Verizon’s CFO Fran “ShamWow” Shammo sat down for a chat at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference today to talk about the state of Verizon’s financial business. This is the first time we have heard from Shammo since his company launched Shared Everything data plans, so naturally, we were dying to hear what he had to say about them.
According to Shammo, more people than they expected have moved onto shared data plans. He said that he believes that the first batch of adopters made the move to shared because they think they can optimize their plan and save a little money. The interesting note to this point, is the fact that they were expecting to see some dilution as people save money, but in reality, there was even less than they expected. Basically, that means that the shared data plans that they spent an entire year fine-tuning, are certainly fine-tuned to make money.
The second topic that stood out to us was his mention of the number of people moving from unlimited data to shared data plans. Again, Verizon was surprised at the number of people making this move. Shammo believes that unlimited is just a word, that people don’t care about unlimited data and that they all assume that they use more data than they actually do. He is under the impression that people are realizing the benefits of shared rather than unlimited, hence the reason for them to make the change.
My reaction – these people don’t have a choice, but to switch to shared data. Sure, Verizon has told us that we can buy phones at full price if we want to keep unlimited, but very few will actually do that. Instead, people will continue to buy subsidized phones, which then forces them off of their unlimited plans and onto shared. You can’t tell me that Verizon is surprised at this move, they knew this is what would happen. I’m not buying for a second that people are generally requesting shared over unlimited. I don’t know how many ways we need to break this down, but for today’s data-driven world, shared data benefits very few.
The last topic had to do with the plans themselves and how Verizon will continue to make money off of them in the future. Shammo essentially admits that the plans are perfect. Since users are attaching more devices than they had planned, they are seeing them have to buy up in data bundles already, something only making his job even easier and the company more revenue.
I think you all know how I feel about shared data plans, and this interview essentially reaffirms my desire to never switch to one.