Verizon: subsidized iPhone 5 or unlimited data, not both

iPhone 5
Which carrier is it going to be?

Apple's iPhone 5 is coming to the "big three" of American carriers - Sprint, Verizon and AT&T - however not all data plans are created equal.

While they all have the capability of providing 4G LTE (the iPhone 5 is the first Apple smartphone with the power) and unlimited data, Verizon is reportedly forcing existing customers who wish to pick up an iOS 6 handset to choose between unlimited data and device subsidies.

In other words, Verizon customers with unlimited data plans can keep those plans, but only if they pay full price for a new iPhone 5. Buy a subsidized phone and you're on a new, limited data plan.

With a price tag of between $199 and $399 (depending on the memory capacity) for a new two-year contract, some U.S. customers may get cut out of the 5-pandemonium.

One or the other

9to5Mac learned a full price 16GB iPhone 5 will cost $649, making the choice between unlimited data and a subsidized phone all the more lopsided.

Verizon announced last July it'd be eliminating unlimited data for new customers, transitioning everyone onto a tiered data share plan by the end of the season.

AT&T, on the other hand, will let its customers keep their current data plans or switch to a new one without any consequences.

"We offer customers the flexibility to keep the iPhone data plans they already have or choose any of our individual or new Mobile Share plans," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, in a press release.

AT&T's plan isn't completely unlimited, however, as once the carrier throttles data once it hits 5GB.

Sprint, meanwhile, looks like it will keep its unlimited data plan with no caveats.

Pre-orders for Verizon's iPhone 5 begin at 3 a.m. EDT (12 a.m. PDT) Sept. 14. while Sprint's pre-orders kick off one minute later. No word from AT&T when they'll open pre-ordering.

From CNET, AT&T via Gizmodo, 9to5Mac, Verizon

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.