Verizon Abandons Unlimited Data Plans As iPhone 5 Launch Looms

Verizon Wireless might be preempting the launch of the iPhone 5 and the iCloud infrastructure that accompanies it by eliminating the unlimited smartphone data offers completely.

The fact that the iPhone 5 was widely believed to be launched in June 2011 could have prompted AT&T to abandon the unlimited data route first, followed by T-Mobile and now Verizon Wireless, leaving only Sprint Nextel as the only big US mobile phone carrier with an unlimited smartphone data tariff.

Apple's iCloud is expected to put a major strain on 3G & 4G networks worldwide (although it does piggyback on Wi-Fi networks as often as possible) as many of its features will need access to Apple's remote data centers.

And as was the case when the iPhone was introduced, Google, Microsoft and others are likely to push forward their own cloud-based mobile services which will add to the pressure on mobile phone networks.

Moving to a usage-based pricing model will ensure that users either pay for the data they consume (as little as $8 per GB) or switch to a non-subsidised contract like Verizon Wireless' own Unleashed.

Coincidentally, the $50 monthly prepaid tariff is a full unlimited plan with no-limit mobile-to-mobile calling, landline calls, texting and mobile internet and not only removes the need for the carrier to subsidise any handset but also doesn't tie in the user to a long contract.