Verizon to drop unlimited iPhone data plans

During the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference on Tuesday, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo confirmed that Verizon will be moving to tiered data plans as early as this summer. Speaking about the unlimited data plan available with the iPhone 4, Shammo said, "Everyone knows that isn't long-term. We will move to tiered pricing in the mid-summer time frame." The iPhone 4 was launched with a $30 monthly plan that included unlimited smartphone data. The company previously offered a $15/150 MB plan that appealed to some customers, but this plan was removed when the iPhone 4 launched.

Verizon is hoping tiered plans will grab entry-level customers who want a smartphone, but don't want to pay the high price for cellular data. A low-cost data plan would entice those on the fence to take the plunge and pick up a smartphone. Verizon currently has 25 percent smartphone penetration and hopes to use these low-cost data plans to boost that rate to 50 percent by the end of 2011. Shammo would not confirm the price of these tiered plans as the entry level price point is still under discussion. Last year, AT&T introduced tiered data plans with a $25 / 2 GB plan for smartphone owners. Verizon would most likely equal or beat the value of these AT&T plans.