As unlimited data plans change, Sprint and WiFi remain options

Andrew Mollenbeck,

WASHINGTON – Unlimited data plans appear headed for the way of the dinosaurs.

Verizon Wireless has announced changes to buffet-style data that will impact those “grandfathered in.”

Here’s what it means: unlimited data plans aren’t being killed off completely, but customers with those plans will lose them when upgrading to a discounted new phone.

This involves a tiered system for those making the upgrade from 3G to 4G LTE.

“It is a serious impediment for people who want to watch videos on their phones,” says Larry Magid, CBS News and CNET technology analyst.

“If you do what I do and even watch a movie on my cell phone, you too are going to go over that limit very quickly,” Magid says, noting most cell phone users don’t use enough data to be impacted.

Meanwhile, Sprint has planted its flag on truly unlimited data plans that won’t get slowed down at certain levels.

“But Sprint still has a very small percentage of the marketplace, and one reason is that their network isn’t as robust,” Magid says.

The easiest way to avoid piling up data use is to use wireless Internet connections whenever available.

Magid suggests using the gym’s WiFi connection to stream shows or music playlists.

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