Verizon to offer iPhone users $30 unlimited data plan

In what could be considered a shot across the bow of AT&T, Verizon said late Monday that it would offer its $30 per month unlimited data plan that it offers for smart phones to iPhone users as well. Apple's iconic device is set to debut on the network on February 10.

Last June, AT&T restructured its iPhone data plans. While the rates dropped, the company also made the decision to do away with unlimited data. While Verizon's move does look like it is a response to AT&T's decision, at the same time Verizon is doing away with its $15 monthly 150MB capped plan, meaning unlimited data is the only option.

As to whether unlimited data is really necessary for most consumers, AT&T would have you believe it is not. When it changed the plans, it argued that 98 percent of its iPhone subscribers used less than 2GB per month -- the current top-tier plan -- and 65 percent less than 250MB per month.

If AT&T's numbers are right, the company could essentially argue Verizon's iPhone data plan is far less cost-effective for the majority of users. At the same time, with more bandwidth-intensive applications on the way such as FaceTime over 3G, AT&T's plans may soon become too skimpy.

Regardless, Verizon executives think it's a plus. "Not offering an unlimited plan would put up a barrier for customers who might otherwise switch from AT&T," Verizon chief operating officer Lowell McAdam told the Wall Street Journal, arguing there were still "millions" who have the unlimited plan due to being grandfathered in before last year's switch.

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