The death of unlimited: How Verizon and AT&T are affecting other industries

Verizon Wireless recently announced that after dropping their unlimited data tier, they will now be transitioning the customers who have been grandfathered in on these plans to limited data plans. Recently, AT&T and T-Mobile have also done away with their “unlimited” data plans. Many services are even throttling their “unlimited” data plans after a certain amount of usage has been reached. Sprint probably doesn’t limit or throttle their unlimited plans, but Mashable said they did, and if they don’t then we really don’t have an article, so let’s all assume they do. Comcast started experimenting with usage caps on their residential Internet service last year. What kind of effect does this redefinition of unlimited have on other American businesses? It turns out, other industries that offer “unlimited” services are noticing, and beginning to use the same tactics. You may find that these services you take for granted are starting to change. In our research in this new landscape, we found out that the Chinese buffet chain Happy Wok will be watching its customers more closely. Their buffet, which is advertized as all-you-can-eat, will be limited to 3 plates, including dessert. When asked if the plates included those little almond cookies, owner Harold Chen assured us it did.

Another business which typically charges a flat rate for unlimited use is Home Security. First Watch, a home security and brunch company, recently announced that it will be throttling its customers if they have too many alarms in a certain period of time. After two alarms in one month, the company will only send one cop on a bicycle in response. When asked for comment, First Watch’s Chief Operating Officer said, “We will still respond to any and calls we receive through our system, and we’re talking about a small minority here. Only a few customers who are abusing the system will see the change.”

24 Hour Fitness has said that they will be throttling excessive use of their exercise machines. After 50 miles in one month, treadmills will be limited to 2 MPH and stationary bikes will be limited to 5 MPH. Other unlimited services expected to change are Amazon Prime, monthly transit passes in various cities, and Mockcrunch. What? Did you think you could suckle from this teet forever?