Yesterday, Apple went through its occasional ritual of taking an hour to go over every minute detail of its new phone. But what wasn’t mentioned in that overlong introduction to the iPhone 5 was what it means for the folks who still have unlimited data plans from back in the day.
Back in May, Verizon Wireless seemed to make it clear that anyone wishing to cash in on an upgrade would either need to switch to a non-unlimited data plan or pay full retail price for their phone. We’re assuming this applies to the iPhone 5 too, though we’ve reached out to VZW for confirmation.
As for AT&T, the president & CEO, AT&T Mobility confirmed in a statement yesterday that, “We offer customers the flexibility to keep the iPhone data plans they already have or choose any of our individual or new Mobile Share plans.” We’ve confirmed with the Death Star that this includes grandfathered unlimited plans.
For those of you who are interested in keeping your unlimited plan on AT&T or Verizon, Gizmodo recommends that you do not pre-order online. What? Well, they say that both companies are notorious for having “opaque online tools for carrying over grandfathered plans,” and you could accidentally give up your plan. Once it’s gone, it’s pretty much gone, even if it was an accident. Gizmodo talked to some AT&T reps who recommended waiting until a few weeks after the iPhone 5 comes out (to give the salespeople time to figure out the system). (Anyone out there with more information on this? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Sprint customers need not ask the question, as the company has yet to give any indication of backing down on offering unlimited data to customers. Who knows how long that will continue once it has its LTE network up and running in the next year, but that’s not an issue for now.
In other iPhone 5 news, people who want the phone but don’t want to be locked into a contract will be able to get a prepaid device via Cricket, which was the first U.S. company to offer a prepaid iPhone. Prices are not yet announced, but it’s expected that, since the iPhone 5 is going for the same price as the 4S, Cricket will likely keeps its prices the same when the 5 becomes available.