It was only 2 weeks ago that Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said on an investor call,
At the end of the day, people don't need unlimited plans.
As it turns out, that statement was either a deflection, very focused or misinformed. This week, Verizon began testing a new program called PopData, in which you can purchase small blocks of unlimited data. The program seems to be intended to provide this data in short bursts just when you need it. You can purchase 30 or 60 minutes for $2 or $3, respectively.
There are limitations to the program, though. First, of course, is that it is a test program, which means that not everyone can currently participate. If you are one of the lucky beta testers, though, you still may see times when you cannot add your unlimited data option. For example, if the network is currently under heavy load in the location you are in, Verizon will decline your purchase request. To allow for this restriction, Verizon requires that you keep your Location Services turned on while interacting with the My Verizon app when you add the data.
One restriction we expected to have but do not is on tethering. If you purchase a 30 minute block of unlimited data, you can use it to tether your phone to another device, essentially giving you short bursts of unlimited data for tablets, laptops and more. Usually promotions like this exclude tethering, which makes this a nice change of pace.
There is no telling whether this program will eventually succeed or not, nor do we know what Verizon will consider success. There are a lot of potential end-games here, including terminating the program, rolling it out nationwide, or discovering a demand for unlimited data and bringing that feature back as a whole.
Is PopData a feature that makes Verizon's lack of overall unlimited data an acceptable loss? Let us know in the comments.