After a year or more of hinting at such a change, Verizon recently unveiled
the company's "Share Everything" data plans to more than a little disappointment by consumers and consumer advocates. The plans, while offering unlimited voice and text services, impose very high per byte data charges on consumers in addition to per device fees. The move is purely about protecting Verizon revenue by jacking up the price of data to keep users paying more money as they consume fewer texts and voice minutes.
There was absolutely nothing revolutionary about the new pricing; it's about keeping revenues, long bloated by pure cash cows like SMS
, inflated by over-charging consumers for data
. Customers (well many of them) aren't stupid; Verizon's forums have been in revolt
after it took Verizon all of a year to go from $30 for unlimited data to $50 for a few gigabytes.
With the launch getting slammed by the press and public, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam this week took to the podium of detachment and denial (TM) at an investor conference, informing attendees that the price hikes are secretly fantastic because paying too much for data service will make consumers' lives easier
and they'll "feel better" about their electronic devices:
"Customers have been telling us for years, I don't want to have a separate account for my iPad or for the four appliances in my house. It's a sea change," McAdam said at the Guggenheim Securities 2012 TMT Symposium. "This, I think, dramatically changes how people feel about their devices. The usage moves around. They don't have to think about it. It just makes life so much easier for them."
"Is it going to cost them more money? Yeah. But it will probably shift their wallet spend from things they do individually into a bucket of gigabytes," he said. "The relationship will change. This will be something much more ingrained in their life as opposed to something that's attached to their hip."
Does McAdam really believe that dramatically raising data prices on users, socking them with $10 per gigabyte overages, and charging device fees per type makes life "so much easier" for consumers? Probably not, but the sales pitch requires that he pretend consumers get something out of this equation other than a skyrocketing data bill. Verizon and McAdam are fortunate they operate in a duopoly, ETF-laden market where you can can punch consumers squarely in the face without many repercussions, though with prepaid interest surging
and some new MVNO data pricing approaches
on the horizon, Verizon may want to rein in the greed just a tad.