updated 07:00 pm EDT, Fri July 8, 2011
Comes on heels of ending unlimited data
Verizon will now start sending text-message alerts (free of charge) to 3G data customers when their data uses crosses certain thresholds, the company has announced, alongside the e-mail based alerts that have been available for tablet, netbook, PC card and mobile broadband customers previously. In addition, customers can check their data usage on-the-fly by dialing #DATA, which will send a free text message with current usage information.
The alerts will be triggered at 50, 75, 90, 100 and 110 percent of a user's data plan allowances. My Verizon and My Verizon Mobile customers can opt to suppress the 50 and 75 percent warnings, and can also request e-mail alerts be sent to up to three additional addresses.
Most Android and Blackberry users also have the option of downloading a Data Usage Widget that will also monitor data usage. A data usage calculator is also available from the Verizon website, and My Verizon customers can see a summary at any time directly on their handsets from their account page.
In addition, Verizon has added a series of video guides on its YouTube channel to help customers adjust to the idea of having less-than-unlimited data, and how best to prevent expensive overages, ranging from instructions on how to check usage from various types of devices to tips for travellers when it comes to voice and data roaming. The company also offers a variety of ways to control and manage data and plan usage with tools like notifications, blocks and content filtering.
Verizon officially ended all new unlimited-usage data plans and instituted caps on data beginning yesterday. New customers now have four limited plans to choose from, ranging from a basic 75MB for $10 per month (intended for non-smartphone users), to $30 per month for 2GB of data up to $80 per month for 10GB of data.
The $20 surcharge for tethering is still in force and adds 2GB of data to the existing plans. New 4G phone users will pay a $30 per month fee for unlimited 4G hotspot use and unlimited "on device" data. Overage charges on the plans will be $10 per gigabyte. The company says those users "grandfathered" into older, better plans will still be able to upgrade devices without losing the perks of their plan.