Monday, June 27, 2011

Verizon and the pain of capped data

As of July 7 of this year Verizon Wireless will no longer offer unlimited data plans for smartphone users. Instead users will receive 2GB of data for the same price they were previously able to get unlimited. The change doesn't come as a surprise since AT&T made the same move 1 year and 1 month ago to the day.

AT&T customers have learned to cope with the plans but Verizon customers won't have the same offerings to help ease the pain. AT&T's offering gave 2GB at $25 and for those that truly used less data could go as low as $15 a month. Verizon starts at $30 and goes up from there.

Data plans:
2GB - $30/month
5GB - $50/month
10GB - $80/month
Tethering can be added to any plan, you can purchase 2GB of data at an additional cost of $20 per month.

Data plans w/ tethering:
4GB - $50/month
7GB - $70/month
12GB - $100/month
If you go over your purchased amount of data, it will cost you $10 per 1GB.

The one saving grace which has yet to be revealed (also yet to be confirmed) is the ability to share data. In my own personal situation this would help out greatly since I am the data hog and my wife does very little billable with hers coming in over the home wifi. I would come out ahead since currently I'm paying $60 in data, together we may total 5GB a month, in sharing I would only pay $50.

Verizon's approach to new family share plans is interesting. Rather than putting each line on a plan such as a $60 Primary Share and $9.99 Secondary Share, the new process will be separating the two. It's called Account Level billing and just as the name suggests the price plan will be associated with the account and not each line. If the data package is also on the account level then two lines would have the ability to share one 2GB plan.

Regardless of whether it's better or not, the transition will be confusing and annoying to the customer. Trying to talk about amounts of data on a broad band access card to a customer is already challenging since it's so objective. AT&T however has proved in a year that boxing in customers into restrictive plans won't be enough to make them leave.

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