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from the L.A. Times

Verizon details 'usage based' data plans that roll out Thursday

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Verizon Wireless is dumping its current unlimited data plan offering for new customers and replacing it with a scheme of four "usage based" data plans that will be offered to subscribers beginning on Thursday.

The new plans for new Verizon customers will consist of four choices: $10 for 75 megabytes a month, $30 for 2 gigabytes, $50 for 5 gigabytes or $80 for 10 gigabytes, said Jenny Weaver, a spokeswoman for the telecommunications giant.

Under the new smartphone data plans, subscribers will have to pay $10 for each gigabyte of data they use beyond their monthly limits, Weaver said.

Current Verizon cellphone subscribers, which includes those who have the $29.99 unlimited data plan, won't be affected by the new offerings unless they want to switch over to a new usage-based plan. Data plans for tablets, wireless hot spots and USB modems and other data plans the company offers will remain the same as well, she said.

"This only affects new customers with phones that use data plans," Weaver said. "If you have Verizon and you have an unlimited data plan, you can keep it. Customers can even keep their unlimited data plans when they get a new phone if they want to, or they can chose a new plan if they want to, at any time, without penalty."

For those Verizon subscribers who do switch over to a usage-based plan, it probably won't result in a huge difference from what they're paying now, she said.

"Right now about 95% of our customers use 2 gigabytes of data or less each month, so even if they switched to a usage-based plan, they likely wouldn't notice any difference," Weaver said. "The big change really is that now heavy data users will pay a fair usage-based price for their data consumption when they sign up for a new data plan."

Verizon is also introducing a free text-message and email alert system this week to warn its users when they hit certain thresholds in their data usage each month, to prevent people from exceeding their monthly limits, she said.

Customers will get a free text message whenever they hit 50%, 75%, 90%, 100% and 110% of their plan's monthly allowances, Weaver said.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: The Verizon logo is seen at a Verizon Wireless in San Francisco. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

 
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