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How to Keep Verizon and AT&T From Screwing You Over

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Over the past few months, we’ve talked a lot about the many strategies the phone company uses to get rid of unlimited data. Among other things, Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) have prevented subscribers from being grandfathered into unlimited data plans, and made strange, seemingly arbitrary decisions regarding data caps.

Most recently, both companies did away with a promised Dropbox promotion, mainly because they didn’t want to pay for it.  

So, what’s an iPhone (AAPL) or Android (GOOG) user supposed to do in these days of increasingly constrained data policies?

As of right now, the only phone plan left with truly unlimited data comes from Sprint (S). T-Mobile still sells unlimited plans, but they are throttled after a certain amount of data use. Neither Verizon nor AT&T offer unlimited data anymore, and both throttle customer usage after a few GB a month for those who’ve been grandfathered in.

However, as Lifehacker tells us, it is possible to keep an unlimited plan on any of these providers, assuming you’re willing to make a few sacrifices.

For example, while Verizon’s unlimited plans start disappearing at the end of this month, customers can keep their unlimited data as long as they buy new phones at the unsubsidized price. Grandfathered in customers can also upgrade their phones before the June 28 deadline and buy themselves two more years.

AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile customers are safe from the absolute extinction of their unlimited plans for now, as long as they don’t mind the data throttling.

Perhaps the better question is whether or not unlimited plans are even worth it. A closer look at personal data usage might reveal that a tiered data plan is more cost-effective.

Other useful strategies for reducing data usage include constantly searching for Wi-Fi -- secure or not, times are tough! -- and downloading a data tracker for your smart phone.

And, of course, if you really want to get back at the phone company, start thinking like Avon Barksdale.

(See also: Verizon, AT&T Screw Over Their Customers Yet Again and Save $1,000 on iPhone Charges by Thinking Like 'The Wire')
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.