Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Verizon moves to tiered data plans on July 7th

Verizon has announced that they're moving to a tiered data plan starting on July 7th. Here's the price breakdown:
  • 2GB for $30/month
  • 5GB for $50/month
  • 10GB for $80/month
  • Tethering gets you an extra 2 GB and costs an additional $20/month
Compare these prices to the $30/month Verizon customers were charged for unlimited data. At least when AT&T moved to limited plans, they offered something cheaper than the base for those who didn't use much data.

This move is quite sad. Verizon's going to be offering less for the same price. The general trend in technology is more for less. But Verizon takes a step back, offering nothing to the consumer expect new restrictions. There's no option to save money by going to a lower amount of data.

Then there's this whole tethering scam. If I want to use my 2GB I'd be paying for on a different device, then I have to give Verizon an extra $20? Someone explain to me how it costs Verizon money for me to do this. I don't see it. Given that Verizon's taking in this whole deal, it seems like they should offer consumers something. We, as consumers, need to object to this rather vocally. I have no need for tethering today, but that doesn't mean I won't down the road. And that's technology for you. It grows with you. Unless you're a Verizon customer. Then it shrinks on you.

What's worse is the PR spin Verizon's trying. Engadget found an internal memo that's a series of statements that don't connect with what they're doing. Here are some of my favorites:

"Consumers and business users alike are doing more and more with their mobile devices." So Verizon's going to limit them.

"...this usage has one thing in common-dramatically increased demand for data and media consumption." And Verizon's answering this increase in demand by limiting people and charging them more!

"As a result, we are evolving our approach around how we package our data solutions and pricing to our customers." Since when does "evolving" mean taking steps backwards?

"The Value Benefit Equation... With the new usage based pricing plans, the vast majority of our customers will be able to enjoy their typical level of data consumption for the same value that they outlay today." I don't see the value benefit. Sure, most probably don't go over 2GB, but now, if they do, they get hit with a nice overage charge. The value was in the old plan.

"Additionally, for those who have greater requirements for data, we will have solutions that they can tailor to their unique needs." I like the words "will have." It's like they didn't before... you know... with the $30/month unlimited plan. That didn't meet their "unique needs."

I've been keeping tabs on what people out there have been saying about this whole ordeal and I've been seeing a lot of comments from irate Verizon customers. I know of at least one who wants to jump ship over the deal. I knew that Verizon was working towards this and that's part of the reason I jumped ship about 8 months ago. The real story that isn't there on the surface is that this is yet another reason why we need to fight the AT&T/T-Mobile deal.

We have four major carriers in the US. It will drop to 3 if the deal goes through with the top two engaging in limited data plans. The 3rd, Sprint, could easily be squeezed out. We're then down to two choices. That's not a lot of variety. Why can Verizon engage in this sort of action? Because, as consumers, we don't have a lot of choices. That's the real problem here.

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