Verizon Wireless Share Everything plans will be available as of this Thursday, June 28, and according to a new report, the timing of the plans is meant to get a step ahead of Apple and others that may offer Internet-based calling plans.
Investors Business Daily cites a June 25 report from Citigroup analyst Simon Weeden, who wrote that as carriers 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks become ubiquitous, other companies are likely to offer voice over IP (VOIP) services for LTEalso known as VoLTE.
Calling the new Verizon plans radical, Weedon told investors, Voice and text are both unlimited in a move which anticipates the possibility of Apple extending its iMessage free (texting) plan to voice over IP as well as the improved VOIP capabilities of LTE for other OTT (over-the-top) Internet players.
Users of Apple iOS devices can turn to Skype and its peers for free VOIP apps, and certainly eventually for VoLTE apps. Why would Apple get more directly involved?
Theyd do it to do what Apple loves to dorebuild things according to the way they think it should be done, Technology Business Research Senior Analyst Ezra Gottheil told eWEEK. No doubt there are people at Apple sitting around saying, This is awful! We can do so much better than this!
That said, Gottheil believes Apple is less likely to go down that path than to continue to provide a platform on which others can.
I dont think theyre the ones to worry about, Gottheil added. For the carriers, its really a matter of pricing, more than anything else. Theyre going to a place of basically trying to charge you for data, and to some extent thats the correct things to do, because most of their costs have to do with deploying data and the enormous costs of [building out their LTE networks]. What theyre charging is really a sort of patchwork of costs related to the value you believe you get out of a device.
Verizons Share Everything plans focus on an account, not a user. Up to 10 devices can be tied to an account, each with a particular chargesmartphones are $40 each a month, for example, and tablets are $10and a data allotment is chosen for the devices to share. A gigabyte is $50 a month, 2GB is $60 and 10GB is $100, with additional options in between. Voice and texting are unlimited, and HotSpot capabilities apply to all capable devices. For families or small business, its expected that the plans will offer some savings; for individuals with few devices, its trickierthough also not an obligation. Verizon has said publicly that no one will be forced into such a plan.
Still, the plans have upset some consumers, as a Verizon spokesperson has said the carrier expected they wouldthough the plans do meet a need to share data, which is something that customers, particularly with the rise in tablet ownership, have been asking for.
Verizon has plans to launch VoLTE services toward the end of 2012, with the real push occurring closer to mid-2013, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told an audience at a May 16 JP Morgan Chase event.
Shammo explained that VoLTE is not backward-compatibleit works only on LTE technology, and so will drop a call if a user moves into 3G territory.
You need to have the coverage map that a customer would experience the same on 4G versus 3G, because if we dont, we are going to have a lot of dropped calls and ineffective attempts and our customers will not understand why our [4G] network is not as reliable as the 3G network.
The Verizon brand has been built around reliability and coverage and having the least dropped calls, Shammo explained. And that is something that is very, very important to us.