It's been known that Verizon Wireless would follow the lead of competitor AT&T and end its offer of an unlimited data plan for new smartphone subscribers, but now it's official.

New smartphone subscribers at Verizon will no longer be able to get unlimited data usage as a plan. They'll have to choose a tiered pricing option instead.

Existing Verizon customers will not be impacted by the change. They can keep their unlimited data usage plan unless they relinquish it, at that point they could not get it back.

Beginning Thursday Verizon customers who purchase a smartphone and a $30 monthly plan can use up to two gigabytes of data. Customers who want more data per month can get five gigabytes for $50 and 10 gigabytes for $80. Those wanting more data per month can pay another $10 for each additional gigabyte they use per month.

Verizon says that nine of every 10 customers it has use less than two gigabytes of data per month.

AT&T made a similar move last year, ending unlimited data plans for new smartphone buyers. AT&T customers with existing unlimited data plans were left in place.

There are a lot of reasons for the change, said Verizon spokesperson Brenda Raney. We are recognizing that technology is changing. It allows customers to pay for what they use. It also sets the stage where everything we do will be wireless at some point, and it helps people plan ahead for discretionary income on wireless.

Verizon says it will alert customers when they reach 50 percent of their allowance, similar to what AT&T does, so they won't face unexpected charges.