You may be able to get an unlimited data plan with your Verizon-powered iPhone later this month, according to the latest rumors. Verizon is widely expected to announce on Tuesday that Apple's iPhone 4 is coming to its network before the end of January. The company will also unveil an unlimited data plan option for iPhone users during its announcement, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal citing a "person familiar with the matter."
Verizon currently offers its smartphone and feature phone customers an unlimited data plan for $30 per month. But it's not clear if the Ver-iPhone's rumored unlimited data option would be offered at the same price. It's also unknown if Verizon will also offer iPhone customers tiered data options similar to AT&T's iPhone plans and Verizon's current smartphone offerings.
By offering an unlimited data plan to prospective iPhone users, Verizon is putting its self-claimed title as "America's Most Reliable Network" on the line. The company already has more than 93 million subscribers in the United States, and has a reputation for being a reliable service. But iPhone users are notorious for being data hogs, which could tax Verizon's network more than the company expects.
In late 2009, for example, AT&T said that 3 percent of its user base, largely iPhone users, was responsible for 40 percent of AT&T's network data usage. In February, Consumer Reports published a study that found iPhone owners used more than twice as much data as non-iPhone smartphone users.
Verizon's iPhone experiment could also have consequences for AT&T's reputation if Verizon is able to better a job at supporting the iPhone's data-hungry users. AT&T has been the object of derision for many iPhone users complaining of slow network speeds, dropped calls, slow adoption of technologies for the iPhone such as MMS and tethering and other problems since the iPhone debuted on AT&T in 2007.
AT&T also gained the ire of users and critics in June when the company introduced tiered data pricing for iPhone customers. The move did away with AT&T's unlimited data service for the iPhone. Many believed AT&T introduced the new plans as a way to rein in iPhone usage on its network.
In recent months, AT&T has been working on beefing up its network to handle data-hogging devices, but the company is still saddled with a poor reputation. In December, a Consumer Reports survey found that AT&T had the lowest customer satisfaction compared to U.S. Cellular, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.
Despite these problems, however, AT&T appears to be confident in can compete with a Verizon iPhone. "We think customers will prefer AT&T's faster speeds and better functionality," an AT&T spokesperson told the Journal.