Verizon to roll out Tiered Data in time for the Holidays

Data aficionados (perhaps deservedly) worked their panties into a bunch when AT&T removed unlimited data as an option for their myriad smartphones. Instead, as the story goes, AT&T opted for a tiered model where $15 allowed you to view 200 MB of funny cat .GIFs and $25 netted you 2 GB. Perhaps due to an early dose of holiday spirit, Verizon has decided to follow suit, but with a decidedly different twist.

We can thank the maker (or maybe Lowell McAdams) for this one, but instead of canning their $30/unlimited data feature, they’ve decided to supplement it. For smartphone owners (smartphowners?) on a budget, Verizon is preparing to launch a $15 bolt-on feature that allows for 150 MB of data access for the month.

“But wait a minute,” the math wiz reading this may say. “That LESS than what AT&T gives you for the same price!”

Well done — basic arithmetic shows that the AT&T deal gives customers slightly more holler for their dollar. In fact, the whole situation requires a bit of cost-benefit analysis: Verizon gives you 50 fewer megabytes of bandwidth, but retains their unlimited data plan, whereas AT&T saves you five dollars on its upper-tier plan (unless you go over 2 GB, in which case you pay $10 for another 2). The implications for you, the consumer, fall a bit outside the scope of a single, hideous run-on sentence.

In any case, Verizon hasn’t officially announced the start of the plan, but sources say it’s to begin as a promotion that will last “through at least the end of December”. My internal optimist thinks it’ll be a great way for budget-conscious consumers to get the phone they want at a price they can afford, but the cynic in me sees it as a ploy to move smartphones at a steady clip during the holidays. Guess which one is usually right?

Edit: The author (i.e. me) made an erroneous claim about AT&T offering free tethering with its 2 GB DataPro plan. He is very sorry, and is currently accepting donations of eggs to be applied liberally to his face.

[Reuters, via Phandroid]