Mobile News

Samsung Galaxy S III: Verizon unlimited data plans grandfathered for existing customers

If you’re an existing Verizon Wireless customer I’ve discovered you needn’t worry about losing your unlimited data plan.

Clinton Stark
06.06.2012 | View Comments

Samsung Galaxy S III: Sorry, this is not a Model T and only available in white or blue. (ps - that is not my finger)

Considering an upgrade to the technological tour de force that is the Samsung Galaxy S III uber Android smartphone? If you’re an existing Verizon Wireless customer I’ve discovered you needn’t worry about losing your unlimited data plan. I suspect I’m not alone in that concern.

Attempted calls to Verizon and chat sessions to clarify if upgrading my OG Droid (finally!) would allow me to keep the unlimited plan resulted in plenty of loop du loop – I got nowhere fast, and wasted more than a few minutes on hold, or typing the same question over and over again only to get the proverbial (and incorrect), “I can help you with that.” Regardless, I’ve been satisfied with Verizon over the years.

So I went ahead and put my pre-order in via the Verizon web site for a 32GB Pebble Blue (they don’t offer black, so blue it is) Samsung Galaxy S III. Low and behold, the $29.99 monthly unlimited data plan ported over with nary a hitch – see photo below for the nitty gritty.

If you’re on Verizon and are considering the upgrade I suggest you do it sooner than later. Word is Big Red will soon pull the plug on unlimited data, though we’re not exactly sure when that will happen.

Regarding the S III smartphone itself I think we have a winner. Reviews have been at worst extremely positive (“Even iPhone users should take a look”). Many are saying Samsung’s latest is better than the iPhone 4S. But of course! The S III runs ICS, features a gorgeous 4.8-inch display, 8MP lag-free camera and has the best nav in the business.

Existing Verizon customers that upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S III can keep their unlimited data plans. $30 "Upgrade Fee"?! So much for customer loyalty.

Those following my Android adventures on Stark Insider might want to breathe a sigh of relief as I will no longer be lamenting my upgrade decisions (aka “dilemmas”); recall back in December 2011 I “passed” on the Galaxy Nexus. Heck, it was a tantalizing showcase, but just like the Price is Right I knew the real deal would be just around the corner. While the HTC One X is compelling (though, not available on Verizon) it was the S III that finally proved to be a phone I could live with, under contract, for two years.

All is not super-peachy. I’d change a few things about the S III: I prefer softkeys as seen in the Samsung Nexus, and I’d like to see something like the three pins on the Nexus that make it easier to dock (you don’t need to use the micro-usb which can be a pain to lock into place). Oh, and TouchWiz be gone already. Fortunately, with my wi-fi only, sim-less S II I was able to root, and flash ICS (CyanogenMod) and enjoy the pure Android 4 experience. Hopefully in time I’ll be able to do the same with the S III.

There are at least two upcoming events that could result in buyer’s remorse:

(1) the imminent release of more unlocked pure Google phones – I appreciate the flexibility of unlocked phones; one caveat would be that it would require a T-Mobile or AT&T plan which would mean kissing goodbye to unlimited data: no, no no.

and

(2) the release of the Motorola RAZR HD (Droid Fighter) – I’ve always appreciated Moto hardware, and being on an OG Droid from 2009 feel a certain amount of loyalty (but, obviously, not that much!) to the American brand.

So there you have it. Get a Samsung Galaxy S III and keep your unlimited data plan. If you’re wondering about ship date, on the confirmation email Verizon indicates it will ship by 07/09/2012.

I will miss OG Droid, though I hardly ever used the slider keyboard. Still, that phone represents for me the beginning of the “Droid Does” era, and a remarkable ascent for Google’s OS in only three short years.

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Clinton Stark
Clint writes about Silicon Valley (Churchill Club Academy member), film, California wine, theater (ATCA member) and tech including his trusty Canon EOS 70D and, much to his wife's chagrin, his new Pebble smartwatch. A would-be NHLer if it weren't for the clarinet, he tries in vain to direct Loni on Stark Insider TV. He's held executive marketing roles at Cisco, EMC and Salesforce.com, and is active with start-ups across the valley. Clint's story...
  • dougneb

    Good stuff.  I pulled the trigger also after fighting with the Droid Incredible for the past 2 1/2 years. I also would prefer the Droid Fighter but I’m getting tired of the “leaked” release dates coming and going and would like to hold on to unlimited data for at least a couple of more years.

    Who knows, maybe Motorola will release the Droid Fighter in the next month and we’ll have a real dilemma; having to choose between the two!

  • Michael

    Whoa, looks like I might need to upgrade my wife’s phone to my Galaxy Nexus so I can get this bad boy. I still use my Droid as an alarm clock however (bluetooth stereo ftw)

  • JimmyMac

    I also ordered mine 9:10am central time thins morning.  I have the Samsung Fascinate, ordered site unseen and doing the same here.  I hope all the hype is going to be worth it!  I am over the Galaxy S!!  Bring on SIII!

  • Epicplanner

    When i try to upgrade verizon removes my unlimited data package.

    • Dave4321

      I just tried and I was able to keep it.

  • Dave4321

    Verizon has explicitly said that they will give customers warning before they will no longer be able to keep their unlimited plan.

    “We will share specific details of the plans and any related policy changes well in advance of their introduction, so customers will have time to evaluate their choices and make the best decisions for their wireless service.”
    http://allthingsd.com/20120517/verizon-unlimited-users-plans-not-going-away-but-options-likely-to-narrow/ 

  • http://twitter.com/bbleecker Bob Bleecker

    The real problem is the majority of the customers on VZW will want to upgrade to the LTE version of the iPhone.  If those customers are not grandfathered in, there is no reason to stay with Verizon. They can get the same deal with AT&T.  While AT&T LTE network is not as complete as Verizon, there 3.5 (4G) networks speed exceeds what Verizon’s fallback 3G service can provide.  This could cause a mad exodus from Verizon to AT&T

    • Dave4321

      You have a good point, but many Verizon customer stay just because they believe it has the best voice coverage which it does in the north east.  Unfortunately, Verizon knows this.

  • CelticBrewer

    Hey Clint. I pulled the trigger, too, to replace my original droid.  I would have preferred the HD, but it’s a big question mark. Motorola screwed up big-time there.  I’m not a huge fan of the SGS3 even though I pre-ordered it.  It’s too iPhone like – inferior and dumbed down for the masses (though the 2 gig of RAM swayed me). I’m hoping I can root it if I need to.

    • http://www.starkinsider.com Clinton Stark

      Too bad Moto didn’t launch Droid Fighter/HD at same time so we could compare. I like their hardware, and do not like TouchWiz.

  • john lewis

    I ordered it also and smoothly walked through the same steps. My unlimited plan is still intact.  BTW are sale taxes applied to the original price of the phone. Rumors are the phone may arrive earlier. Stepping up from original Verizon incredible. 

  • Richard

    Is there any information as to how a GSM Network user might change his phone to work with a LTE network?

  • The Big K

    I too have the Droid OG and I am holding out for the RAZR HD, for one reason……… BATTERY! These days, power rules all.

  • Apollo827

    I’m IN! Just ordered. Did you notice, during the online ordering process, when they’re confirming all of the service features you’re activating/keeping active, there’s another section of deactivated services? One of the deactivated items was “new every 2″. As in, good-bye discount pricing? Earlier today I popped into a Verizon retail store just to inquire about the upgrade process and the sales person eluded to the possibility of keeping your unlimited data plan, after these next 2 years, IF you pay full retail for new equipment. Now it all makes sense. But as you may be aware, the retail employees are as much in the dark as we users are when it comes to the will of Big Red.

  • Long live granfathered 4g

    I have been a Verizon customer for 15 years, i got almost my whole family to switch, to verizon thru the years. if they screw me out of my 3G data plan. When I upgrade to 4G, I will get my family to switch to unlimited sprint plan. Total of 25+ people. Customer service used to be great, I even see the customer support getting sloppy lately. I hope this is not the future of Verizon wireless! that’s the problem with american corporations lately, they have to make more and more, as if they didn’t make enough money the year before. They raise the bar way to high. Self fish ceo’s, trying to make money for the stock holders, not careing about their everyday loyal customers, that make them a huge giant company. Verizon is losing money on their european tower project, now they want to charge the US for their stupidity. Put the money on the towers in the USA.

  • Glenn Huang

    I just pulled the trigger a few moments ago and am glad to see you also in the same decision making throes as me. I’ve got a Droid 2 that has been a great phone–love the sliding keyboard. At the check-out I saw the lovely $30 upgrade fee that pretty much took most of the $50 discount. I’m still jazzed but was wondering why the US/Verizon versions of this phone is only a 1.5 GHz dual core CPU vs the 1.4 GHz Quad-Core versions in other parts of the world (e.g. NZ)?

    • lamarrk

      The Quad-Core offered in Europe won’t do 4G LTE. Chip set incompatibility with the technology. The dual-core works great with LTE and according to most reviews, no one notices it’s “only” a dual-core. There aren’t any 4 threaded apps out, so we don’t really lose anything.

  • Glenn Huang

    Oh: also I did grandfather my unlimited Corporate data plan during the upgrade and that was less than the lowest of the data-limited plans offered! I did check with the Chat Support on this to confirm that this can be done. So yes, good advice: get it before it goes.

  • I Have Options

    No More Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plan? = No More Customer Loyalty!

    AT&T?, Sprint?, T-Mobile? = Here I Come.

  • TexanBuilt

    According to Yahoo, Verizon is now planning the change as of June 28:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/verizon-ditch-phone-plans-shared-120639203.html

  • Dustin Remy

    Clinton – I followed your same path and preordered the Galaxy S3 before June 28th(over the available Droid Razr Maxx) under the assumption I was being grandfathered into an unlimited data plan.
    Received an email from Verizon this morning stating that the unlimited plan is no longer available and I need to revise my order! 2 emails to Verizon have got me nowhere thus far

    Signed,
    WishingIboughtaDroidRazrMax

    • http://www.starkinsider.com Clinton Stark

      WIBADRM: as a remarkable family member of mine once said, “turds and balls to that!” I haven’t got that crappy email yet (OG Droid ’09) from Verizon. If I do, my decision is simple- go Galaxy Nexus via Google direct (once ban lifted next week) and switch to AT&T. For now, I am still on hunt for contract-free Verizon Nexus. Plan is to use it until next Nexus arrives. I love purity of Android, and first release love (i.e. JB!).