AllThingsD reports that Verizon is about to throw down the gauntlet to its rivals in the United States by introducing a big change to how it charges customers for wireless services.
Instead of charging people based on their voice minutes spent and text messages sent, the big red carrier will “almost exclusively” invoice users based on how much data they are using.
The new plans are said to go into effect June 28 and will reportedly be the only option available to new customers…
Ina Fried, writing for the Wall Street Journal-owned AllThingsD blog, explains:
The plans, known as “Share Everything,” allow users an unlimited number of calls and texts and also allow data usage to be pooled among up to 10 devices on one account. With the move, Verizon becomes the first U.S. carrier to offer the ability for customers to share a bucket of data across multiple devices.
Verizon confirmed the report via a short press release.
So, instead of paying for voice minutes and text messages, customers will be charged depending on the device they use and the amount of data: $40/$10 per smartphone/tablet and $50/$100 for 1GB/10GB data a month. Also important, the $15 hot spot fee will be a goner under new terms.
The new policy might put new users who only need one smartphone at a disadvantage:
Under the new plan, a customer pays $90 a month ($40 for the smartphone and $50 for 1GB of data) and gets unlimited talk and texting. Under the old plans, the same customer could have paid that same $90 and gotten a bucket of voice minutes plus 2GB of data and unlimited text messaging.
Check out Verizon’s own pricing matrix.
This is huge, if you ask me.
There’s no chance on Earth that Verizon’s nemesis AT&T and Sprint will stand still once Verizon’s new charging scheme goes into effect.
In fact, Fried points out that AT&T has also said it is working on plans that will allow such sharing.
The move also reflects the sweeping change in how customers use wireless services nowadays. While we all still rely on voice calls, tech-savvy consumers have long been using Skype with Skype Out number on their cell phones.
And with proprietary messaging services being the norm on Android and iOS devices, namely Google’s Gtalk and Apple’s iMessage, carriers’ messaging revenue is going down the drain as well.
And once U.S. carriers finish commercial deployment of their 4G LTE networks and services like Voice over LTE take over, IP-based messaging and voice traffic will rely exclusively on data.
Verizon is only noticing the trend and prepping for the inevitable.
The question is, will our wireless bill go up or down as a result of these changes?