17 May 2012

Verizon: 4G LTE = No More Unlimited Data

Verizon says customers who buy subsidized phones will lose their unlimited data plan.

Are you a Verizon customer?

When your contract's up, are you looking forward to an upgrade? Maybe one of those speedy LTE models, like the Galaxy Nexus (by Samsung) or the mega-powered Motorola's RAZR Maxx? And do you still have a Verizon Wireless $30 unlimited data plan, the popular option they stopped selling last summer?

If so, you might want to think twice about that new phone...

Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference, Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said all VZW customers buying subsidized 4G LTE phones "will be moved into" Verizon's new data-share plan, scheduled for introduction in summer 2012. At that time, "Everyone will be on data share," he said.

Why? For one thing, this means Verizon's on the hook for less bandwidth, each month. Two people on 'unlimited' could safely use more throughput than the same two when sharing a capped plan. More importantly, Verizon calculates they can increase profits by selling tiered data plans than with a one-price, flat-rate model. 

Here's Mr. Shammo, again.:
"So when you think about our 3G base, a lot of our 3G base is unlimited," he added. "As they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan. And that is beneficial for us for many reasons, obviously. So as you pick what tier you want to be and we think that there will be some price up in those tiers."
This change will also help VZW provide more accurate data on expected revenues and profits -- sure to be popular with Wall Street. Shammo said the telecom industry will move away from the traditionally key average revenue per user figures to a revenue per account metric, when tracking mobile carriers.

Some have suggested Mr. Shammo's words didn't necessarily reflect official policy. Well, you can abandon that hope. Verizon's news blog now hosts a very official press release on the matter. With its rather perfunctory title ("Statement on Data Plans") and remarkable brevity (110 words), you know it can't be good news:
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. 
-- Brenda Raney, Exec. Dir. Corp. Communication
So, there. We told you. Now get off our lawn, you punks.

If you're upset about losing your Verizon unlimited data plan to get a new 4G LTE phone, you're not alone. MobilePhonesFan happens to be a Verizon customer, too, and we are definitely not amused. Neither are the mass of VZW users on Twitter, who bombarded the company with curses, threats and sundry abuse.

Full transcript: link

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