Following yesterday’s comments by Verizon Wireless CFO Fran Shammo on the carrier’s plans to make substantial changes to its data plans to eliminate grandfathered unlimited data, Verizon Wireless PR has released their own statement on the issue primarily to ease fears that the changes would happen overnight:
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.
While the statement is primarily meant to give customers some measure of reassurance about what exactly the changes will entail and reaffirm Shammo’s statements about the shift to shared data plans later this Summer, it makes no mention of what customers with grandfathered unlimited data plans can expect in terms of changes if upgrading now, making many with such unlimited data plans nervous about how Verizon will go about transitioning customers away from those plans outside of previous statements.
As Verizon is now pushing to transition customers to its 4G LTE network by expanding it as quickly as possible, it’s also trying to avoid repeating the mistakes that it did with its 3G network, such as eliminating the idea of unlimited data access and doing so as quickly as possible, since it became the linchpin for the rise in popularity of smartphones within the past 3 years at the expense of network reliability and proved to be more expensive than expected in terms of network maintenance and other costs.
With a good number of customers still on some sort of unlimited data plan, Verizon will have to tread carefully and develop these new shared plans with the reality that what Verizon is taking away for the majority of customers is peace of mind and replacing it with tedious monthly data management, the only advantage being that more than one device can be added to the account. For some customers, that’s not enough of an incentive to pay more.
Update: Verizon PR conveniently sent out this clarification to the New York Times, in what seems to be an attempt to reclaim control of perception and is infinitely more useful than the above statement from this morning. The statement is reproduced in full below.
– Customers will not be automatically moved to new shared data plans. If a 3G or 4G smartphone customer is on an unlimited plan now and they do not want to change their plan, they will not have to do so.
– When we introduce our new shared data plans, Unlimited Data will no longer be available to customers when purchasing handsets at discounted pricing.
– Customers who purchase phones at full retail price and are on an unlimited smartphone data plan will be able to keep that plan.
– The same pricing and policies will be applied to all 3G and 4G LTE smartphones.