Verizon Wireless revamps calling plans; Goes for customer grab ahead of 4G

Verizon Wireless revamps calling plans; Goes for customer grab ahead of 4G

Summary: Verizon Wireless revamps its wireless plans. The big plan: Grab customers with a better handset lineup and simplified pricing and then keep them as the carrier moves to 4G services.

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Verizon Wireless is going on the offensive as it tweaks pricing plans, pares its device portfolio and markets heavily with its "there's a map for that" ad campaign. The grand plan for Verizon Wireless: Grab customers, get them using a lot of data and then upsell them to 4G services as the company upgrades its network.

Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said on a conference call:

[The change] to me is more about the tools we had available to us. Getting Alltel done gives us a lot of scale advantages. We've been looking at this for the last 6 months. The Droid has been a great flagship device for us. The pieces really started to come together. When we see an opportunity to gain share and do it profitably we're going to do it.

To snare more customers, Verizon Wireless is simplifying things. McAdam said the company is streamlining its handset lineup from 80 devices to 50. The general idea is to sell fewer handsets and have a more knowledgeable sales team. McAdam also noted that the Droid is seeing data usage rates comparable to what the iPhone sees. He also argued that Verizon's network is ready for the heavy data usage that new devices such as the Palm Pre Plus will bring.

McAdam made the comments on a conference call with analysts. Verizon Wireless on Friday officially rolled out new wireless service plans that will kick in Jan. 18. "This is about data and upselling customers to LTE," said McAdam.

The more notable changes, tipped off by the Boy Genius Report and a Verizon advisory, include (statement):

  • A $69.99 nationwide unlimited talk plan;
  • An $89.99 nationwide unlimited talk and text plan;
  • Redesigned family plans ranging from $119.99 for talk and $149.99 for unlimited talk and text;
  • Data plans that feature a 25 MB for $9.99 a month package;
  • The $19.99 data package for 3G phones has been cut;
  • 3G data packages for smartphones will stay at $29.99 a month;
  • Broadband access plans for laptops will stay the same.

Update: AT&T quickly matched these plans.

On the prepaid front, Verizon is also unveiling new prepaid plans. In a nutshell, all of the new unlimited plans can go prepaid for an extra $5 a month.

Existing contracts aren't affected, but customers can move to the new plans.

McAdam said Verizon is walking the line between selling a premium service, being competitive in pricing and grabbing market share.

Verizon CFO John Killian added that the carrier's moves "are offensive" and aimed at growing share. Killian said that the changes should drive the top and bottom lines for the company.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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95 comments
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  • Long overdue revamp

    I'm sure these new ways to overcharge us will be much more exciting than the old methods by which Verizon overcharged us.
    ejhonda
    • Revamp....

      ...and there will always be the idiots with more money than brains, addicted to "cutting edge" gadgets, that will make VZW's efforts appear to be viable.
      tcrimmins1953
  • Still way to expensive

    While I do miss the Verizon network, I do not miss my Verizon Bill.

    It's ludicrous that I can get unlimited mobile / text & Data on Sprint for $79.99 while the same plan costs $119.99 on Verizon.

    Is Verizon's Network better than sprints? Absolutely. Do i get 50% better coverage though? Nope. So i can't justify the additional cost.
    NetworkBankAdmin
    • Well its true your mileage may vary...

      However Verizon has long been in a position to command the Premium pricing that they do. Their network and customer service are WORLDS better than Sprint ever could be. I pay $99.99 a month for Unlimted everything BUT Voice Minutes which is capped at 450 day minutes (unlimited N/W/M2M still). This works out for me just fine because I dont really use the phone that much (bearly break 50%) and I never wait more than a few minutes to speak to an ENGLISH speaking representative in one of the call centers in the US. Sprint? Yea, if you are lucky you get to talk to Kansas City and its seeming that English isnt their first language or you are talking to Habib over in India.

      I apologize you can't justify the additional cost for a network that will more reliably deliver your phone calls, text, pix, and flix messages. Actually complete your call and if you ever have a problem have a knowledgable represenative on the line in minutes. My time is worth the premium (Hey Premium product, premium service -though it may be because I'm VIP, idk) guess yours isnt. Have fun with Wi-max :p
      JT82
      • Having switched from ATT to VZW

        I can honestly say I'm perfectly fine with paying the price premium. I've always told people there is a reason Verizon doesn't even attempt to compete on price. There is a reason they charge more and to me and many others the additional cost is far more than worth it. Considering my livelihood often revolves around my cell phone it doesn't bother me one bit to pay more for additional service.
        LiquidLearner
      • There are Factors...

        Depends where you are using your "premium" service. In the NYC area, I have Sprint for work and Verizon for personal servicce.
        The coverage and data speeds are almost the same, voice and coverage are never a problem for either carrier and data, although can be spotty in some areas for Sprint, are almost the same. Certainly not enough to justify the "premium" amount Verizon charges.
        I have to be honest, I cant comment on the customer service, I havent called either providers in years (who calls customer service anymore, everything is done online!). I did have to call Verizon and it was terrible! It was an English speaking rep (I believe he was located in N. Carolina) but it was the typical "read from a script" response you would get from anyone.

        So, having used Verizon for cell service for years, I would have to disagree. It is NOT worth the extra 25-50% over other carriers and when this latest contract is up, I am actually finally dumping Verizon.
        Can't WAIT till my cable company's IP over WIFI phone is done (soon)!!!
        Free cell service over my Free WIFI, cant beat that!!! :-)
        ITGuy70
        • ...

          the quality of the handsets are worse, their voice
          network makes it sound like whoever's on the
          Sprint is is talking through a tin can and I'll
          certainly never go back from VZW. Cingular and ATT
          were horrible, T-Mobile and Sprint are a joke. The
          people around here (Atlanta) who have Sprint seem
          to never be able to make a call and their phones
          sure seem to stop working a lot.
          evilkillerwhale
        • Thats odd

          Whenever I speak to a VZW customer I have great quality and can understand what they are saying. I have a friend who is a Sprint customer, in a well populated area with ample coverage but the quality of the conversation sucks and Im always asking 'huh?', 'i didnt catch that', and I hear popping and clicking. Ill gladly pay my premium for reliability in both call quality and service.

          Sure most customer service is online, however, I like the personal touch that I get from calling a representative and the things I do require a customer service agent to take care of, online cannot.

          With your last paragraph, while a pipedream, sounds like you are of the 'get what I can for the cheapest (not lowest price) mantra' and Sprint certainly delivers that. Let me know how WVoIP works out, I already use it at home and while its nice, it requires a lot of tweaking to get working reliably with little lag, but its CERTAINLY not a cell phone. VZW never has to compete on price, their network speaks volumes (pun intended).
          JT82
          • Got ya

            Sure, I would image every area, well populated or not, will have varying results with call quality. A lot of factors contribute to that. I'm just saying that my experience, in the NYC area, having used both devices on a daily basis, I have very minimal call quality differences. (That's just for me, I see now that it is not the case for most).

            Customer service online/on the phone I guess is just a personal pref.

            I am NOT one who believes in what I can get for the cheapest, I believe the low-end retailers (Walmart, Dollar stores, Target Greatlands, ect) are destroying quality products fo r America. I would MUCH rather pay a little more and get a quality porduct that will work and last as designed. Everyone wants the biggest for the cheapest, not me.

            WVoIP works great. By the end of year, the Free WIFI I mention will be all over the NYC and Long Island coverage area and it works with no effort. Make a call and go where you want. I just like the fact that I already get my home phone service from my Broadband provider, why shouldnt that extend to when I am outside the home? Verizon just wants to hit you for a charge for anything they can. Why did they make RIM remove WIFI from the Verizon Blackberrys they sell? Because they dont want people using the Free WIFI, they want to charge you for using their network when you already get charged for using their network for cell usage. I just want them to be fair.
            ITGuy70
          • WiFi

            I don;t think they have continued that policy as the Android phones they have use WiFi...
            woad9
          • However.....

            They wont sell you that phone unless you pay extra for a data plan :-(

            I would love to have the phone but I am not paying them for data when I already get data.
            ITGuy70
          • Yup...

            [i]they wont sell you that phone unless you pay extra for a data plan sad

            I would love to have the phone but I am not paying them for data when I already get data.[/i]

            Sleazy racket, isn't it...
            Wintel BSOD
        • "Free cell service over my Free WIFI"

          if u are a Cablevision Customer you can use their free WIFI anywhere around their Service Area for Free.so if u can get a Smartphone like the Android Smartphone and Install Skype,You be able to MAKE and RECEIVE calls without paying a dime!!
          TheCableGuyNY
          • Except equipment cost..

            Which runs about $600 without a contract and still have an EXTREMELY limited service area? Yea um...lame.

            Its not comparing apples to apples; its apples to oranges.
            JT82
          • Can you clarify??

            What equipment cost? If you have a phone that is WIFI capable (fairly cheap on E-bay) and you are a customner of them, your can use the WIFI for nothing.
            Service is expanding and will be everywhere they service by the end of the year (at the latest).

            Sure, not if you travel out-side the NYC tri-state area but that will be covered soon :-)

            Not sure if I understand about the $600...
            ITGuy70
          • I am with you

            Thats what I am talking about!! Wait to see what comes next..... :-)
            ITGuy70
      • re:Well its true your mileage may vary...

        I agree. I switched to Verizon from AT&T about 5 years ago and have never looked back. Even when i had some service issues where I used to live (I was in a complete dead spot), their customer service was awesome (and understandable, as you pointed out). They bent over backwards to try and fix the problem I had and when they couldn't solve it, they even offered me the opportunity to exit my contract with no penalties. Within about 6 months the problem was solved (the problem was caused by issues in getting the permit to put up another cell tower that was dragged on by the local government). While they may be a little bit more expensive...the quality of service I get both from the phones and from the customer service folk is very much worth it.
        woad9
        • And so you went...

          without a phone for 6 months while they were dicking around over the cell towers? Is that what you're telling us?

          I don't care how 'great' their customer service is. I'm not going to pay for non-existent phone service.
          Wintel BSOD
    • How is Verizon's Network better than Sprint Again?

      THEY USE THE SAME NETWORK... Sprint lets you roam endlessly on Verizon EVEN with data! ... If you aren't getting the coverage, adjust the roaming settings on your phone or get a better phone...cause the network...is the same.
      condelirios
      • No

        They use the same TYPE yes, they both are CDMA, and YES they do some roaming agreements in SOME markets, but not all. Some markets they do not permit Sprint customers on their towers (except for E911 calls) or severely limit it.

        So it does come down to who does have the MOST coverage available, and whos the MOST reliable wireless network. You will always find its Verizon Wireless, I've been with every cell phone company so I know first hand (also the reliability claim has been tested in court).
        JT82