Over the last few years, Verizon's been repeatedly tinkering and experimenting
with their wireless data pricing -- trying to figure out what customers are willing to pay. They've also hinted dozens of times
that when LTE finally launched for smartphones, they'd be tinkering with new, more usage-based pricing options. When Verizon recently finally got the iPhone, they kept unlimited data pricing, but stated the move was only temporary
, the company clearly trying to lure AT&T customers away and get them under long-term contract.
This week finds Verizon once again stating that unlimited data will die off this summer
, replaced by more tiered pricing potentially based on both speed and usage. On the positive side, Verizon's also planning to embrace "bucket 'o bytes" family plans, where like voice minutes -- a family can pull from a set pool of data usage. Details however remain a bit sketchy:
After this change the company will look to soften the blow by offering more options such as family plans for data services, Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo told the Reuters Global Technology Summit. While families can share a bucket of minutes for phone calls today, each family member with a smartphone has to pay $30 per month each for data services. If they own a tablet computer they pay another separate data fee.
Verizon's LTE pricing so far hasn't been particularly innovative
, and with overages up to $10 per gigabyte it hasn't been particularly economical, either. The shift toward family plans suggests some creative thinking, but the quality of the new pricing will depend, as usual, on how low the caps are and how steep the per-byte overages will be.