Verizon customers who have unlimited data plans and use more than 200 gigabytes a month will be required to switch to a capped data plan by Feb. 16 or be disconnected from service, a company spokeswoman said.
A letter notifying affected customers about the change started to go out last week, Verizon spokeswoman Kelly Crummey said. Those customers will also be notified on their bill statements.
If they still have not made the switch by Feb. 9, Verizon will send them a text message reminder, she said.
Crummey said the change was made to "ensure the network works for all of our customers."
"If they're using that much data, they're taking up a lot of capacity on the cell tower, so other people who are trying to use the service within proximity of that cell tower may or may not be able to use that service," she said.
Verizon stopped selling the unlimited data plans nearly four years ago, Crummey said, but had allowed customers who already had those plans to keep them. She declined to say how many customers still have the plans.
Customers who have an unlimited plan but do not use more than 200 GB a month will not be affected by this change, Crummey said.
Depending on how much data a customer uses, the customer could start paying "significantly" more with a new plan, Crummey said.
Current unlimited data customers generally pay about $49.99 a month, she said. A plan with 100 GB monthly costs about $450 a month.
T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint still offer unlimited data plans, and at much lower prices than Verizon's 100-GB plan — but after certain usage thresholds, those three providers warn, the speed of the data could slow.
AT&T's unlimited data plan is available only to customers who also have both AT&T wireless and DirecTV service.
2:50 p.m.: This article was updated to include information about other carriers' unlimited data plans.