Something big is about to happen to Verizon’s wireless plans. But what exactly the change will be remains a mystery.
Yesterday, The Consumerist spotted a screenshot on imgur from what is purported to be a Verizon test site that seems to indicate Verizon has had a change of heart about unlimited data – at least kind of.
The snap was also cited in a Reddit thread from Verizon employees on the subject, but it appears the test site where the image came from has been taken down.
According to the image, Verizon will soon offer its customers a “Carryover Data” option that will automatically roll over unused data to the following month.
The image also includes mention of two other new features: something called “Safety Mode” and the addition of international text and data roaming in Mexico and Canada.
The Safety Mode feature would allow customers who have surpassed their data allowance to stay connected on the network at a reduced speed until they have a chance to either buy more 4G data or hit their next billing cycle. The option will seemingly be included with XL and XXL plans for free, and will be available on the carrier’s small, medium and large plans for an extra $5 per month.
The carrier’s XL and XXL plans will also seemingly get access to unlimited calling from the U.S. to Mexico and Canada, as well as the ability to roam using their domestic text and data allowances in Mexico and Canada. The feature will be available on the small, medium and large plans for an unspecified extra charge, according to the image.
For now, Verizon is keeping mum on the details of the changes, but spokeswoman Kelly Crummey did confirm on Thursday Verizon is “going to have some fireworks next week” and encouraged everyone to “stay tuned.”
If the screenshot does prove to be correct, it would mark a significant turnaround for Verizon.
The move would come nearly five years to the day after Verizon announced it would stop offering unlimited plans to new customers. In May 2012, Verizon also killed unlimited data plans for existing subscribers.
Up to this point, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo has been adamant that the carrier has no interest in reviving its unlimited option, saying “the unlimited model does not work in an LTE environment.”
But it makes sense. Rival carriers AT&T and T-Mobile have pushed out all or some of these features recently, which means Verizon would be catching up to the status quo.
AT&T brought back its unlimited plan earlier this year, using the offer as a way to draw customers to its DirecTV and U-Verse products with great success. Three weeks after launching the program, AT&T reported half a million subscribers picked up on the offer. After two months and a little advertising, that figure jumped to two million.
So it seems to reason that even a small change in that direction from Verizon could have a big benefit – and certainly it’s no coincidence the shift is scheduled just in time for the third quarter.
Until next week, however, we’ll just have to hold our breath and wait and see.