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Verizon to hike prices on plans but offer more data

The changes are part of a big overhaul, though existing customers can stick with their current plans.

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The nation's largest wireless carrier is set to unveil changes to its plans that will make them more expensive, but will also include more data, according to someone familiar with the changes.

The low-end "S" plan will go up by $5 to $35 a month, but will include 2 gigabytes of data, twice as much as before. The "M" plan will go up by $5 to $50 a month, while its data will rise from 3GB to 4GB. The "L" plan will go up by $10 to $70 a month, while data increases from 6GB to 8GB. The "XL" plan will go up by $10 to $90 a month, but you'll get 16GB, up from 12GB before. Lastly, the "XXL" plan will cost $10 more at $110 a month, but you will get 24GB instead of 18GB.

The changes are part of a broader overhaul of its plans, which will also include a rollover data program called "Carryover Data," a new way to avoid overage fees, and better access to Canada and Mexico. The move reflects a heightened competitive environment, one in which smaller rivals T-Mobile and Sprint have begun winning away customers through aggressive offers. Many of these changes mimic offers already available at the other carriers.

A Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment on the changes and only hinted at "fireworks" later this week. "Stay tuned," she said. The company will host a press conference at 1 pm ET/10 am PT on Wednesday to "unveil a transformational wireless experience."

The move to add data reflects the reality that customers are growing ever more data hungry. It's not just e-mail or Web browsing anymore; customers are increasingly watching Netflix or live-streaming video via Facebook or Periscope.

As part of the changes, Verizon will also introduce a new My Verizon app that acts more like a remote control for your plan. Through the app, you'll be able to turn on "Safety Mode," which is the company's way of preventing you from paying overage fees. Like its rivals, Verizon will offer a throttling option for customers who hit their data limit. Instead of an overage fee, the customer would see his connection severely slowed down for the remainder of the billing cycle.

Safety Mode will be available for free to customers with an XL or XXL plan. S, M and L customers will have to pay $5 a month to access the feature. Customers will also be able to see how much data they are carrying over from the previous month through the app.

Existing customers will get the choice to change to these new plans and rates, but they won't be forced into them.

Updated at 1:31 p.m. PT on July 5: To note that Verizon will be hosting an online news conference tomorrow.

This article also appears in Spanish. Read: Verizon prepara grandes cambios a sus planes.