Local News


Rate hike for some cell phone users

Posted at 7:33 AM, Jan 12, 2016
If anyone in your family still has unlimited data on their cell plan, those days may be numbered. Contact 13 has more on a big rate hike affecting thousands of people. 
The new year is bringing an unhappy surprise to some Verizon Wireless customers. After AT&T raised rates for its unlimited data customers, Verizon is now taking things even further.
"We got our bill for this month and it said there was an increase of a total of $40. So we were wondering what that $40 (was)," says Verizon customer Jessie Shipmon.
He and his wife have been on Verizon's unlimited data plan for 8 years. They were grandfathered into the plan when Verizon dropped unlimited data for new customers 4 years ago. But a note with their bill explained that as of the new year, all unlimited plans are now going up $20 a month, for each device. So with 2 phones:
"Over the course of the year, that $20 equals almost $500," Shipmon says.
Verizon announced the rate hike 2 months ago, blaming it on an explosion in video and data use. It comes after an FCC ruling that says it's legal. Verizon is giving you some other options if you don't like the rate hike. But it's nothing like what you had before.
"They give you other options that you can get different data plans. So basically they want us to drop the unlimited data plan," Shipmon says.
So here's what you need to know. CNET magazine says if you use 3 gigs of data or less, a standard plan will now cost you less. CNET says Verizon, like other companies, really wants unlimited plans to go away because when they launched them almost 10 years ago, no one imagined we'd be watching movies on smartphones or tablets. If you don't use your phone to watch movies, saying goodbye to an unlimited data plan may be a better bet.
AT&T is hiking its unlimited plan by $5 a month. But their DirecTV and U-verse subscribers can still sign up for unlimited wireless data. A single line will cost you $100 a month.
T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel still offer unlimited data plans.