During the JP Morgan Media and Telecom conference, Verizon’s CFO Fran “ShamWow” Shammo dropped a bomb that most of you are not going to be a fan of. During his talk, he mentioned that unlimited data plans will go away completely when the company introduces shared data plans this summer. He talked about everyone’s next upgrade cycle and how at that time, users will be forced into shared data tiers and off of the unlimited plans that you have come to love. He mentioned specifically that 3G users on unlimited data will indeed have to go into a shared plan once they upgrade to a 4G phone, but in the quote we have below, it sounds like it is going beyond that.
Here is the quote from the conference:
LTE is our anchor point for data share. So as you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto a data share plan. And moving away from, if you will, the unlimited world and moving everyone into a tiered structure/data share type plan.
So when you think about our 3G base, a lot of our 3G base is unlimited. As they start migrating to 4G they will have to come off of unlimited and go into the data share plan. And that’s beneficial for us for many reason, obviously.
Many of you are currently “grandfathered” into unlimited data and cherish that status as if it were your own child, so this move is going to be one that won’t be taken kindly. In the quote above, Shammo does mention that eventually, “everyone” will be on a share, but for now, it seems like just 3G customers who are forced into upgrading to 4G phones. The scariest part is the mention of your next upgrade cycle, which for many of you, isn’t all that far off.
Update: This whole conversation with Shammo at the JP Morgan conference is fascinating. He really opened up and talked about their plans to make more and more money off of tiered data plans. They have set them up so that as consumers realize the power of LTE and use it more, that they will have to keep buying up in tiers. Also, as families add more devices over time, they will again have to buy up in tiers. While I understand this is a business and Verizon needs to continue to find ways to increase revenues, this is like a slap in the face to its customers. As if we all aren’t paying enough already, the way shared data plans are set up (according to Shammo), is to get you to continue to spend more and more money on data. Welcome to the future, folks.
Here is the audio:
Update: Shared some of my own thoughts here.
Cheers Tyler, Mo, and Mike!