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Verizon CFO: “Unlimited” is Just a Word and It’s Going by the Wayside

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.

Your thoughts?

Via:  Verizon | Engadget

  • wickets

    btw, the biggest ripoff of all is that if you pay full price for a phone at vzw there is no discount on the monthly rates…….thats ten times more despicable than their data plan fiasco

  • Completely out of touch. Total greed. {{-_-}}

  • Savan Ghetiya

    people who were smart enough to upgrade to a SGS 3 before shared data went into effect no longer have to face the problems ridiculed in this article !… I’m currently using my unlimited data to its full potential on my SGS 3 .. using it as a hotspot with foxfi in my house and averaging monthly use of roughly 40 Gigs !! with no data throttling .. shove that tid bit up big red’s ass ! haha

    • they still do just not till 20months.

  • MoweeWowee

    I’m one of the few who will be buying phones at full retail price.

  • Paul

    I didn’t have unlimited so for now this is working out for me since I didn’t use a lot of data to begin with. But my daughter in college does. We each had 2 gig per month, I never even came close on my limit for each month. But she kept going over her limit each month. So now if she goes over the 2 gig what I have not used covers it.


    This guy is an idiot, yes at one point people had fancied the idea of paying for data a collective for there big family share plans 3+ devices but not at this bullying bs method of crap they trying to say we the people requested. What makes it stupidier even more is that no matter how these losers slice it, there isn’t any savings too much to be had on these dang planes, heck if u had liek the basic family share plan from back in the day no matter how its constructed u actually end up paying 20 to 30 dollars more just because, talking about unlimeted is just a word, well excuse the crap outta me for wanting to keep my plan the way it is jerk. Reason these idiots dont know crap about how much data people truly use is because b4 4gLTE was nearly available everywhere we had no choice but to use wifi cause 3g sure wasn’t cutting it. Freaking bueracrat douche bags, guess those crap CFO’s guess they had to figure out some way to really stick it to people, first you want to try to charge me for paying my bill, then u slap this upgrade fee crap on, now u want to say oooh we are giving the people what they want, but the way we want it or else. Freaking idots man .

  • Tech_Hottie

    Verizon isn’t causing the high prices… millions of people agreeing to *PAY* the high prices… is what causes high prices.

    I would how much Verizon would charge if 30 million users all cancelled their accounts on the same day.

    • wickets

      brilliant…….but bitching about it is easier than striking LOL

  • Or you know….they could have had 1 gig for $10.00 2 gigs for $20.00 and still had unlimited for $30.00. Just saying…..

    • Tech_Hottie

      If you owned a company and you “could” charge twice as much… or 3x as much. Would you? Your customers would gladly pay it. So why not?

      Or would you be “nice” and at the end of the year have to report that you earned the company millions of dollars LESS than you should have… but… gee… what a “nice” company you are running.

      The large companies selling you things are not in business to be “nice” to you. They are in business to make money. Huge amounts of money. The more… the better.

      There’s only one (1) thing that will stop a company from charging too much: If it loses millions of customers… and millions of dollars.

      I don’t see Verizon’s extremely high prices as “losing too many customers”… or “losing too much money”.

      … so they will continue to charge it… and you will happily continue to pay it.

      or will you?

      • CapnShiner

        You’re basically saying the ends justify the means. By your logic, antitrust laws and other regulations are not necessary because consumers can simply stop buying from that company if they feel they are getting ripped off. You think we should revert back to how the telecommunications industry was prior to the antitrust breakup of AT&T in the early 1980’s?

        When a service becomes a necessity rather than a luxury, it is no longer acceptable to exploit consumers who rely on it just for the sake of capitalism. When the electric company or the gas company raise rates, people get angry. When gas prices go up, people get angry. Those industries, however, are regulated by the government already and we know the price increases are justified (if you trust the government). When the wireless carriers publish hard data to unquestionably justify their plan and price changes, then I’ll stop complaining.

        • Tech_Hottie

          When should we do that…. when there’s only 1 carrier to choose from… or when there are 10 carriers to choose from? (There’s a BIG difference.)

          You want each government in the world to control your cell phone bill prices?

          • CapnShiner

            If there were ten nationwide carriers in the US, I don’t think we would have this problem. If we only had one carrier, it would be the definition of a monopoly and that is why we have antitrust laws.

            Yes, I want the US government to have limited control over cell phone bill prices. They should not be able to arbitrarily set a price but they should be able to ensure that prices are fair and that there is healthy competition in the market.

      • I’m kind of hoping that people realize they are getting royally reamed. I am considering leaving verizon, selling my Galaxy nexus to help offset the early termination fee and going to sprint once the Galaxy Note 2 comes out. Will more than likely act on it this December.

      • Sven Enterlein

        Anyone else sees the parallels to Apple? They charge as much because they CAN. That’s all.

        • Tech_Hottie

          And you think ONLY Apple and Verizon do that? 100% of all companies do that. It’s called “charge as high a price as you can… to make as much money as you can”.

          What do you think companies do? Charge everyone as LITTLE as possible… so that the company will LOSE as much money as possible each year?

          • Sven Enterlein

            Nah, that’s not what I was saying. Of course businesses NEED to make money. But very few can be overcharging so much and STILL get all the sales. Most companies have to be COMPETITIVE to get sales.


    I had a Rezound and loved it in fact I still have it only i don’t use it anymore. I got the GS3 before this shared BS started because I was entitled to one more subsidized phone. Anyone who says that there is no difference between the two plans doesn’t know what they are talking about. There are plenty of people in family plans that are sharing data with 3,4,5 people and they are going over their data limit and paying the price for it. I will keep my GS3 until it runs into the ground and when that happens I’ll pull out my Rezound and use that. If those morons at verizon cancel my unlimited data and try to push the shared plan on me I will switch carriers.

    • CapnShiner

      Everyone says that but few people would actually leave Verizon because of it. Verizon knows this. As long as they continue to have the best network and customer service, people will continue to pay whatever is asked of them. This will continue until a) the price reaches a breaking point and people cannot afford it anymore b) another company can somehow offer the same or better network for a lower price c) the government steps in and forces them to change.

      • SolipsisticPsychologist

        I’m not sure, how you know this is the case exactly? Do you work for the other carriers and somehow know that there aren’t a lot of new people switching from Verizon because of this? I happen to stick by my word as a man, shocking I know, so if they take away my unlimited plan, I will absolutely be leaving another carrier, so you can’t speak for me, sorry.

        • CapnShiner

          I wasn’t trying to speak for you. I was making a generalization. I don’t have any hard data to back up my statements, but I think they are reasonable assumptions. Last time I heard anything about it, Verizon was the #1 carrier by a relatively small margin. I think that if a mathematically significant number of Verizon customers switched to another carrier because of shared and tiered data plans it could be enough for AT&T to reclaim the #1 spot. Then Verizon would no longer be able to claim they are the biggest network and AT&T would likey start advertising that they are #1 again. This has not happened. I would be willing to bet that I am right but until Verizon publishes their subscriber numbers before and after the introduction of the new data plans there is no way to prove or disprove it.

  • Nicholassss

    “people don’t care about unlimited data and that they all assume that they use more data than they actually do”

    I use 13 gigs easy. and i top out in the 30s easily some months.

    I’ll keep buying unsubsidized to keep my bill at half what it would be if my phones were on a shared plan.

    • CapnShiner

      You are in the minority. How the hell are you using that much data anyway? Are you tethering? Are you counting multiple devices?

  • ocdtrekkie

    My family saves $60 a month and got additional features we could use by switching to tiered data. We did so voluntarily, before buying any new phones.

    • Tech_Hottie

      What were your previous prices (and data/voice numbers)… and what are they today?

      Just saying “I saved money” doesn’t tell anyone anything of value.

      • ocdtrekkie

        We have five lines, we had (I think) a 1400 minute plan. Three being smartphones with unlimited data, two dumbphones. Two of the smartphones had mobile hotspot.

        We now have the same five lines, plus a tablet, and all six devices can use data, instead of the three before. An additional device now has hotspot capability as well. We got the 6 GB data plan, which has turned out to be more than enough. (I actually think we might reduce it, depending how things go.)

        And we save roughly $60.

  • dwaynaz

    Once again Droid-Life. Stop stating that customer are going to be forced over to Shared Plan because they aren’t. They are going to be forced over to a their data plan if they upgrade their phone at the discounted price. It is THEIR choice if they want to move to the SHARED package if it benefits them into saving money. Stop putting out the wrong information please.

    • dwaynaz

      *Tiered data plan. Damn auto-correct!

    • CapnShiner

      You sound like a Verizon employee. Yes, people have a choice and can keep their current plan if they don’t sign a new contract. It’s really not much of a choice, though. Many people cannot afford to pay full price for a phone. They would either have to keep using an outdated phone, which the OEM and carrier will eventually stop supporting, or sign up for shared/tiered data to get a new phone. Verizon may as well be forcing people to switch to the new data plans. Let’s not forget that Verizon does not offer a discount for forfeiting the phone subsidy. Either way, Verizon wins and customers lose (I understand there are situations in which the shared plans actually do cost less but that is rare).

  • HueThree

    Straight Talk Att, Tmo, Sprint…take your pick, one has you covered and will not rip you off

    • CapnShiner

      Those networks are all inferior to Verizon. T-Mobile and Sprint actually have some good plans but AT&T is just as much of a rip-off and if you go prepaid you can’t use a top-tier Android device.

  • I had a rep admit shared/tiered data is one of the only ways they can make more profit at this point. I’m thinking maybe instead of shared/tiered they could innovate/create something instead of take things away from us and call it more or better, while treating us like were morons that believe everything a marketer will tell us? Shammo talks like a fool and it seems the Goldman Sachs douchiness has rubbed off.

    • CapnShiner

      If only you had your conversation with the Verizon rep recorded on video…

      • Yea he was shockingly honest, candid and informed. You get them once in a while, but sadly not enough to make calling them a less frustrating experience. Either way I hope they take care of him and don’t fire him for being honest.

  • Devincean

    i was forced to switch to the shared data plan because two of my family members wanted new phones and really they needed them both where using old droid 2 and droid x phones and really needed the switch up to the new S3 was rather pissed myself to have to loose it just to support my family members even more pissed that now I get text messages letting me know how much of the data plan i have eaten up over all tho its been cheaper and hopefully with 10gigs shared we don’t go over it. But given the choice between the shared with unlimited text and talk and only 10gigs of data or unlimited data with x number of talk minutes and unlimited text i would have rather have have the unlimited data just because i use my phones skype and ventrilo more the calling people.

  • Kris

    I will NOT go to a shared data plan. It makes no sense…going from unlimited for $30/mo to 2GB for $60??? Do the math, folks! Our 5 phones (2 with data) plus a MiFi data = $225 total…at the moment. If I switched to their shared data, I’d get less data to share and pay $320 PLUS taxes and fees!

    I am locked in with unlimited until June of 2014. At that point, I will either decide to purchase a phone from a friend to keep my plan, or leave Verizon altogether. I’d hate to do the latter, but hopefully they will have had enough complaints about the shaft they’re offering to have changed it by then.

  • Patrick Sullivan

    Having just left the company I can assure you that there are a ton of customers who have no idea they are on tier based data plans. The sales reps have gotten sick of constantly fighting back customers who complain once they are told at point of sale that they will lose unlimited data. Reps have allowed customers to leave the store after signing new contracts placing them on tired data, the sales rep takes a gamble and hopes they never notice or if they do notice it is out of the 14 day return policy. Verizon: blissfully unaware = happy customers.

  • Edwin M

    They can have my unlimited plan… WHEN THEY PRY IT FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!

  • Finire

    I’ll give up my unlimited data when you pry it from my cold contract-breached hands..

  • sporty

    Never going to shared. The Sprint commercial shows the situation to a T. Families fighting over who gets the data. It’s ridiculous. And yes, people understand the word ‘unlimited’ whether the corporate spin tries to tell us otherwise. We prefer Unlimited!!!

  • You know the day that I loose my unlimited I will probably go to sprint, they may not have the best coverage in my area, but I do have a company phone as well so screw it.

  • They have a calculator on VZW’s website that shows what a shared plan would cost compared to what I have. To replace our 3 phones with 4GB and unlimited data with a shared 4GB plan, it would cost $10 more per month.

    WHY didn’t they make shared data a package like texting? For $30, everyone on your family plan had unlimited texting. $60 for a 5GB data pool would have been more than fair, but NOOOO…

  • Keii Graham

    Whether I use it or not, whether it’s cheaper or not, the day Verizon takes away my Unlimited Data plan is the day I move to another carrier.

  • Bryan

    I know someone who switched over to one mid contract needless to say it’s an iphone user. His justification was well sooner or later I’ll have no choice if I want the 5. I told him he needed to think it through why sacrifice unlimited? Needless to say the 6 gig plan isn’t working out well. For me I’ll keep unlimited for at least a year and a half and see where things are then.

  • lilkerv90210

    im going to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to never give up my unlimited data plan

    • Rosemary

      They took mine. I was going to keep old phone in order to not. Give up unlimited. Plan

  • ronandersonjr

    Why would a person, such as myself, that only has one line want shared data?

    • CapnShiner

      You’re misunderstanding how this works. Shared data is only on plans with multiple lines. For individual plans, it’s tiered data. Either way, it’s giving up unlimited data and it’s a rip-off by comparison.

  • ndog21

    I love verizon and my galaxy nexus but I have to move to sprint after this because I use 15GB a mounth

  • Rosemary

    Virizion took my unlimited without my knowledge or permission when my smart phone tore up I had insurance. So i resieved a replacement phone but no unlimited data. I have been a customer for many many years. Any advice

  • qwertyjuan

    why doesn’t everyone quit complaining here and go and let them know on their facebook or twitter sites. their marketing departments will eventually get pissed and say something to someone.

    • qwertyjuan

      my nicely worded FB post stayed for about 3 minutes. New Record!

    • I’ve done it they just delete it, they just don’t care.

    • CapnShiner

      Posting on their Facebook and Twitter is useless. The only thing they will listen to is their shareholders. If you want to make an impact, you will have to switch carriers. If enough people do that, they will have no choice but to change. I think it would be a cold day in hell before that ever happens but it’s the only way. Perhaps bad publicity could help move things in that direction but it’s still an uphill battle.

  • unlimited for life hopefully

    All I have to say is WTF

  • My bill is actually less, and haven’t had any problems

    • CapnShiner

      Prove it. Post scans of your billing statement before and after. You can black out all your personal info, of course, but you have to leave enough info showing to prove they are from the same account.

  • tomn1ce

    Let see now share everything data plan $40 for the device and $50 for 1GB+unlimited talk and text + $6 insurance – 15% job discount + tax and fees this is about $103.50. and using the data that I currently use my bill would be $238.50 and thats $15/1GB of overage..

    $29.99 Unlimited data plan + 450 minutes talk plan $39.99 + 250 text message for $5 – 15% job discount + tax and fees this is about $90.75…I don’t us that many minutes and I’ve been using GVoice for texting. Oh and I use up about 10-20GB/month.

    My bill for the past 2 months has been $78 and $85…and that’s less then what I roughly calculated…

    For him unlimited is just a word….for some of us is just priceless…..

    Where is the saving there? F***k You Vzw

  • jaxxmjd

    Apparently, Verizon intercepted a bad batch of the Apple Kool-Aid.

  • bose301s

    I left this for Moto before and now it’s time to leave it for Verizon.

    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ……….”…………. _.·´

    • dwaynaz


    • OldPerson1234

      Such an Artist! LOL

  • Mat Collins

    If people weren’t using as much data as first thought, then why did verizon feel the need to eliminate the unlimited plans at all?

    • The iPhone plain and simple. It is the reason for no more annual upgrades or new every 2 credits. As someone who works for Verizon and has people changing every day the biggest motivation is the average person who switches is saving about $40-50/mo and has three smart phones with a 3 month average of 1.5gigs/mo in use.

      I’m like most and with 30gigs/mo in use I cannot afford to loose my unlimited but the simple fact is this community is not the normal and most people simply do not use enough to justify needing it.

  • cheezer88

    You can take my unlimited data from my cold dead hands

  • Rich A

    i think you forgot one option. Getting out of unlimited doesn’t mean you have to go to shared. When/If I do decide to get a subsidized phone (on my next upgrade), I’ll go to the 2G plan and not shared. Going to shared data for me, will increase my bill by about $40/mo.

  • CHRIS42060

    Verizon is just a company that can go “f” themselves.

  • Jeff “Big Red”

    I pay for 5 cell phones lines. I only pay $9.99 per smart phone’s unlimited data package I have 3 smart phones. Do the math $29.97 total. Now add their “magic” savings shared data package and I pay over $100+ just for shared data capping at 10gb and I lose unlimited on these 3 lines. THIS IS A NO BRAINER! Thanks for your SPECIAL (NON)savings…. I’d rather punch myself in the Junk…

    • teh_Jughead

      I have the same promotion with 3 of the 4 lines on that. 4 smartphones with unlimited data, messaging and 2000 minutes for $206/month after taxes and fees. Should be -$20 cheaper if I had the 4th line on there prior to that promo ending. I will not switch off this plan until I’m forced to.

    • Yeah, I have the same plan as well, but all 5 lines are smartphones and I have a corporate discount on top of that… so I pay around $45/month combined for unlimited on 5 lines. So, to move to shared, I lose unlimited and my bill goes up about $100 with 1 GB to share with everyone.

      Buying a phone at full price is worth it to keep the $1200/year savings.

  • WickedToby741

    Seems like lately Verizon’s been trying the Reality Distortion Field on for size.

  • Chris

    I will no longer renew my contract and will buy phones at full price. I use A LOT of data a month that would cause my plan to skyrocket. So buying a phone every two years at $600+/-, I will be happy.

    • mjmedstarved

      Same here, unless another carrier offers unlimited. My gnex should hold me over for a while.

      • abqnm

        Sprint does still offer unlimited, unfortunately it will take until about 2054 until they have LTE in all the areas Verizon does right now.

  • David Verba

    Just a word eh Shammo? Well here’s two more “Fu¢k” and “You”

  • Grinch

    The problem is with us “rooted” folks albeit less than 1%…who can tether etc…all for free verizon wants to stomp on us like fire ants! If and when this goes down…hello metropcs 🙂

    • tomn1ce

      I’ve been tethering for about 18 months and I’m not rooted….

  • Sharrock

    Here’s my situation:

    I have two lines on my account, a smartphone on my primary line, and a dumbphone on another. The dumbphone is due for an upgrade in November. I plan on upgrading to the Galaxy Note 2 with my dumbphone line and swapping it to my main number. However the dumb Verizon lady said that the dumbphone line would still be forced onto share everything. She never mentioned anything about tiered data for the dumbphone. Is this lady full of crap or did Verizon yet again find another way to screw customers?

    • I actually was in this same situation as you are in and I was able to upgrade my dumbphone to a Galaxy S3 and then switched it to my main line. I was able to keep my unlimited.! Great work-a-around!! I did this at the beginning of August.

      • The thing is though my secondary line (dumbphone) was already in a shared plan with my smartphone line.

        • Sharrock

          Thanks for the feedback people. I have two separate lines with separate nationwide plans. As long as I can keep the same basic plan on the dumbphone line after the upgrade I’ll be happy.

    • abqnm

      I believe you can keep separate plans still. You would not be able to be on a family share plan though. Each line would need its own minutes/text/data plan.

    • screw you

      Sharrock – To clarify, this will work for you. IF you are currently on an Nationwide plan, you will be able to upgrade the basic line to a smartphone, then swap the device to your personal line for daily driver. Cool thing about this, in the future, when your daily driver does get an upgrade available, just do an alternative upgrade to the basic phone again, and swap it back again. This is a great work around…

      How do I know this is a great work around? I work for Verizon, and I do this all the time for the data hogs! Guilty, I’m a data hog!

  • Verizon Wireless sure is making a very bad habit of crapping on their customers — and has been for quite awhile.

    I get the distinct impression that VZW sincerely and strongly feels that they are now ‘too big to fail’ at this stage of the wireless service game — so their customer care is on a nosedive rapid decline due to the fact that even if they lose a vast swath of their customer base they’ll still be golden and making scads of money hand-over-fist forever. And — fortunately for them and unfortunately for their loyal customer base — that’s most likely true.

    It’s good to be the King — I guess.

    • Adam Brandt

      so true. Unfortunately wireless spectrum is a finite resource, and it doesn’t look like new companies even have the resources to compete regardless of money. And Verizon has so many customers, frankly I don’t think they care if they lose a few million. They could lose every reader on this website and not bat an eyelash : /

  • jer85008

    Cheaper for me to have five phones, three of which are “smartphones” – one with unlimited data, one with 4GB, the other with two GB than use a shared plan with 5GB total. Tell me Verizon – how exactly does sharing save me money?

  • GreenMeansGo

    I’ll never buy another subsidized phone again. I’m passing down my unlimited data plan in my last will and testament.

    • abqnm

      Unless that happens in the next 2 years, I wouldn’t bet on it. The likely reason for the inability to sign a new contract and keep the unlimited plan is that they plan to eliminate it completely in the next two years. By not allowing new contracts with unlimited, once all the existing contracts are up, they can just eliminate the plan without breaking the terms of their own agreement.

  • Does anyone have his email address? I’d love to tell him what we think. Does he actually believe that people are voluntarily giving up unlimited data for a more expensive tiered plan??

  • Zach Armstrong

    The new Share plans are terrible. I don’t need Unlimited Talk and Text. The plan should have been a data package preferably unlimited and then choose you voice and text package that you want.

  • Ohiwastedmylife

    Hey smart people, I have unlimited 3g plan and I am going to buy a new phone soon. If the phone is 4G does that mean by upgrading to a 4g account I am going to lose my unlimited data?

    • trixnkix637

      Yes. Assuming you buy it at a subsidized discount.

    • Renegade Nole

      From what I gather If you renew your contract so you get the phone cheaper your plan will change and lose unlimited. If you buy the phone outright it doesn’t matter if it was a 3g or 4g phone data is data

    • RoadsterHD1

      yes, if you buy a subsidized phone. No if you buy a phone at full retail.

    • qwertyjuan

      You can buy unsubsidized, but because 4g is a ‘different’ data plan, you will still be changing your plan, hence forced into tiered 4g. You can only keep unlimited 4g

      • qwertyjuan

        **you can only keep unlimited 3g**

    • Ohiwastedmylife

      Wow like 8 different answers, what one is correct? They no longer offer different data plans but previously offered 4g data & 3g data. I am on top of phone news but have never seen a legit answer to my question. I can’t be the only one who is still on an OG droid incredible haha