Editorial: Should You Be Scared Of Shared Data Plans?

On the heels of news Verizon plans to eliminate unlimited data plans for 3G customers in favor of their upcoming shared data plans, we wonder if the move to shared data isn’t something we should fear? As the industry now stands, heavy smartphone users already approach bandwidth limits every month and while we’re making a prediction that the shared data plans will have stubborn limits, I think it’s a safe assumption.

The battle between users, their app love and bandwidth limited data plans has just gotten started and as Verizon and AT&T both prepare their shared plan plans for launch this summer, we’re worried. We’re especially worried about how Verizon will look at data moving forward thanks to this quote by Verizon CFO Fran Shammo:

We want the connections to come in and the way we’ve designed our plan, this plan is built on tiers. And as we look at the future growth of LTE consumption because of the speeds and video consumption and consumption of other end-to-end type devices, it’s going to be more important that people will start to upgrade in the tiers as they start to really realize the benefits of the LTE network.

So two things here. One is, revenue will continue to grow as we get into data shared plans and people start to connect more devices (as my pad example). And then over the future time, as they add more devices, they are going to have to buy up in tiers. So again you will see the revenue increase there.

The way we designed this, we really shouldn’t see a short term decline.

Quote Source: Droid-Life.com

I know this is a battle of revenue versus customer wants and needs but it almost sounds like Verizon will structure their shared data plans to “force” you to move up on the tiers as you find yourself using their LTE network. Once you get a whiff of those LTE speeds, browsing, streaming and other app uses just seem so easy and then, before you know it, you’ve gobbled up all your data allotment.

Verizon’s board and shareholders surely love this approach, the bottom line is revenue for them and by increasing their tiered data offerings they are going to get exactly that, more revenue from us, the customer. It sounds like Verizon has done plenty of homework and structured these upcoming plans so that we are forced to upgrade as we consume more data.

The really scary part is that AT&T is going to follow suit and while T-Mobile and Sprint may have arguably better data offerings, their networks speeds have yet to approach what AT&T and Verizon offer. Even when Sprint and T-Mobile move into 2013 and begin their serious LTE rollouts, will they too make such changes? T-Mobile prides itself on being a low-cost leader but every carrier has costs to recoup and T-Mobile may not be able to differentiate itself so drastically forever.

I don’t know about you guys, but all I see in the future is more money going out of my pocket and into the carriers — and that scares me.

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