Verizon Seeks To End the “All You Can Eat” 3G Buffet for Everyone This Time
by Derin Richardson, Ex-Machina Report Founder
Big Red may have finally inserted the final nail in the coffin for many of its loyal customers this time–no more unlimited data for anyone. Period.
According to Verizon’s CFO Fran Shammo during a J.P. Morgan Media and Telcom conference this morning, new subscribers will be involuntarily forced to enter shared data plans this summer.
Furthermore, any existing customers with upgrade dates thereafter will be left with no other option but to relinquish their unlimited data when they go to purchase a new handset. This is seemingly all in an effort to leverage their vast 3G-data user base onto their 4G LTE network.
“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 a data share plan. And moving away from, if you will, the unlimited world and moving everyone into a tiered structure/data share type plan,” Shammo said.
“So when you think about our 3G base, a lot of our 3G base is unlimited. As they start migrating to 4G they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan. And that’s beneficial for us for many reason, obviously.”
But at what cost?
This stance from Verizon certainly hasn’t made them any more admirable, as the preexisting outrage over the company’s $30 upgrade fee is still quite raw.
Of course, this is only a small portion of the upheaval that has taken place over the span of a year. First it was the discontinuing of the wildly popular “new every two” program, where customers received an additional $30-$50 discount (on top of subsidized pricing) for new handsets when renewing their bi-annual contracts. Then announcing a “throttling” protocol for 3G users who use certain amount of data within their billing cycles, effectively giving them a threshold for data consumption before scaling their speeds back to 1X EV-DO.
Granted, most if not all of these limitations were already established by other carriers such as AT&T and Sprint prior to this, however Verizon’s reputation flourished with the abstinence of such practices, despite being dependent on the aging CDMA tech standard (GSM has been the globally used cellular tech standard, holding approximately 80 percent of the global market share today).
While pricing options remain to be seen from Verizon, existing customers are likely already devising exit strategies and a large exodus of users may take place.
The only incentive Verizon customers seem to have at this point is the robust 4G LTE network, which currently bests all other carriers right now with data download/upload speeds of 19 and 10 Mbps respectively at peak performance (average speeds are 6.44 Mbps down and 5.00 up). AT&T’s 4G LTE speeds average 2.48 Mbps/0.81, however AT&T’s expansion of its newer network has not yet taken expanse.
Despite this, imposing a mandatory switch to shared, tiered data for existing customers will surely add salt to an already pulsating wound.
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