Pedestrians walk by a Verizon Wireless store in New York City. (Justin Sullivan/Getty…)
Verizon Wireless has decided that users with unlimited data plans will be able to keep their plans but will have to pay full price on their next phones.
On Wednesday, Francis Shammo, the company's chief financial officer, announced that existing unlimited-data customers would have to give up their no-longer-available plans when they upgraded from a 3G smartphone to one running on the company's 4G LTE network.
On Thursday, the company released a statement that neither endorsed Shammo's comment nor assured customers that they would be able to keep their plans. It followed that up later in the day with a more definitive outline of its plan.
Verizon has said it will implement new pricing options based on data share plans, which will work similarly to sharing minutes on family plans. When that rolls out, Verizon unlimited-data customers will either have to give up their plans when they upgrade to a new phone, regardless of whether it runs on 3G or 4G LTE, or buy the phone at full price.
"Customers who choose to purchase phones at full retail price and are currently on an unlimited smartphone data plan will be able to keep that plan," the latest Verizon statement said.
This means that, for example, if a Verizon customer wants to keep his unlimited data plan and buys a 16GB iPhone 4S from Verizon after its data share plans have launched, that customer would not pay the current subsized price of $199 for the handset. Instead, he would have to pay the full retail price of $649.
As a result, Verizon customers with unlimited data plans may want to buy their next phone now, or in the future they will have to decide if keeping their plan is worth a a couple hundred bucks.
Verizon brings back double-data promo for 4G phones
Verizon backpedals on ending existing unlimited data plans
Verizon ending unlimited data plans, upsets customers on Twitter
Follow Salvador Rodriguez on Facebook or Twitter