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updated 3/14/2011 2:10:34 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:10:34

Verizon recently confirmed that it would offer iPhone users an unlimited data package for $29.95 per month. The catch: The phone company says it will only offer the plan for a limited time.

While Verizon has long offered the $29.95 plan for current smartphone users, the unlimited data offer for Verizon iPhone users will only be available for a limited time, a Verizon executive recently told the Wall Street Journal.

This kind of offer leaves consumers wondering if they should hurry to a Verizon store to get the “unlimited” deal before it disappears. And if you're an AT&T iPhone customer who didn’t get a chance to purchase the unlimited data plan on AT&T, you might be wondering if you should switch over to Verizon if only for the unlimited data (although you'd need to purchase Verizon's specially branded iPhone if you decided to switch carriers).

The short answer: Most smartphone users do not need the unlimited data plan. An average iPhone or Android user uses about 250 megabytes (MB) of data per month over the cellular network, Phillip Redman, vice president of research at Gartner Research, told TechNewsDaily. (Redman estimates that another 20 percent to 25 percent of data is transferred over Wi-Fi.)

While most consumers don’t need the unlimited plan, “for the higher-end smartphones it makes sense because it protects you from any overage,” Redman said.

For instance, AT&T offers 200 MB of data with its Data Plus plan for $15 per month, and 2 gigabytes (GB) of data under the Data Pro plan for $25 per month. If you go over the 200 MB plan, you’ll automatically be charged $15 for an additional 200 MB. So, if you’re an average smartphone user who uses 250 MB of data per month, you’ll end up paying $30 in data charges.

Verizon has not announced any details about the plans it will offer once the unlimited data plan expires.

“We don’t know what the new plan is going to turn into,” a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless told TechNewsDaily.

Redmen thinks the replacement plan will most likely be tiered, either by the amount of data transferred (similar to AT&T's iPhone plan), or based on data-transfer speed.

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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