Data Plans Clarification from Verizon Highlight Issues in Wireless Today
Yesterday had quite it’s fair share of drama as Verizon dropped a proverbial bomb on its customers when it was let slip that Verizon’s customers were going to be forced into tiered data at some point, even if you are grandfathered in with unlimited data. Speaking at the 40th annual J.P. Morgan Technology, Media, and Telecom conference, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo stated:
“LTE is our anchor point for data share, so as you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto the data share plan, moving away from the unlimited world,” he said. “So when you think about our 3G base — a lot of our 3G base is unlimited — as they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan, and that’s beneficial for us for many reasons, obviously.”
Data is data is data. Stop making a difference between hotspot data and phone data.
Today we got this tidbit from Verizon:
As we have stated publicly, Verizon Wireless has been evaluating its data pricing structure for some time. Customers have told us that they want to share data, similar to how they share minutes today. We are working on plans to provide customers with that option later this year.
We will share specific details of the plans and any related policy changes well in advance of their introduction, so customers will have time to evaluate their choices and make the best decisions for their wireless service. It is our goal and commitment to continue to provide customers with the same high value service they have come to expect from Verizon Wireless.
So what does this all mean? TL:DR version: Verizon is looking to get more people off 3G and on to LTE. It invested money into the LTE network and it is barely being used, while the 3G network on Verizon isn’t providing an optimal experience for many people. As you and I come to the end of our contracts and look to upgrade, Verizon is then going to force us into a new contract.
The details on how much the plans are, and how many GB of data are included in said plans have not been released yet. What’s going to be interesting is how Verizon is going to handle multi-line contracts like I have. I have 4 lines on my plan and one line is almost always up for renewal. So what happens when a line needs to be upgraded? Do all the lines then need to be forced into the new plans? It’s all speculation at this point, but we hope that Verizon does offer a solution that works for everyone. Even with my heavy usage of Verizon’s 3G and LTE, I only average around 6-7 GB of data a month. That’s well below the 10 GB plan that Verizon currently offers at the top of it’s pricing matrix. Throw in the double data for free deal and I could in theory, have a 10 GB data cap for $50 a month. The difference is I am paying $30 a month for unlimited now.
Conclusions? If any it is that unlimited data is pretty much dead. Once Sprint sees a good LTE network then perhaps things will change and the field will even out, but as it stands now, things are what they are.
- The carriers need to have more flexible plans. For my case a 7 GB plan would be perfect.
- Data is data is data. Stop making a difference between hotspot data and phone data.
- There needs to be more accountability in how carriers are using spectrum. Verizon and AT&T are accused of hoarding spectrum–let the FCC oversee how that spectrum is being used and let unused spectrum go back to auction. Let’s let the smaller carriers get some action too.
- AT&T and Verizon are making so much bank, and they are supposed to, but it seems like they are operating as if they are struggling. Every time that we turn around there is a another fee, for example the $30 upgrade fee so “Verizon can continue to offer workshops to teach people how to use their phones.” C’mon we know you are charging us because you can get away with it. Which brings me to my final point:
- Phones should work on any network, anywhere in the USA. This is a pipe dream, but wouldn’t it be great to walk into a store and buy a phone that works on any network? I really want a HTC One X, but I would have to drop Verizon to do so. With all the major carriers going into LTE spectrum and this little tidbit from Verizon, maybe that will happen at some point in the future.
I never thought that I would ever leave Verizon, but for the first time I am thinking hard about that decision. The unlimited data was something that I felt cemented our relationship, but if that goes away then I might consider going to a GSM carrier. The expansion of LTE is also prolific on Verizon, but there were plenty of times during CTIA that my Galaxy Nexus wasn’t transmitting any data at all, and let’s not going into the whole Google/Verizon fiasco over the Galaxy Nexus in the first place.
Man that One X looks sexy right now…
When the USAF dropped this New Jersey boy off in Louisiana, he had no idea that the fun was just beginning. John has turned wrenches on jet engines in a Combat AGE team, raided Molten Core in the day, pwn n00bs in Battlefield 3, and can speak iOS and Android.
John has a BS degree in Culinary Arts, and is working on a Master’s in Education. Married and a father of 4 boys, John gets his screen name, Broadwayblues, from the NHL team the New York Rangers, loves the NY Giants and admits that he likes the NY Mets too. He cuddles his Galaxy Nexus at night.
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