Saturday, January 16, 2010

USA - Verizon modifies price plans to emphasize growth of data usage

[connected planet] Verizon Wireless today made several moves to simplify its devices and services structure, introducing lower unlimited price points, streamlining device categorization and offering new options for unlimited prepaid. The new plans came as the nation's largest carrier gears up to roll out its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks throughout this year and looks to drive as many consumers to data as possible.

"To me, the future here is about data, and this is about data in my view," said VZW President and CEO Lowell McAdam referring to the new plans on an investors call today. "It's the smartphone portfolio teamed together with very simple data pricing. We're about adding that high-end customer really as an on-ramp to LTE."

The new monthly service plans take VZW's unlimited price point down from $99 to $69.99 for unlimited monthly calling or $89.99 for unlimited talk and text. In addition, Nationwide Family SharePlans will now have unlimited options for $199.99 monthly voice access or $149.99 per month for voice and text for plans based on two lines. In terms of data, VZW expanded its $9.99 25-megabyte-per-month package to all of its 3G multimedia phones, discontinuing its $19.99 data package option.

Those customers on the lower tier, using what VZW is now dubbing Simple Feature phones, will continue to pay $1.99 per megabyte or choose either a $9.99 or $29.99 data package. Consumer data packages for 3G smartphones, including BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Android devices, will remain at $29.99 per month.

"Based on the usage we are seeing from the Droid and other high-end smartphones and the apps we see on the devices, we think this is an excellent value," McAdam said, adding that VZW can use the plans to upsell both its customers and its competitors' customers to unlimited data plans. "We think it'll drive penetration of data services. There won't be surprises for customers, so we'll see more satisfaction."

Verizon simplifies phones, pricing as it preps LTE
see also coverage in FT

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