Verizon Wireless Considering Tiered Data Plan

Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless service provider in the U.S., is looking at shifting from a single, one-size-fits-all data plan to a tiered plan based on use.

The new was disclosed by Verizon CFO John Killian in an interview with Bloomberg's BusinessWeek.

"We will probably need to change the design of our pricing where it will not be totally unlimited, flat rate," he's quoted as saying. A spokesperson for Verizon confirmed the statement to InternetNews.com, adding that there is nothing specific in the works, but the firm is "just looking down the road."

Beginning June 7, AT&T (NYSE: T) dropped its $29.99 flat pricing for data plans and replaced it with either DataPlus or DataPro. The $15 per month DataPlus program gives customers 200MB of download data, which AT&T figured would be ample for 65 percent of its customers.

The $25 per month DataPro plan has a 2GB limit, with an additional 1GB for $10 if the customer goes over that limit. DataPro would be required for customers who want to use tethering, the practice of using the phone as a wireless modem for Internet access when connected to a laptop.

Killian said Verizon's smartphone customers are using between 600MB and 800MB of data per month. He expects the percentage of smartphone users will grow from 17 percent of the total user base today to 70 percent to 80 percent "over time."

The company anticipates an "explosions" in data traffic, particularly when Verizon begins to roll out its 4G networks at the end of this year and into next year. Verizon has said it will begin offering LTE-based 4G wireless service late in 2010 and will roll out its first 4G handsets in mid-2011.

New Droid coming

Verizon has a launch event scheduled for June 23, one day before Apple releases the next iteration of the iPhone, to introduce a new Droid model. The Droid teaser site shows a third device along with the Droid and Incredible, which are already on the market. If the proportions are correct, then this new phone will be a bit larger than the Droid and Incredible.

The phone, called "Droid X," is rumored to be called "Droid 2." It is rumored on several gadget and phone blogs to be a 4.3-inch device and HDMI output. The event features executives from Verizon, Google (NADSAQ: GOOG), Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and Adobe (NASDAQ: ABDE).

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

TAGS:

Google, Droid, AT&T, data plan, Verizon Wireless

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