Earlier this week, some new plans from Verizon had leaked out. Giving us an idea of what kind of "fireworks" the company was planning for this week. And it turns out that Verizon is upping the data limits on their plans, and also increasing the pricing - even though Verizon stated that they were not increasing prices. Just as a quick rundown, their "S" plan went from 1GB for $30/month to 2GB for $35/month. Now Verizon breaks this down as being $30/month per gigabyte, down to $17.50/month per gigabyte under the new plan. Which is why they believe they are not raising prices, which is technically true. The "M" plan jumps from 3GB to 4GB, also increasing from $45 to $50/month. Their "L" plan goes from 6GB for $60 to 8GB for $70, "XL" goes from 12GB for $80 to 16GB for $90 and finally their "XXL" plan goes from 18GB for $100 to 24GB for $110 per month. Adding more data and raising the price is one way to change plans, but is is the right way?
In short, it's not. When you have competitors lowering their prices as well as giving out more data, it's not the way Verizon should be going. Although, Verizon is still hanging on to the fact that their network is the best, and customers are willing to pay more for a superior network, and that will likely continue. But this is just going to put more money in Verizon's pockets. Money that their customers could be spending and even saving, if they were with another carrier, like AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint. While these prices may look pretty good, you still have to remember that you are going to be charged an access fee for each line that is on your account. Smartphones are $20/month, tablets and mobile hotspots are $10/month and connected devices are $5/month. So if you have a smartphone, and subscribe to the "S" plan, that's $55/month right there, and you haven't even paid for your phone on Verizon Edge yet, which can be up to another $30/month depending on the smartphone you buy. So things do add up pretty quickly, even on Verizon's new plan, that is going live tomorrow, July 7th.
Verizon also upgraded their plan for business customers. Allowing business customers to get 25GB of data for just $175/month, 35GB for $245, 50GB for $350, 85GB for $500, 150GB for $750 and finally, 200GB for $1,000/month. And this plan does bring over all of the features from the regular Verizon Plan. These are data buckets, so that every line that is on your business plan will be tapping into this bucket - and don't forget, you have monthly access fees for each device as well. Not a good thing, and it's especially overpriced when you look at the business plans from their competitors.
Now we'll give Verizon props for bringing over a few features that other carriers have already implemented. Like Carryover Data. Which allows you to keep your unused data for another month. But that's it. Just another month. Unlike T-Mobile which allows you to keep your unused data for up to a whole year. Verizon is also allowing their customers to now roam and make calls in Mexico and Canada without being charged extra. But, again, this is only available on the XL or larger plans from Verizon. If you are on the S, M or L plans, you'll have to pay another $2/day. Customers can use their data in Canada and Mexico as well. This is a good thing, but there are better ways that Verizon could have done this. For starters, does it really cost them more to allow users on their S, M or L plans to roam in Canada and Mexico? Considering those are most likely their most popular plans.
Safety Mode and Data Boost are the other two features that were announced today. Safety Mode is their way of eliminating overages. But it's not a customer-friendly way of doing so. Safety Mode allows you to be throttled once you've hit your data allowance. Meaning that you can continue using data, without being charged overages of $15/GB. Speeds are reduced to 128Kbps, as they are with other carriers. But here's the kicker. This is only available on the XL and XXL plans, which have the most data (16GB and 24GB of data, respectively). Those on smaller plans will have to fork over $5/month to keep from getting charged overages. Or they'll have to deal with overages of $15/GB. Definitely a head-scratcher there. Data Boost is Verizon's way of selling you more data, and charging you per gigabyte. You'll be charged $15 per gigabyte of additional data. Luckily, the data you don't use will carryover to the next month. Verizon's example for data boost is when you're at the airport and want to download a movie to watch while you're on the plane, but need 4G LTE to download it, because 128Kbps speeds are just too slow. So you can quickly buy a GB of data from the new My Verizon app and download your movie and whatever data doesn't get used, gets carried over to the next month.
Verizon is also updating their My Verizon app, which is available on Google Play and Apple's App Store. This is the app you use to keep up with your account, pay your bill and check your data usage. With the update, they are simplifying your bill, so you can clearly see what you're being charged for and what's changed from month-to-month. Additionally, there will be on-demand support within the app, the ability to shop for the latest devices, and the Data Hub. The Data Hub is probably the most important part here. As it's a data control center. Allowing users to see how much data is being used. What lines are using it and the ability to add more if needed.
So that's everything that Verizon announced in a nutshell. There's some positives there from Verizon, as far as changes are concerned. But for the most part, it's just a way for Verizon to take more money out of their customers pockets. Just when you think that Verizon is starting to get the fact that competition is here and here to stay, they do something like this and show that they are completely out of touch with their customers. Luckily those that are on the current Verizon plan won't be forced to switch over. So if you are happy with your current Verizon plan, you can keep it for as long as you'd like.
Verizon made a point during their web conference announcing these changes that they were "solving customer pain points". Which sounds a whole lot like what T-Mobile says during their Un-carrier moves. But we'll leave that for another day. Verizon didn't really solve any pain points. If anything, they created more. By adding features to only some of their plans - which are likely only for those that have multiple lines on their accounts - things are going to get very confusing for their customers. Verizon also said "like fear of overages and bill uncertainty by putting the customer in control." Except, overages will still be a fear for many users. Unless they decide to opt-in to Safety Mode for another $5. Either way, Verizon wins by getting more and more money from their customers. Carryover Data was another strike out for Verizon. While it's a bit surprising that Verizon actually brought in this feature (before Sprint even), it's not surprising to see that your data only rolls over for a month, like AT&T's implementation of this feature. Verizon said that they want to "keep the data clean" when asked about why it's only for a month and not up to a year. Which makes basically no sense whatsoever.
Since the news of these changes popped up on Tuesday, we've seen many Verizon customers talk about leaving the company and jumping ship to another carrier. And now that the new plan is official - and will be available beginning July 7th - we may see more jumping over to AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint. And with T-Mobile and Sprint offering all sorts of promotions to switch - like paying off your fees to leave Verizon or another carrier - it's going to be easier than ever before.
Verizon, what customers want isn't a higher bill. What customers want is more data, at the same price or even a lower price. Customers don't want to have to pay an extra $5/month to steer clear of overages. Customers don't want to have to pay $2/day while in Canada and Mexico - never mind the roaming charges for other countries. When it comes to Carryover Data, customers want it for more than just an extra month.