Verizon's offering a new unlimited mobile data plan that comes in bite-sized 30-minute or 60-minute chunks, kind of like incremental in-app purchases, only this time you're paying to extend the unlimited data.
It's unclear who exactly Verizon is targeting with this type of subscription model, although it does come in handy if you need to download large files on-the-go if there is no Wi-Fi network available, or watch the latest episode of a Netflix show if you don't have access to your desktop for some reason.
Called PopData, it'll cost users $2 for every 30-minute extension and $3 for every 60-minute extension. The sum will be billed directly to a user's Verizon account.
Why Verizon and other rival networks couldn't just offer a simple, monthly unlimited plan escapes the logic of many. In fact, Verizon seems averse with the idea, keen on pushing out old users who were subscribed to their previous unlimited plans. Some of those users rack up to 100 GB a month, and Verizon's intent to jettison them from their service. Either that or they'll be forced to pay $450 a month if they don't curb their data consumption.
Verizon and its rival networks haven't really offered honest-to-goodness unlimited plans without caveats and subtle workarounds to make subscribers pay more. T-Mobile's unlimited plan forces users to shell out $3 just to stream high-quality videos. Sprint, on the other hand, has a $25 "unlock" scheme, where music, video and gaming streams won't be capped if users pay this amount. It's a disappointing reality for users who seek a true and legitimate unlimited plan without below-the-surface stipulations.
PopData may seem cut and dried, but what you see isn't exactly what you get.
PopData will only be available where there's an LTE network. If you're in an area where only Verizon's 3G network is available, you won't be able to take advantage of PopData and data capping rules will still apply. It's also only available for postpaid subscribers, so prepaid customers are out of luck. The data plans seem somewhat shady, especially considering that there's no way to stop the timer. As soon as you activate the plan, it starts counting down, irrespective of network speeds or performance. And yes, time will count down even with the presence of network problems.
It's uncertain how this equates in the grand scheme of things, or whether this subverts the slew of qualms many have often issued to the network for unsatisfying subscription models. Though, you're welcome to try PopData if it proves useful to you.
PopData will be available on Android smartphones, iPhone and iPad.