Tiered data plans are something we've thought about but deep down hope never develop. There's something about having unlimited data that is appealing to the consumer. Unfortunately as phones add more features that are dependent on data, the carriers find it less and less appealing.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Verizon's CTO, Tony Melone, hinted that the unlimited plan's days might be numbered. Carriers are building up networks, offering more coverage and faster speeds. All this comes at a cost and eventually they will have to find a way to recoup the investment.
Malone stated that plans offering "as much data as you can consume is the big issue that has to change." He continues to say, "It's one thing to say all you can eat is gone, it's another to have consumers worrying, 'Can I stream this radio?' That's what we don't want."
Tiered data plans aren't etched in stone with other possible alternatives being simply raising the cost of the unlimited plans or capping unlimited plans (Verizon's cap is currently 5GB). With the development of 4G networks and more data intensive phones heading to market, such as the Windows Phone 7 Series, expect the possibility of tiered plans not to go away anytime soon.