In all aspects of our lives there seems to be the growing trend of 'bundling' and a handful of companies that do a very good job of, at least, trying to live up to their promises of value, and in the wireless arena, all of the big four in the have their own perks for multiple device households. The major trend, currently offered by three of them, is family geared plans that allow devices to pull from 'pool' of data much like their voice plans, adding cost per device, not amount of data used, until a cap is reached. They even have tools to help you manage the data that you use, and calculators that help you see the amount of data your family needs.
This march leaked a picture of a new, but similar, tool for the last of the four, Verizon, leading many people to think that they were bringing a similar data plan to market. Then this morning, it was closer to being confirmed as several references to a shared data plan were made in a Q1 Earning Call between the Verizon Big Wigs. Now for a company to follow the practices of the competition they are already taking customers from seems a bit foolish and leaves me in a state of slight disbelief, therefore, I must question this as we look at a few of the facts concerning Big Red's current position in the market.
Verizon is the leader in providing a very fast, reliable internet experience; they are growing their postpaid subscribers faster than their competitors and already provide 4G LTE coverage to more people than anyone. They are constantly expanding their network and in the call this morning said that they intend to "... build out the 4G LTE footprint -- to a target of 34 million homes..." all by the middle of next year. That means almost the same map for their 4G LTE services as their current 3G coverage. They are taking on a trend of being the first to get the latest and greatest devices first, and are constantly increasing data speeds. The only reason this is possible is because they have been investing, expanding and innovating to increase quality and capacity, so why would they now want to integrate an antiquated way to pay for their ever evolving methods to access data? Easy, they wouldn't.
I believe they see a different picture, after all CFO Fran Shammo said, "Our acquisitions of best-in-class assets like Cybertrust,Terremark and CloudSwitch, combined with our industry-leading 4G LTE and global IP networks, gives us a unique platform of assets to provide comprehensive, integrated solutions for enterprise." With things like file sharing, tethering available across a wide ranges of devices, and everything from your fridge, coffee pot, and thermostat, to your printer, sprinkler systems and door locks having built in Wi-Fi, old way of providing data to multiple devices just don't work because EVERYTHING needs a connection. Shammo even goes on to solidify this assumption in part of a very long answer to a question asked after the call.
"...There is going to be other categories that drive the growth of Wireless in the future. As I said, we will be launching our data share plan in midsummer this year. We believe that plan, the way we have it designed, will enable our customers to easily connect other devices to that plan.
And I think that as we do more connections -- you notice that we did not disclose total connections. As I've said, that machine-to-machine is becoming a more complicated device and connection of the way the plans are built. So it is not important anymore of total connections..."
Verizon is set to release something that is going to change the data game, and when more details and pricing emerge, I believe we are going to see a data plan that allows you to connect your all of your devices. Meaning not only your Family Voice Plan Phones, your tablets and 3G/4G hotspot devices, but, through the integration of their HomeFusion 4G LTE Home Internet Device, all of your WiFi devices as well, making services like Home Automation, Control and Monitoring currently offered through their advanced wireline service FIOS, available to their wireless customers. I also see it coming with a big chunk of cloud storage that syncs to all of your connected devices eliminating the need for separate cloud storage services. Indeed, the future is a beautiful thing my friends, and from the looks of it, it glows red and is going to force the competition to play catch-up.
For the full transcript of the call you can click here.