Verizon Doubles Up on LTE
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