Getting the Pricing Data to Make Informed Decisions

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-12-04 Print this article Print


So far, so good. But the next question is why Verizon Wireless has structured its data plan the way it has. I think there are a couple of reasons. The first is that the lessons of AT&T and the iPhone data usage aren't lost on Verizon. The company wants to make sure its 4G service is available to everyone. So making very heavy data use very expensive keeps a lid data consumption while also making sure the network is available to other users.  

This means that if you plan to regularly download movies to your laptop, those movies will start getting pretty expensive. But if you're just checking your e-mail or using Google Goggles, you'll be able to cruise along at $50 a month just fine and not worry about going over. 

I think the second reason is that Verizon Wireless, like the other carriers, wants to lock its 4G customers into Verizon's 4G. If you have their 4G and suddenly T-Mobile, for example, starts offering 4G at around 50 mps, you won't have to worry about a mass defection.  

There's also another question, and that's whether Verizon's 4G pricing will remain the same once 4G phones start showing up. Those 4G phones will have to have a voice plan along with a data plan, and that could mean that customers may be paying nearly $100 a month at the low end of the cost scale. That's a lot of money to pay for wireless service and it could be that Verizon will provide some sort of bundling deal that makes the whole thing more affordable. 

It's also likely that Verizon's 4G offering will start a price/performance war (that actually may have started already), in which the carriers will reduce their 4G prices and make a big deal out of relatively minor differences in speed. There will be some issues that Verizon Wireless will be unable to duck, such as the inability of their current USB 4G devices to roam from 3G to 4G without having to stop what you're doing and reload 4G. Those issues will go away with time as Verizon builds out its network, but in the interim, you can be sure you'll hear about it from everyone else. 

The bottom line is that Verizon Wireless has an expensive service, as has been the case with its voice and 3G services. However that hasn't stopped the company from being the top seller in the U.S. While it's possible that a customer can run up a whopping bill if they're not careful, avoiding this appears to be fairly easy. Whether that expensive service is worth it or not remains to the judgment of the customers, just as it is with current services. But the good news is that Verizon Wireless is being perfectly clear how the pricing works well in advance, so you have the information you need to make a decision. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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