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Verizon's Announcement Is About Per-Byte Billing
Not about offering consumers the universe on a platter...
by Karl Bode 04:25PM Wednesday Nov 28 2007
As we noted yesterday, Verizon Wireless has announced that at the end of 2008, they'll be offering users the option to connect any supported, CDMA device to their EVDO network. In other words, you'll be able to buy a data-only plan from Verizon, and use any supported device and application on the network -- with a catch. This is in contrast to Verizon's traditionally gimped software, crippled phones and "get it now" walled garden functionality.

Reactions to the press release seem boundlessly optimistic, though this is a company that would probably rather die than become a "dumb pipe" provider of bandwidth. While the press thinks this announcement is a consumer bonanza, we're unconvinced of Verizon's epiphany just yet.

Silicon Alley Insider's Dan Frommer was one of only a few writers who seemed to get what this announcement was really about -- getting some positive PR, and the injection of a per-byte billing model into consumer consciousness:
Some people think this will open the door to devices running new services, like free Internet phone service or video calling. But Verizon (VZ) has no intention of turning itself into dumb pipe. You can expect service plans for non-Verizon phones to include data-network fees based on usage -- meaning those "free" calls could cost a bundle.
Recently busted by the NY Attorney general for advertising 5GB capped service as unlimited, Verizon Wireless has been looking for an opportunity to sell consumers on per byte pricing, and this is likely it. It's a clever play by the company, who'll get to tell critics and regulators they they do in fact support open access, while charging you a premium for it.

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Baltimore, MD

2 recommendations

reply to FFH5

Re: Double-Talk

said by FFH5:

It is about time that pay-per-byte starts getting used. It solves all problems.
Except that pesky problem of having to pay for data you didn't request. If I'm paying by the byte, is my ISP going to filter out all spam on the mail server before it gets downloaded to my email client? Is my ISP going to block unwanted popup ads on any web sites that I might visit? What about annoying, high-bandwidth flash content that I don't want to see? What about windows updates that get downloaded even though I told windows not to download updates?