Unlimited data has been a talking point for quite some time. However, in spite of Verizon ending smartphone unlimited data plans back in 2011, they have found themselves back in the headlines recently with the topic. Albeit, mainly as they have been making it clear they are not interested in bringing back unlimited data. Although, it would be more accurate to say they are not interested in bringing it back at the consumer level, as a new report out of Fierce Wireless states that they are considering unlimited data for a select cause and for a select group of customers.
The cause in question is the commonly referred catchall of Internet of Things (IoT). Verizon has been talking about IoT today due to the annual release of their ‘State of the Market: Internet of Things 2016’ report. Following which, Verizon’s Vice President of IoT Connected Solutions, Mark Bartolomeo, has been explaining that when it comes to IoT, unlimited data could very well make a return, at least for their corporate customers. The reason being is that these customers will not be interested in making use of any MB or GB data plans and instead will likely require a flat fee. Something that according to Bartolomeo, Verizon is unlikely to have an issue with. As these technologies are very low-powered items and do not require the fast speeds that other devices prefer, there is little logic in charging on a pay-per-usage level. In particular, Bartolomeo is referring to devices which make use of LTE Cat M, Cat 0 and Cat 1 networks, which by their very nature are slower connection networks and largely designed for the use of IoT-related devices. According to Bartolomeo, due to their “communicating at a very minimum level”, these devices would be better suited to annual fixed prices.
Interestingly, Bartolomeo does also make the point that these particular devices and their ‘unlimited data’ plans would unlikely result in competition or customer issues, as the plans are designed for IoT devices that are not actually IoT connected. So for instance, the use of annual fees could allow cities to employ low-level communicating features to items would not have it otherwise, due to the associated expense of ‘connecting’ them to begin with. Of course, all of these is still sometime away from being finalized or implemented as Cat 0 and Cat M are not quite market-ready yet. Bartolomeo does expect them to become ready soon enough though, as they are currently in testing and could be ready for use by manufacturers as early as 2017. Likely when more details about any agreed pricing, unlimited or otherwise, would start to come to light.