Verizon Wireless announced this week it is discontinuing the offer of an unlimited data plan for new smartphone subscribers, and replacing it with tiered-pricing data packages. Existing customers who already have unlimited plans wont be affected by the change.

Beginning Thursday, Verizon customers who purchase a smartphone and a $30 monthly plan can use up to two gigabytes of data. Those who want more data monthly can get five gigabytes for $50 and 10 gigabytes for $80. After that, subscribers will pay another $10 for each additional gigabyte they use per month. According to Verizon, 95% of its customers use less than two gigabytes of data monthly.

"There are a lot of reasons for the change," Verizon spokesperson Brenda Raney said. "We are recognizing that technology is changing. It allows customers to pay for what they use. It also sets the stage where everything we do will be wireless at some point, and it helps people plan ahead for discretionary income on wireless."

AT&T similarly ended its unlimited offerings last year, however Sprint still offers unlimited plans to its subscribers. With data usage rapidly growing, moving to a monthly usage model allows carriers to capitalize on their subscribers' level of consumption.

To help consumers understand how much data they have used up, Verizon will alert customers when they reach 50% of their allowance. AT&T has a similar model.

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