There was no possible reaction other than outrage to the news about Verizon’s tiered data pricing. We knew it was coming, but given its fierce competition with AT&T, we — or at least I — also figured that the pricing scheme would work out a bit better. But when word leaked that the plans would only limit use and impose more costs on users, well, I lost a lot of faith in the company. We’ve gotten plenty more details since then, though, and some of them mitigate the issue. It’s still a raw deal, and I expect that they might adjust along the way. But in general terms, if you’re not a Verizon customer before July 7th, I don’t see the point in becoming one. The tiers, which Droid Life broke on Monday, provide high caps for a high price. That is, the 10GB plan costs $80 per month. The worst part, though, is that the $30 plan, which currently covers unlimited usage, will cover only 2GB right now. There is a middle plan, 5GB for $50 per month, and there are some plans that include tethering, but none of them ease the outrage of the issue. After all, as Android Police’s David Ruddock ranted, didn’t Verizon advertise that LTE was actually cheaper for them to deliver than EVDO? If so, then why the hell is it going to cost us more?
Above, via Android Central
, come the specific tiers Verizon will implement. At the low end the plans are much worse than AT&T’s, in that the 2GB plan is $5 more and there is no lower tier for those who use much less data. As you climb the tiers Verizon becomes a bit more cost efficient: for 5GB you’d save $5 with Verizon over AT&T, and at 10GB you’d save $25. But those probably won’t get much play from the general market. AT&T also has a better 4GB tethering plan by $5. There was a lot of angst when AT&T tiered data last year, and it figures to be worse for Verizon, since the plans are just that much worse — when, I will repeat, Verizon has gone on record saying that LTE data is cheaper to deliver than EVDO. There is some mitigation to this issue. Apparently, current customers are grandfathered into their $30 unlimited plans
. This counts not only current Verizon subscribers, but anyone who signs up for a plan before July 7th. (Which does kind of suggest that the leak was meant to spark a quick subscriber influx.) How long the grandfathering will last remains to be seen. They say you’ll still get it when you upgrade, but as with their New Every Two grandfathering, it might only count for one upgrade. Again, expect Verizon to make note of this further down the road, and expect to not be happy that your $30 unlimited plan won’t last forever
. At least we can be happy knowing that it will at least last beyond our next upgrade. Among the Android faithful, this is nothing but bad news. Even among the non-geek smartphone-toting crowd it bodes ill for the future. At least AT&T offered its lower-level users a chance to potentially save money on their monthly cell bill. With Verizon there is no possibility of savings, and a distinct possibility of increases. If you use 3GB per month, for instance, you’re stuck paying $40 per month. It doesn’t become worth the upgrade to the $50 5GB plan unless you consume at least 4GB per month. At the same time, someone consuming 1.99GB is on the hook for the same amount as someone who uses 199MB. As noted in the Android Police editorial, the new plans essentially punish everyone who is not on the $30 unlimited plan. The grandfathering of current customers has me thinking that it’s simply a short-term ploy to keep people happy at the time they announce these unfriendly plans. “What do we have to worry about?” current customers might say. What we have to worry about is the moment that Verizon pulls the rug out from under us and tells us that at our next upgrade — that is, the next time we sign a new two-year agreement — we’re going to be on the hook for their new tiers. That way the outrage will be dispersed, since we all get upgrades at different times. It’s certainly a sly way of handling it from a PR angle, and it will probably dampen the total outrage. But it will still be there. I won’t lead the charge on the matter, but when Verizon does make that announcement I will absolutely not sign a new contract with them. That’s the question I pose to everyone. Knowing everything we do about the tiered data plans, and how Verizon is trying to keep current customers happy for the time being: will you re-up with Verizon once they force you onto the tiered plans? Or will you seek a carrier that better suits your data consuming needs?