Verizon Wireless customers are up in arms about an apparent move to end unlimited data plans. Some are even taking to Twitter to express their disgust over a plan to force users who were grandfathered in to the unlimited package for 3G to subscribe to tiered plans when they upgrade to the faster 4G LTE network .
CFO Fran Shammo, speaking at the J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference Wednesday, said Verizon would offer tiered family plans allowing shared data usage for 4G LTE this summer, and current unlimited package subscribers with 3G would have to change to one of those plans to get LTE service.
Now, in an official statement, Verizon seems to be backpedaling a bit.
"As we have stated publicly, Verizon Wireless has been evaluating its data pricing structure for some time," Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said in a published statement. "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."
Tweeters Still Angry
Are Verizon Wireless customers satisfied? No, at least not yet. It seems that bad news travels faster than updates, especially ambiguous ones. Customers are still on Twitter talking about the end to unlimited data packages.
"Switch to the network with unlimited data...or not...there's always that," tweeted a user named Garrett. Others, like Liza Sabater, are taking to Twitter to call Verizon Wireless "evil." It seems Verizon will have to work a little harder to undo the ill will its CFO inadvertently created.
"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," Raney said. "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."
A Boon for Sprint?
Could the backlash against Verizon be a boon for Sprint, the last carrier that looks to be offering a truly unlimited data plan? (T-Mobile throttles data speeds for customers after they hit 2 GB in a month.) It may, or the unlimited data shell game that every carrier plays when it first launches an iPhone could backfire. (continued...)
Posted: 2012-05-23 @ 8:26am PT
The thing that people forget when talking about sprint's spectrum shortage is that they are launching their LTE network over currently unused spectrum. First they will launch a 5x5 carrier in their 10MHZ of unused PCS-G block that they got in a trade for old I-DEN spectrum that was being reallocated/ consolidated for emergency and public safety use. They are also shutting down the Nextel frequencies left in the 800Mhz block for another 5x5 carrier along with a voice and possibly an EVDO carrier in their 14Mhz of spectrum.
All of this will take place without taking anything away from their current 3G and 1X positions, which will also benefit from the backhaul and other improvements from network vision.
Finally their partnership with Clearwire will provide additional capacity in large dense urban cities by 2014.
Basically, although sprint has less spectrum than the other carriers, they are using it much more efficiently, and will not be at a large disadvantage in the long run.
Posted: 2012-05-18 @ 7:11am PT
Verizon, ATT and Sprint take heed: You are a commodity and a Utility. As such your customers (and your regulator) demand performance of your responsibilities. Typically your customers will vote with their feet every 12 months. So if you feel compelled to play these games of customer churn (who’s got unlimited plan vs who does not this month) at the detriment of your customers, you too can fall prey to smaller and smaller customer base and eventual acquisition (history is littered with examples.)
It is pure marketing to lock customers into tiered packages – just as it was for broadband. You’re pricing models and revenues should ensure you always have enough bandwidth to account for unlimited plans. Perhaps you should take a page from that playbook and recognize that the two truly worthy areas that will drive customer retention & revenue growth are: QUALITY of Service and QUALITY of CUSTOMER Service. Attempting to grind out revenues using a shell game is sad and demonstrate a lack of customer sensitivity.
It is time you ALL step up.
Posted: 2012-05-17 @ 1:01pm PT
I have the unlimited. I also have a phone that can do both 3 and 4g. Not at home mind you. Also I wouldn't have bought this phone if i knew by having it they would try to force me out of my plan. Verizon is being stupid. When they moved out of unlimited they said it was so other people could afford data but the lowest there is is 30. The same price as the unlimited