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Is your cellphone provider cutting off your data?

Is your cellphone provider cutting off your data?
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

Voracious Verizon phone users who still have grandfathered unlimited data plans will have to rethink their data-hogging ways.

The carrier issued a statement Friday that starting on August 31 they will begin suspending accounts that are consuming "an extraordinary amount of data" under their old unlimited data plans. These users will have to convert to a tiered plan by the said date or their service will be shut down.

What exactly is Verizon's definition of "extraordinary amount of data?"

The company confirmed to Ars Technica that these small number of users are using data amounts exceeding the largest Verizon plan size of 100GB.

"Because our network is a shared resource and we need to ensure all customers have a great mobile experience with Verizon, we are notifying a very small group of customers on unlimited plans who use an extraordinary amount of data that they must move to one of the new Verizon Plans by August 31, 2016," Verizon stated.

Unlimited data plans were scrapped from Verizon's offerings in 2011 but users were able to retain them with a practice known as "grandfathering." It was not a smooth ride for neither the company nor the customers, though.

In 2014, Verizon tried throttling speeds for unlimited users who exceeded 4.7GB worth of data each month, an idea they eventually scrapped due to pressure from the Federal Communications Commission. They were also accused of trying to force people out of their grandfathered plans by policy changes and price hikes.

Currently, less than 1 percent of Verizon customers are on these unlimited data plans, according to the company, and only a "small fraction of a percentage of those customers are using extraordinary amounts of data."

The notifications started getting distributed as early as July 21 via emails and billing messages.

If you get one of these notifications, your only option with the carrier is to convert your plan to one of their tiered plans by August 31 or your service will be disconnected. After that, a 50-day period for reactivation will be available, as long as you opt for their current offered plans.

Verizon's current plans range from their cheapest 2GB plan for $35 a month to their largest shared data plan, which is currently 100GB for $450 a month.

They claim to have the U.S.'s largest 4G LTE network with 112.6 million retail connections, about 74 million of those are with smartphones.

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