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4G/3G/WiFi

Verizon Doubles Up on LTE

5:05 PM -- Verizon Wireless 's limited-time promotion doubling the caps on their Long Term Evolution (LTE) smartphone plans is an interesting evolution in the emerging 4G pricing battle among U.S. carriers.

The carrier is offering to double up the data plans for new customers and existing subscribers who ask. So if you currently spend $30 for a 2GB plan you can now get an allocation of 4GB instead.

Verizon is describing the promotion as a limited-time affair but isn't saying how long it is going to go on for. It appears, however, that once you get the doubled data limit you can keep it for the life of the contract.

On one hand, this very much appears to be an attempt to mix it up harder with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which currently has nine LTE markets operational in the U.S., and with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), which appears to have added more than a million WiMax users to its 4G Now service in the third quarter.

On the other hand, it indicates that Verizon -- and probably the other carriers -- still have wiggle room in their pricing plans, at least for smartphones. Tablets and laptops are a different story, just because of the amount of data they can potentially chew through.

It's going to be fascinating to see how the thinking on 4G data prices evolves over time. It's pretty clear that -- with larger screens and better video capabilities arriving all the time -- no carrier, aside from Sprint, wants to be in the unlimited data game anymore. The operators, however, need to get smarter about how they price and market data buckets.

As we saw from the reaction to my 4G Dichotomy piece, users consume 4G and faster 3G in very different ways. Some are perfectly happy with a 2GB cap, while others are exploring ways of using their phone to stream select videos that they would have watched on cable before this over-the-air alternative.

Carriers clearly have the ability offer more choice on data plans than they currently do and to explain them better as well so users don't haphazardly burn through data.

I think the industry is slowly moving in this direction. Raising the caps on the most data-hungry phones -- even if only for a limited time -- seems like another small step down the path.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:49:27 PM
re: Verizon Doubles Up on LTE

Is it possible that Verizon is doubling down on data to help juice sales of its 4G phones? With fewer than 1 million 4G phones sold last quarter (according to Verizon it sold 1.4 million 4G devices, with half being phones) and 2 million iPhones sold, is it possible that the high phone prices and non-unlimited plans kept folks from taking a chance on LTE?


Makes sense to offer more data for the same price, especially if you haven't sold enough phones to load up the network. Also notice that prices for older 4G phones like the Thunderbolt have come way down and the Droid Razr is in heavy promotion on TV.


Can't remember if Verizon ever set a sales target for 4G phones (it wouldn't be like them to do so) but Big Red can't be happy that Sprint is still outselling Verizon on the 4G front. So here, have twice the data even though we told you that we need data caps because capacity is scarce. Hmmm.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:49:27 PM
re: Verizon Doubles Up on LTE

Is it possible that Verizon is doubling down on data to help juice sales of its 4G phones? With fewer than 1 million 4G phones sold last quarter (according to Verizon it sold 1.4 million 4G devices, with half being phones) and 2 million iPhones sold, is it possible that the high phone prices and non-unlimited plans kept folks from taking a chance on LTE?


Makes sense to offer more data for the same price, especially if you haven't sold enough phones to load up the network. Also notice that prices for older 4G phones like the Thunderbolt have come way down and the Droid Razr is in heavy promotion on TV.


Can't remember if Verizon ever set a sales target for 4G phones (it wouldn't be like them to do so) but Big Red can't be happy that Sprint is still outselling Verizon on the 4G front. So here, have twice the data even though we told you that we need data caps because capacity is scarce. Hmmm.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:49:27 PM
re: Verizon Doubles Up on LTE

I'm not sure I'd describe 1.4 million as "weak sales" per se but -- yeah -- this promo is undoubtedly a way to try and get more people on the network, especially now that AT&T has markets up.

gtchavan 12/5/2012 | 4:49:25 PM
re: Verizon Doubles Up on LTE

This is a good sign that competitoin is heating up.   People better sign up for LTE or else they wiill not upgrade their network to offer any real semblance of LTE. 

billsblots 12/5/2012 | 4:49:20 PM
re: Verizon Doubles Up on LTE

Holy cow, thanks for the heads up!  As we've discussed, I may not be the brightest individual, but when I sit with a 4G LTE handheld device testing out from 6 - 12+ MBPS (take or leave speedtest.net, but I use it for consistency and comparison), the potential uses "on the fly" just keep adding up.  What we previously would not even consider outside Mr. Cable's friendly confines are now just begging to be "dialed up" (excuse the misuse of the term) in an airport terminal, hotel, or restaurant... recently run episodes of The Walking Dead, live sporting events, the season finale of Breaking Bad again and again.


Further, in the case of my daughter where her Bright House internet connection outside Daytona tests horrible and cannot even carry an uninterrupted stream, less than 1 MBPS, her LTE wireless device coupled with a HDMI cable now puts the Detroit Red Wings live on a full LCD 37 inch screen.  Her number under my account still says "unlimited", and I'm not going to upset that apple cart.


I'm definitely going to call VZW on this, I hadn't heard of it. Thanks!

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