamers, that would be my suggestion.