We have been expecting to kiss our $30 unlimited data on the Verizon network goodbye since last year’s announcement of the mid-summer 2011 change. In order to “soften the blow”, the big red carrier is now dropping hints of possible new plans calling for shared data among family members. Verizon’s finance chief Fran Shammo told the Reuters Global Technology Summit:

Verizon Wireless plans to kick off pricing changes this summer by eliminating smartphone plans that allow unlimited Web access for a flat fee. It will replace them with tiered pricing that forces heavy data users to pay more for mobile data. After this change the company will look to soften the blow by offering more options such as family plans for data services.

The new plans will allow families to share data just as they are now able to share voice minutes. Think of it as family mega-plans for data, Shamoo said. “People are going to share that mega-plan based on the number of devices within their family. That’s just a logical progression”, he told the news gathering organization.