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Verizon Wireless pricing bound to change online habits

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David Brancaccio: The American traditional of all-you-can-eat may be ending when it comes to cell phones. Verizon Wireless is changing what it charges for using data, switching to the more you pay, the more you get.

Marketplace’s Bob Moon reports.

Bob Moon: From way back to the heyday of dial-up, Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin says we’ve been conditioned to accessing the Internet on our terms.

Charles Golvin: The expectation people have is that you pay one monthly fee and you use as much as you like.

Now, Golvin says, wireless providers are caught having the renege on that longtime promise. He says they can’t afford to do business that way, anymore than your power company could provide unlimited service for a set monthly fee.

Even though Verizon Wireless claims most customers will pay the same — or even less — its new pricing plans are clearly aimed at making users pay their way. Marketing chief Tami Erwin says cheap, unlimited plans are gone for good.

Tami Erwin: The cost to build up networks to the level of performance that customers demand, and the speeds that customers demand, unlimited is not a sustainable model.

Customers are bound to have trouble adjusting, though, as CNET senior writer Maggie Reardon sees it.

Maggie Reardon: You don’t really know how much data you’re using when you stream a video.

Reardon fears some customers will be learning the hard way just how far a gigabyte will go.

I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.

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