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You Should Be Scared of Verizon’s Shared Data Plans [Opinion]


Verizon’s CFO Fran Shammo spoke at the JP Morgan Media and Telecom conference this morning, providing further detail on their plans for shared or family data tiers. During his conversation, he mentioned the end of grandfathered unlimited data plans, but before that he talked specifically about these shared tiers. While he didn’t go into detail on how they would be priced or structured as far as data amounts go, he did say that Verizon will have no problem making money off of them in the very near future. 

Here is the quote:

We want the connections to come in and the way we’ve designed our plan, this plan is built on tiers. And as we look at the future growth of LTE consumption because of the speeds and video consumption and consumption of other end-to-end type devices, it’s going to be more important that people will start to upgrade in the tiers as they start to really realize the benefits of the LTE network.

So two things here. One is, revenue will continue to grow as we get into data shared plans and people start to connect more devices (as my pad example). And then over the future time, as they add more devices, they are going to have to buy up in tiers. So again you will see the revenue increase there.

The way we designed this, we really shouldn’t see a short term decline.

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As I’m listening to him say all of this, my jaw slowly dropped to my desk and remained there for a few minutes. Investors and shareholders are probably ecstatic that Shammo feels this way, however, what about us, the consumer?

To me at least, all I took from this conversation was that these tiers have been researched and built so perfectly, that you and I will be forced to purchase up in them. There will be a base of sorts that your family can nibble on, but as we continue to realize how powerful LTE is and decide that we want to connect more and more devices to it, that we will also be forced to pay more and more. These weren’t created to make your life simple, although that may be one of the selling points. No, these were created with the idea that as data consumption grows, you won’t have a choice but to pay more to get more data to use. Welcome to the future of mobile data.

Look, again, I get that this is a business for Verizon and they need to make money. But with that said, the upgrade fees, online bill pay fees, ending of “New Every Two” deals, removal of 1-year contracts, and of course unlimited data have become a bit much. The scary thing is, that Verizon won’t be the only one to make this move. You can jump ship if you don’t like it, but don’t expect that your next carrier will avoid the shared data model for long. Verizon didn’t create this as a test, they created it to be the future.

I guess there hasn’t been a better time to upgrade.

  • TankRizzo

    Locked down phones and a wonderful new tiered data plan, no grandfathering in. I see absolutely NO reason to stay with Verizon.

  • paraplu
  • Radgatt

    Not sure if this has been asked yet…can you use an LTE phone on a prepaid plan? If so, doesn’t Verizon offer an unlimited prepaid plan for $50/month?

  • Angry Customer

    Dear Verizon,

    I am shocked that you decide to do this, simply for the pure fact that you offer phones that are practically mobile computers. You should have thought that with so many features (Netflix, Google Maps, E-mail and Pandora), that your customers would have been consuming so much data. Not to mention that every month, there seems to be a new phone that is even bigger and better with features that can run applications faster and faster. Maybe you should have thought about your business plan and motto before you wanted to cut the one thing that was preventing your customers from leaving. I seriously hope you reconsider this idea and keep your customers happy.


    A very unhappy Verizon Customer…

  • possomcrast

    If we sign a petition that we will leave if they do this they will have no choice but to change their mind. We just need enough people to say they will leave like when the first introduced tired data plans.

  • sushah23

    I think it’s time we go back to feature phone and use the phone to really call each other. Hopefully that will bring back the days when people will talk to each other when they meet instead of “checking-in” and updating social network status!! I am guilty of all of the above and very much tangled in “always connected” ecosystem. Seems like time to get disconnected and be social in real life!!

  • Shane McKeever

    All this and then the eventual throttling.

  • guest

    We pay $70 and only use about 1GB of our unlimited plan.
    We pay another $70 and only use about 0.5GB on our other device.

    So as long as this “family data” is less than $140 for 1.5GB… we will actually be SAVING money and getting more data.

    I feel bad for the guys that use 20GB per month. But we sure don’t. And we use our devices HEAVILY all day long. (We just don’t watch videos… and we use wi-fi much of the day.)

  • Dom Suppa

    looks like when my contract is done in a year so am I with Verizon.

  • not scared ,just headin to sprint, hell they even have updated gnexes,wifes company has a discount at verizon and sprint ,so verizon can kiss where the sun don’t shine

  • Where is ANONYMOUS when you have a company that needs their eyes opened…

  • FknTwizted

    If forced we should petition for rollover data since we “paid” for it force them to get rid of the use it or lose it

  • GreenMeansGo

    Since corporations care more about shareholders than consumers, and since there really isn’t much difference in how different corporations treat consumers, we have only one choice: We must become shareholders. Doesn’t matter how many shares. Just buy one or two and we’ll have a voice, albeit tiny, that is still louder than the voice of the non-invested consumer!

  • Garrett

    Once my unlimited plan goes away I’m going Sprint

  • srh12

    Wait wait wait…..what’s stopping us from simply buying devices outright off of contract? They cant boot us from the grandfathered if we arent upgrading and re-upping the contract correct??

    • This is what I’m hoping myself. My wife is currently on an unlimited data plan but it’ll be another year before it’s time to upgrade. I might as well start saving for a new phone for her now, because I’m not planning to let her drop the unlimited data if I don’t have to.

    • AE35

      Of course they can. They are not bound by a contract so as a month 2 month they can change your terms any time they want. It has nothing to do with upgrades. It’s about contract expiration and you don’t have one so you’re not protected.

      Did you really think it would be that easy to avoid this?

  • X2caleb2X

    I guess it’s time to make the jump

  • chris125

    so what he is saying is they are going to make really small tiers with high prices and cause people to spend more than they already do on plans. Well F U verizon once my contract is up I will look elsewhere and probably to a gsm carrier so I can get unlocked phones and not deal with the carrier bs.

  • Troubled_Asian

    Everything about Verizon sucks these days… All this douchery will catch up to them eventually.

  • Tom

    That picture below is phenomenal….LOL

  • Crobson1985

    I use my data a lot while I’m at work since I don’t sit in an office I’m on the road all day. If they limit my data I will just cancel my contract and just use my company provided phone for calls. The only reason I have a cell phone is for the unlimited data plan if they take it from me then I wont be with them any more plain and simple.

  • you suck, Verizon! don’t you take enough money from us suckers already??? Oh yeah, where’s my 4.04 G-Nex update???

  • MattSweeden

    Heres the link for a petition. http://goo.gl/omRxv

  • chrisbox29

    Good news is we’ll all be willing to jump ship now just to get the phones we want. This will make their sorry a** phone line-up look even more pathetic. No unlitited data, you better have the phone I want or it’s bye-bye for a carrier that does. No more settling because of unlitited data!

    • chris125


  • Dave Maillet

    Here’s another thing I’m really concerned about….it we all are forced into tiered data, what happens to tethering? I am of the opinion that a GB is a GB no matter what that content is. If I’m paying for capped data, I’ll be damned if I’m forced to pay extra to tether another device to use that same exact data. Can’t have it both ways if you ask me. Either keep unlimited data and charge for tethering (I don’t really agree with this but….) or go to tiers and lose the right to charge extra for tethering.

  • Do they at least let you use your phone as a wifi hot spot for free if you are on a tiered plan?

  • Dave Maillet

    There are several people saying “vote with your wallet”. Unfortunately that’s not possible for everyone. The 4 major providers all have different footprints in different areas of the country, which makes it hard for users to just walk away. I have Verizon now and they’re the only reliable provider in my area. Until the other 3 get better coverage in my area, I’m pretty much stuck. I either choose to pay another provider nearly the same amount for worse coverage. In a truly free market we would have the ability to do this. Companies are forced to lure customers by offering one of three major things: 1. better coverage 2. better pricing 3. better equipment/services . It’s apparent that they big 4 have no interest in a price war since I’m pretty sure none of them have decreased their pricing recently. There is definitely a coverage war since they’re all touting their 4g networks. Equipment/services I’d say are a wash….sometimes each of the 4 gets the best superphone, and they all offer roughly the same packages. Until we’re able to show them we will leave them for lower pricing (and it’s got to be a BIG number of people), we’re powerless. I think once Google gets their Nexus phones on all 4 carriers simultaneously and sold through Google Play, things may change a bit…..Having Sprint and Verizon using CDMA may hurt this though, since the likelihood of CDMA phones being unlocked is slim to none.

    • Sporttster

      How bout this then…we contact our REPS and let THEM hear our gripes and maybe we’ll get regulation back. We can do this the nice way or the tough way….their choice. But consumers WILL have a voice in this! Fk this corporations…tired of their greed. It’s never enough….

  • AlexR69
  • The ONLY recourse we have is to launch a massive social media campaign against this BS. Someone with more creativity than me think up a hash tag to spam on G+, FB and Twitter! Bad news and unhappy customers scares investors.

  • I have a question. Does this mean that we will lose our unlimited data plan.?

  • Austin

    It’s all about greed, it’s sickening

  • MjSplicer

    Guess its AT&T then. @ least they’ve always been honest about raping ur wallet. Plus cdma tech is a bit dinosaurish

    • kevinc

      you do know GSM technology is significantly older, right?

  • Drootz

    With the amount of press on blogs and amount of pissed off and commenting people ready to jump ship, makes me wonder if there are enough of us to join together to do something about it…..they stopped the online fee…something to think about.

    Also there was a post the other day that a at&t exec said unlim data was a mistake so don’t think they won’t be trying to get rid of their unlim. data as well…..

  • 6ft jesus

    Kiss my $300.00 a month goodbye. No lol :-!

  • Keii Graham

    Sprint, it would be super cool of you guys and you would get a lot of internet points if you were to offer a 1:1 trade on the Galaxy Nexus for Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners if they switched to Sprint in light of this news. Super cool of you. Just sayin’.

  • Keii Graham

    If there were ever a time for Google to announce a secret cellular network they’ve been working on in secret, now would be the time.

    Anyone know if the Verizon Galaxy Nexus works on Sprint?

  • Radgatt

    The way I see it is that you won’t be able to keep an unlimited plan when you upgrade a phone. Therefore, the only way to keep an unlimited data plan would be to pay for a phone that you want off contract. They can’t do anything about the plan that way. If I understand it correctly.

  • lgb400

    What about my family plan…i have 4 g and unlimited everything…when my wife upgrades to 4g how does that work….we just share unlimited?

    • FknTwizted

      Chances are the system will force you to a tier even if you buy a off contract phone.

      • I’d like to see it when going from a 4G phone to 4G phone just by moving the SIM. 🙂

        • FknTwizted

          I hope that is true but, unfortunately I have seen it time and time in the industry(I work for a indirect agent for over a decade) vzw has a way to mess with this.

  • Medications

    I’m on the 4GB/month for $30 plan (the double data offer), which is more then enough, but i can’t imagine being on the 2GB plan. I never stream anything, and do basic browsing, email, games and navigation with 4G turned OFF always to save battery on the GNex. So this basic usage on 3G per month is usually around 2.5-2.8Gigs. No wifi at work but wifi at home. I’m a light user and i use just over 2Gigs per month, if not for the double data offer I’d be screwed. My bill is $104/month.

    Point is, the 2GB plan is BS even for light users, unless you are able to be on wifi for the majority of the time, which a lot of people are not. Especially if you are using 4G. Depending on how things are when I’m due for an upgrade in 13 months i could see just abandoning data phones all together since they apparently just cant figure it out.

  • Steve S

    T mobile ot spring…where to go?

    • Android1997

      Sprint, but if you get an LTE device, your stuck on 3G until 4G LTE comes to your area

  • Joel

    I’ll be switching my MEID to an old verizon phone and ditching my data plan all together.

  • AlexKCMO

    This is scary as hell, but will we have a warning? My wife’s contract is up, and I’m wondering if I need to upgrade her now or can wait. She’s on a 3G Fascinate. One of my friends thinks I should walk to the store right now and do this, I’m thinking we’ll have warning.


  • Chris
    • Chronon7364

      Gonna do it. Even if it doesn’t change a thing, I’m all for it.

    • dwaynaz


  • mikewelch5

    Question. Would now be a good time for Google or Apple to be their “own” carrier? Think they could off unlimited data and be a competitor?

    • mikewelch5

      Offer unlimited data I meant to say.

    • Radgatt

      If anyone that would be willing to do so it would be Google. Although, I highly doubt it happening. Apple, hell no. They make enough money off the iPhone anyway. They are in the perfect position with people wanting that phone so bad.

  • As many people stated in their comments, switching carrier isn’t always possible — if all other carriers’ coverages suck in your area, you will have no choice but to stick w/ the current one, no matter how much you don’t like it. At the end of the day, without good coverage, phone selections & prices mean nothing.

  • I guess it’s time to go with a dumb phone, and switch to a pre-paid service. I can’t stand corporate America.

  • Guest

    Try 1 month like this:

    Watch HD videos at home… not on your 3″-4″ cellphone screen.
    Use free wi-fi for all your heavy data use. (It’s available everywhere these days.)

    (Your data use will drop down to far under the 2GB plan.)

    • Trey Motes

      Or, don’t pretend to be at home 24/7 and live in the real adult world where mobile data is necessarily. There isn’t always a wifi router within 50′ of you…

    • skant153

      i use google nav quite often, how am i suppose to use wifi for that?

      • JDHokie

        I can’t even imagine how much driving you’d have to do to use 1 GB of data in Maps/Navi.

    • JDHokie

      If you use WiFi for the majority of your streaming, and are an average user when on 4G (basic e-mail, web surfing, apps), you won’t come close to the 4GB cap. Unlimited it a nice option to have, but for the majority of VZW users, this change won’t impact them.
      Of course, the majority of VZW users and the people who read Droid-Life aren’t necessarily the same group of people.

      • AlexKCMO

        I travel for work and I can tell you; hotel wireless SUCKS. Rarely have I ever been in a hotel where hotel WiFi was anywhere near as fast as my phone on 3G, let alone 4G.

        4G LTE is faster than most peoples home connections. Some of us actually use our data.

    • FknTwizted

      Lol 4gb and I use a tablet via wifi 25gb and I don’t use it as a tethering setup… I just watch hulu, netflix etc. If I don’t use my wifi I would be totally screwed!

  • aalf

    what if u never upgrade your phone will they still kick u off?

  • moosc

    Every carrier is throttling your data even sprint I need a 30gb plan to b happy

  • I may simply go back to a regular dumb phone and just use my DInc on WiFi and they can kiss my data plan contract goodbye.

  • real4life

    So, as far as I’m concerned this is a breach of contract on Verizon’s part. Meaning…I’m gone! Let’s see….operating systems don’t get updated such as my Galaxy Nexus which was supposed to be better than sliced bread, battery life sucks on the phone so VZW wants me to use 4G which sucks the battery life…yeah right. I get better service using 3G and wireless. Customer service is fair at best, I know I have received different answers to different questions on the same subject…..Ya know…I’m not losing much the way I see it. Sad though….been with them for a long time. So much for loyalty from a company that many of us have paid a lot of money to.