Verizon Wireless’ tech chief says unlimited Internet access ‘has to change,’ echoing AT&T


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The two largest U.S. wireless carriers agree that the days of unlimited Internet cellphone access are numbered.

A week after AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said the telecom industry would transition to ‘variable pricing,’ Verizon Wireless Chief Technology Officer Anthony Melone chimed in to support the idea.

Plans offering ‘as much data as you can consume is the big issue that has to change,’ Melone told the Wall Street Journal. He added that the companies need to offer a transparent way for customers to track how much data they’re using.


‘It’s one thing to say all you can eat is gone,’ he told the Journal. ‘It’s another to have consumers worrying, ‘Can I stream this radio?’ That’s what we don’t want.’

Melone also discussed Verizon’s 4G high-speed Internet and said the first 4G-enabled handset would hit the market in mid-2011. As wireless networks accelerate, it seems telecoms are worried that less waiting for downloads will mean more on-the-go consumption.

[Corrected, 3:05 p.m. The last sentence originally attributed talk of Verizon’s 4G network to Stephenson.]

-- Mark Milian