Verizon Wireless, the country's largest cellular provider, said Thursday that it will raise the price of some of its unlimited data plans from $29.99 a month to $49.99 a month.
The drastic increase, 66 percent, will affect some of its long-time customers who have until now survived the company's efforts to lure them away from prized unlimited plans in the era of data-gobbling mobile apps. Customers will see the higher price on their bills starting Nov. 15.
Wireless carriers are struggling with falling revenues from traditional text and voice services. To compensate, the industry has encouraged consumers to consume more mobile data, and to switch to more lucrative metered data plans. Sprint increased the price of its unlimited data plans from $60 a month to $70 earlier this month.
Verizon says the change will not affect 99 percent of its customers. In fact, you can't even get an unlimited plan from Verizon these days because the company stopped offering them years ago.
"Some of those folks in the 1 percent that are on unlimited plans, they could save money if they switched to one of the new Verizon plans, based on their usage," said Chuck Hamby, a Verizon spokesperson.
The price increase, said Hamby, will allow the company to maintain a high-quality network. It will not affect Verizon's government or corporate customers.
To manage periods of high demand, Verizon had previously flirted with slowing down the Internet speed of some of its unlimited data customers. But it walked back the idea amid criticism from federal regulators.