Yesterday, Verizon Wireless unveiled its shared data plans and pricing which some are calling underwhelming. Analysts note that customers may revolt because it will be more expensive for many customers.
The initial buy-in for data for a smartphone at $50 for one gigabyte is steep even though voice and text messages are unlimited.
Consumer Group Public Knowledge noted that it took Verizon one year from offering unlimited data for $30 a month to charging $50 per 1 GB. The Communication Workers of America are calling Verizon Wireless, Verigreedy.
Last year, when double data was available, many would have chosen the 450 voice minutes ($39.99), 250 text message ($4.99), and the unlimited data ($30). That’s $75 for more talk and text than most needed (but the least you could buy) plus unlimited data. Which cost less than the current buy-in of $40 plus $50 for 1GB of data for a total of $90.
With today's pricing (until June 28) you can buy 450 voice minutes per $39.99, 2 GB of data for $30 and 1000 text messages for $10 for a total of $80 a month with more voice and text than most people need.
The group says "This is just the latest example of wireless carriers increasing costs for consumers under the pretext of doing them a favor. There does not appear to be very much competitive pressure keeping carriers from raising prices for customers – which is part of the reason that we are against even more consolidation in the market. "
Analysts say that the changes are too drastic and costly. Bob Ederle pointed out that sharp increases tend to scare the hell out of existing customers and he calls it a Netflix-like mistake and cold prompt a customer revolt.
IDC analyst Carrie Mac Gillivary said "It's going to be daunting for customers" and notes that the plans only benefit those with many people sharing the data.
Okay, don't panic it may me not be time to jump the Verizon ship, yet. If you already have unlimited data or even a double data plan, you can keep it as long as you don't upgrade to a new smartphone and sign a new contract. Verizon will not subsidize unlimited data. You can also in two years, buy your smartphone from another vendor.
The Samsung Galaxy S III will ship by 7/9 which is most likely its release date you can preorder form Verizon Wireless, and get it for $199. You can keep that for two years if you currently have an upgrade available.
If you switch to a prepaid carrier, the handset will not be subsidized either.
The problem with most Verizon Wireless customers is that entire families and friends are all tied into one the contract for different discounts. Any major move may involve several people. The best option for now is if there is an upgrade available go for the upgrade before June 28th. Will keep you posted with deals and availability.
Hopefully competition will create a better choice for consumers..