Recently, Verizon CFO, Fran Shammo announced that Verizon will be discontinuing their unlimited data plan. Clearly taking cues from AT&T, Shammo claims that this will only adversely affect the 5% of their user base that are “super users.”
The question becomes: If only 5% of your customer base is using above your proposed 2GB monthly limit, what exactly is the problem? Are you claiming 5% of your data customers are ruining the experience for the other 95%? Does that even sound feasible to anyone? What about the iPhone users Verizon courted with the promise of “Unlimited Data?” Sounds like the old bait ‘n switch to me.
Let’s be serious, we all feel like victims at one time or another to the cell providers….and most of us just take it because their contracts dictate we must. Since Shammo and cronies would never bother listening to their customers, it is time to decide what you plan to do about it. For the record, a few of the many problems with the AT&T, and now Verizon data caps brought up in previous discussions are:
1. Most non-technical users couldn’t tell you how much data they use on a daily basis. Thus, they purchase the unlimited plans to protect themselves from having to constantly worry about their usage status. The mobile experience will become one of complication and worry for the large majority of these users.
2. With the continuous improvement and promotion of free streaming media, GPS, and other services, the less scrupulous data providers will continue to try and “tax” innovations from developers without adding benefit to the end user.
3. Verizon has NOT and will not provide the data that shows only 5% of users will be affected by the changes in price structure. Further, they certainly do not have outside validation of that data or they would use it to back up their statements. In other words, it doesn’t pass the “smell” test of truthfulness.
4. Apps for smartphones will often use data connections in the background. For example, Facebook and other social media software likes to update periodically. Users will have to be aware of EVERY app they download, and the usage requirements. Today, this is not provided with any detail, nor can it be provided accurately. It just can’t be predicted. Verizon is actually stifling innovation as developers will find it increasingly hard to create apps around data usage restrictions from concerned users.
5. You cannot affect what people choose to send you via communications such as Email, chat, or social media devices. Verizon will count that data against your plan anyway.
6. 4G / LTE actually costs less to provide per kb than previous iterations. Providers would have you believe it costs more.
7. The pricing model does not make sense. Internet service providers charge based on speed, and proposals to change to a usage basis has met with scrutiny from lawmakers. Only wireless companies try to exploit their customers by charging for the amount of data used. Imagine being charged this way at home or work. If you tolerate this as a customer of wireless, you can expect these same companies to change the way we use data from a “wired” perspective in the near future.
8. Americans and Canadians pay more for wireless service than practically any other civilized region on Earth.
9. These pricing plans have been called “chilling for innovation” by more than one politician.
10. There is no method in place to express how much data will be used per action, in advance. Thus, users cannot make informed decisions before choosing to view a video, picture, or highly interactive websites.
The list could go on forever.
Tell Verizon politely what you think. I for one am taking my 3 lines and 8 years of business to a carrier that provides unlimited data. I will not continue to be abused and say, “Thank you” through inaction.
If you choose not to speak out, just remember: Mr. Shammo and Verizon have told us all what they think of our loyalty: They don’t care.
Maybe they can hear us now.
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