After more than a year of rumors, Verizon iPhone is almost confirmed and its coming in the end of January. Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest wireless carrier, is confident enough in its network that it will offer unlimited data-use plans when it starts selling the iPhone around the end of this month. Such plans would provide a key means of distinguishing its service from rival AT&T Inc., which limits how much Internet data such as videos and photos its customers may use each month.
AT&T has struggled to overcome complaints about network quality ever since it started exclusively selling the iPhone in the U.S. in 2007. That contributed to a decision last summer to offer new iPhone and other smartphone customers only pricing plans that cap how much data they send and receive.
The confirmation comes from Verizon, as they have invited reporters to a press event where it is expected the wireless carrier will announce it will carry the iPhone. It wasn’t clear how long Verizon would offer unlimited-data plans. Its executives have said repeatedly that the industry needs to move to some form of tiered pricing-charging different prices for different amounts of data use-as mobile Internet service use rises, but for the moment the carrier is sticking to its existing plans.
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A report by the Wall Street Journal specifically notes that Verizon will offer its existing unlimited data plan to iPhone users, something AT&T no longer offers to new subscribers. “It wasn’t clear how long Verizon would offer unlimited plans,” the report said. “Its executives have said repeatedly that the industry needs to move to some form of tiered pricing as data use rises, but for the moment the carrier is sticking with its current data plans.”
Verizon would set a separate 5GB data limit on its tethering option and on data plans for USB modems and similar PC-oriented WWAN services.
There are some regional differences in service plans, as well as family and business plans, but the general terms of each carrier’s current plans are outlined below, with differences highlighted in red.
AT&T offers rollover minutes, while Verizon offers users on its cheapest calling plan the ability to list five contacts they can make unlimited calls with. Both company’s unlimited calling plans are virtually identical.
In data plans, AT&T has given up its unlimited data plan for iPhone users and replaced it with 200MB and 2GB (2000MB) options. Tethering the iPhone to use its mobile 3G with a laptop costs an additional $20 per month but does not offer any additional data service.
AT&T’s service also enables users to roam globally on other GSM/UMTS carriers, although this is very expensive. AT&T’s UMTS service also supports simultaneous voice and data use, unlike Verizon, where users must terminate their call before they can again receive push messages or browse the web.