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Cell phone companies are cranking up the rates on unlimited data

Posted at 10:18 AM, Jan 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-11 10:18:05-05

At an extra $20 a month per phone, maybe you should cancel the unlimited data plan so you don’t waste your money.

Jessie Shipmon opened his Verizon cell phone bill the other day, and was stunned. "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 for."

He and his wife have been on Verizon's unlimited data plan for eight years, grandfathered in when Verizon dropped unlimited data for new customers four years ago.

But a note with the bill explained that, as of December, remaining unlimited plans are going up $20 a month per device. With two phones, "over the course of the year, that $20 equals almost $500!" exclaimed Shipmon.

Verizon announced the rate hike two months ago, blaming it on an explosion in video and data use. And the FCC says the rate hikes are legal. ATT is hiking its unlimited plans $5 a month.

But Verizon is giving you some other options if you don't like the rate hike, but they are nothing like what you had before.

"They give you other options that you can get different data plans," Shipmon said.  "So basically, they want us to drop the unlimited data plan."

Verizon will let customers facing this hike upgrade to a new phone and new contract without facing any penalties.

CNET magazine says if you use 3 GB of data or less, a standard plan will now cost you less. And they say that 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.