On July 25th, AT&T will be implementing its tiered-data smartphone plans. And rumors have been swirling as to the possibility that Verizon may do the same a few days thereafter. Engadget broke a story a few days back, that Verizon could be dropping unlimited data option from its plans as early as July 29th. And just the other day, Verizon sent a memo to its reps, informing them to remain silent on any customer inquiries about a switch to tiered data plans. So what's the latest development? I promise you, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
From Verizon's Thursday earnings call, Verizon CFO John Killian explains how his company is considering the move to tiered data plans, but is no rush to switch just yet:
So, as of now, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief, as Verizon's own CFO discounted the notion of an early switch to tiered data plans. However, when 4G is rolled out, Killian explains tiered pricing will be more than a likelihood:Our business is continuing to perform extremely well. You have not seen us rush out to make any kind of a change. We will continue to monitor the situation, of course, and look at opportunities that will say what is the best equation for us to drive long-term shareholder value, and we will be very focused on that. I cannot say enough, though, about the opportunity we see ahead given where we are today with smart phone penetration. I mean I think 20% of our base today, where is that number going ultimately? Is it 80%? Some people could argue everyone is going to have a smartphone ultimately because that is the kind of device it is going to be. So I think there is tremendous opportunity to continue to drive and create value through Verizon Wireless.
We have indicated in the past, as we move to an LTE world and LTE pricing, we will probably look very hard at tiered pricing, and that continues to be our thinking right now. So more to come on that. By the way, I should say that all of our efforts, all of our plans on getting LTE launched in the fourth quarter are on schedule.
As was had previously expected (up until the latest barrage of rumors), Verizon will probably hold off the switch to tiered data pricing while the network runs on 3G. However, when 4G is rolls out in November, that's a whole different ballgame.