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If you're one of the remaining iPhone users clutching onto your original unlimited plan with either AT&T or Verizon, it looks like it might be the end of the road. When the new iPhone lands next week, it will come tethered to a new line of "shared" data plans with significantly higher prices--the closest thing to unlimited -- 20 GB on AT&T -- will set users back around $200 a month.
And that's the good news.
AT&T has already technically done away with its grandfathered iPhone unlimited plans, throttling data speeds when iPhone users top 3 GBs of monthly usage. It's not exactly clear whether iPhone 5 upgraders will be able to hold onto their so-called unlimited plans, but it doesn't really matter, since AT&T throttles 4G speeds, too, starting at 5 GBs.
Verizon has taken it one step further, announcing on its site that users switching from 3G to 4G will have to abandon whatever plan they're on and switch over to one of the new shared plans. Basically, the only way to hold onto your Verizon unlimited data plan and get an iPhone 5 is to pay full price for an unlocked phone. Per Verizon:
"You're not required to move to Share Everything, but if you do, unlimited data will not be retained on your line. ... If keeping unlimited is important to you, you can choose to upgrade and pay full retail price for the phone."
But if you're willing to fork over $650 for the iPhone, you don't actually need Verizon at all--T-Mobile's unlimited 4G plans start at $69.99. Of course, you'll have to unlock your phone to get it working at all.