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Verizon to Merge Wireless, Wireline Customer Loyalty Programs

Mike Dano
3/28/2019

The head of Verizon's consumer business said that the operator soon plans to merge its wireless and wireline customer loyalty programs.

Ronan Dunne, currently head of Verizon's wireless business and the executive slated to take over Verizon's consumer operations, said the move would be one of the first things the operator will do when it formalizes its new corporate structure April 1.

"One of the first things you'll see is that we'll merge the loyalty programs between FiOS and wireless," he said in a recent Verizon video. "That's one of the first things you'll see."

Doing so will give Verizon's retail employees and customer service representatives more flexibility, he said. "So, for example, if I want to reward someone for their loyalty -- you know what? They already have the latest phone, well maybe the opportunity is something on the content side, on their residential [Internet]. Maybe it's the fact that we can give them an even sweeter deal on FiOS because they're already a loyal wireless customer. It gives more tools for people, more things in my offers. Those are the sort of things that matter every single day."

Verizon's plans appear to be playing out on the company's website. "Note: The My Rewards+ Program is not currently taking on any new members and will be discontinued on May 30, 2019," the operator notes on its FiOS residential Internet page. The website for Verizon Up -- the operator's rewards program for its wireless customers -- has no such language.

However, the Verizon Up rewards program appears to be designed for those who enjoy reading the fine print, as it features four different kinds of "rewards" (Earned Rewards, Bonus Rewards, Local Offers and Super Tickets) as well as separate "credits."

"Every $300 you spend on your Verizon Wireless products and services on monthly bills (before fees and taxes) earns you a credit," Verizon states.

The caveat? "Credits expire 60 days after being added to your account."

However, it's unclear how Verizon's corporate-wide customer loyalty program will be implemented.

Dunne though explained that "loyalty will be a key, key metric" under Verizon's new corporate structure, and that the company will work to make sure its customers are "excited about being members."

Dunne's comments line up with recent statements by Verizon CFO Matt Ellis on the topic. "With the technology at the inflection point it's at, it's the right time for us to also change how we come to you," he said at a recent investor event, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks. "Our customers, they're interested in the solution, the technology you can give them, not the technology, underlying technology that provides a solution. And so we want to have that conversation with our customers… So it makes a lot of sense to do this at this point in time."

Verizon launched its Verizon Up program in 2017, and that program was a replacement for the Verizon "Smart Rewards" program that launched in 2014.

Verizon announced its plans to reorganize its business late last year. The shake-up will eliminate the wireless/wireline divide that was long a key element in Verizon's corporate structure and replace it with a consumer/business focus. Dunne will be the boss of the new consumer business while Tami Erwin, the executive vice president of Verizon's wireless operations unit, will take charge of the business group. Verizon's media group will be led by Oath CEO Guru Gowrappan, while Verizon's network operations will be headed by Kyle Malady. CEO Hans Vestberg will oversee the divisions.

In his comments, Verizon's Dunne also hinted at additional features and services that would stem from Verizon's new customer-focused business structure as well as its investments in its network, including 5G. For example, he said he's "very confident" the company would be able to put a package together bundling its Yahoo Finance stock trading offerings with Verizon's low-latency network so that subscribers can trade "faster than a Wall Street trader."

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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