The "unlimited" party is officially over. Verizon Wireless has confirmed that it won't be offering unlimited data plans for its upcoming Long Term Evolution services. Instead, customers will pay for buckets of data by the megabyte. The good news? LTE devices will be intro'd at CES in January 2011.Verizon Wireless and AT&T have been making noise about returning to tiered pricing plans for a while now. It really shouldn't be a surprise that Verizon Wireless' CEO, Lowell McAdam, recently confirmed that tiered plans are officially on the way, but that doesn't make the news any easier to swallow.
Later this year, Verizon Wireless plan to launch its next-generation Long Term Evolution network in 30 to 40 U.S. markets by the end of the year. It will cover most of the U.S. within three years. LTE will provide much faster wireless data speeds.
The first devices able to access the LTE network will be laptop dongles and data cards. They will be available when the network launches at the end of the year. When they do, don't expect to get the same 5GB for $60 pricing that's available for today's data cards. Instead, subscribers will pay for what they use, with the assumption being that those who use less data will pay less for it. McAdam says this is because "people will have four or five or perhaps even more devices they will connect to the network" via those data devices.
In other words, Verizon does not want to offer all-you-can-eat data plans and more, and will use LTE services to transition customers away from that model.
A few other interesting tidbits came from McAdam's speech. Verizon has confirmed that it will be offering between three and five LTE handsets by May 2011, in addition to the laptop dongles and data devices. McAdam indicated that 2011's CES will likely be the stage Verizon Wireless uses to introduce all its LTE goodies. "People will be surprised by the number and variety of [LTE] devices we will bring to the table," he said.
At CES 2010, Verizon Wireless showcased a lot of LTE technology including all sorts of connected-home type gear, such as LTE-equipped picture frames, media centers, cameras, and TVs.
[Via Mobile Business Briefing]