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Verizon Communications United States

Verizon To Hike Prices On Plans But Offer More Data (cnet.com) 145

Roger Cheng, reporting for CNET: Big changes are afoot at Verizon. The nation's largest wireless carrier is set to unveil changes to its plans that will make them more expensive, but will also include more data, according to someone familiar with the changes. The low-end "S" plan will go up by $5 to $35 a month, but will include 2 gigabytes of data, twice as much as before. The "M" plan will go up by $5 to $50 a month, while its data will rise from 3GB to 4GB. The "L" plan will go up by $10 to $70 a month, while data increases from 6GB to 8GB. The "XL" plan will go up by $10 to $90 a month, but you'll get 16GB, up from 12GB before. Lastly, the "XXL" plan will cost $10 more at $110 a month, but you will get 24GB instead of 18GB. The changes are part of a broader overhaul of its plans, which will also include a rollover data program called "Carryover Data," a new way to avoid overage fees, and better access to Canada and Mexico. The move reflects a heightened competitive environment, one in which smaller rivals T-Mobile and Sprint have begun winning away customers through aggressive offers. Many of these changes mimic offers already available at the other carriers.
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Verizon To Hike Prices On Plans But Offer More Data

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:07AM (#52447735)
    We're in an extremely competitive environment these days. What should we do? Hike rates! yeah, that's the ticket!
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:07AM (#52447737)
    And made them tone deaf, because the idea of raising prices even with a new program to allow rollover data is a non-starter in the U.S. market, which already has some of the highest cellular fees in the world.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:08AM (#52447743)

    This will actually save me $10 a month. The 1GB plan was too small so I was forced into the 'M' 3GB plan which was $15 more a month and larger than I needed. With the new changes for only $5 more a month I will get a 2GB which is perfect.

    • I was thinking the same. I am on the 6gb plan. Rather than paying an extra $10 to go to 8gb I may just drop back to 4gb - particularly if the "rollover" data they mention really is a thing.

  • $5 to $35 is a huge range for the rate increase. Couldn't they narrow it down a little more?
  • by Scyber ( 539694 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:15AM (#52447793)

    If you calculate it as $s per gigabyte. WIth this change I can actually save money by lower my data plan to the 4GB plan. 3GB was just about our monthly data usage, but 4GB should give me enough overhead to not worry about overages.

    • If you calculate it as $s per gigabyte. WIth this change I can actually save money by lower my data plan to the 4GB plan. 3GB was just about our monthly data usage, but 4GB should give me enough overhead to not worry about overages.

      And when you go over you get to pay an arm and a leg in fees! woooo

    • At T-MO my data rate is simply lowered when I go over instead of being charged an extra $1/meg or whatever insane shit VZ is still running. They are so far behind their competitors its like the twilight zone over there. So glad I switched.

  • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <icebalm@[ ]balm.com ['ice' in gap]> on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:16AM (#52447799)

    Verizon is an ISP... Data is free to them. This is simply a way to extract more money out of customers...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > Data is free to them

      Speaking as someone who works at an ISP, I'm wondering what the heck gave you that idea?

      • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 )

        Not all ISPs are equal. Verizon (UUNET) is a Tier 1 provider, meaning they do not buy transit from other ISPs. Data is not a finite resource, and therefore whether Joe Blow uses 3 or 4GB of data a month, it doesn't cost Verizon any differently.

        • Data is not a finite resource, and therefore whether Joe Blow uses 3 or 4GB of data a month, it doesn't cost Verizon any differently.

          Um, you are aware that wireless networks don't build themselves, right?

          • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 )

            I am aware, your point?

            • Meaning that looking at a GB of usage as having no cost ignores the fact that it does in fact have a real cost.

              • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 )

                You don't understand how the cell network works. More towers do not give you more bandwidth. More towers gives you more coverage, and more capacity. Like adding a 12 port switch to a network with a 48 port switch that is full. You're not going to see speed increases, you're going to gain the ability to connect more devices to the network.

                The speed comes from the backhaul, which already exists.

                So again, allowing people to use more data per month does not increase costs for a provider who doesn't pay transit.

                • You don't understand how the cell network works. More towers do not give you more bandwidth. More towers gives you more coverage, and more capacity. Like adding a 12 port switch to a network with a 48 port switch that is full. You're not going to see speed increases, you're going to gain the ability to connect more devices to the network.

                  The speed comes from the backhaul, which already exists.

                  So again, allowing people to use more data per month does not increase costs for a provider who doesn't pay transit. If they get an influx of customers and need to add capacity, or want to expand their coverage, that is not a factor of data usage, and they would have to build those towers anyways.

                  Your analogy would only be appropriate if the network were constrained by the number of customers it can serve simultaneously, and not by the total data utilized. It's the latter that's the primary constraint.

                  Backhaul's a constraint in some locations, but not most.

                  • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 )

                    Your analogy would only be appropriate if the network were constrained by the number of customers it can serve simultaneously, and not by the total data utilized. It's the latter that's the primary constraint.

                    You are absolutely wrong. RF is a shared medium, you're not going to somehow get more data by adding towers running on the same frequency bands. 1 tower or 50 towers, the bandwidth is the same.

                    • Your analogy would only be appropriate if the network were constrained by the number of customers it can serve simultaneously, and not by the total data utilized. It's the latter that's the primary constraint.

                      You are absolutely wrong. RF is a shared medium, you're not going to somehow get more data by adding towers running on the same frequency bands. 1 tower or 50 towers, the bandwidth is the same.

                      That's completely untrue. Dividing cells, adding micro/pico/femtocells, etc., lets you increase the amount of frequency reuse.

    • What's with your "..." ? Is that some kind of hint that you have more to say, but you aren't willing to say it yet?
  • Shouldn't that be "and"?

    Please people... learn your conjunctions for cryin' out loud.

    (Damn... now I have that old "conjunction junction" song stuck in my head).

  • TMobile.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:19AM (#52447823)

    Unlimited Data. $50 a month. Roaming data in 100+ countries. Free rental of WiFI router.

    I'm glad that Verizon is being forced to acknowledge that customers are beings other than walking wallets, but TMobile is just better., Sorry.

    • Re:TMobile.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:25AM (#52447875)

      Unlimited Data. $50 a month. Roaming data in 100+ countries. Free rental of WiFI router.

      I'm glad that Verizon is being forced to acknowledge that customers are beings other than walking wallets, but TMobile is just better., Sorry.

      I'm surprised VZW and ATT haven't tried to offer plans that are equal to TMobile's. I switched to TM and, despite all the "their network sucks" posts have found them to be perfectly fine for my use, and the international free data/text an added perk. In addition, I get 14GB of tethered data / month which is more than I ever use.. At half the price of my old plan plus unlimited data I am quite happy that I switched.

      • by garcia ( 6573 )

        It really depends on your location of use and how far from interstates you travel, when you do.

        In my case, there is absolutely NO coverage for T-mobile at my lake home on any provider except Verizon. Considering we spend ~40% of our summer months there, this is a necessity.

        We also travel, by car, over 3500 miles each summer on a road trip. With Verizon I have never been out of coverage; however, AT&T and T-mobile cannot keep pace--not even close.

      • I'm surprised... haven't tried to offer plans

        I have unlimited data with AT&T (via Cricket) for $65/month; it's throttled at 8Mbit... however, I also have overpriced 10GB/month Verizon on my other phone; Cricket service can be flaky...

      • Actually ATT does offer something competitive with the other carrier's $40-50 semi-unlimited plans - its just that its part of their GoPhone (prepaid) section.

        $45/month ($40 with auto refill)
        Unlimited calling.
        Unlimited texting (including to over 100 other countries).
        2GB (they bumped me to 3GB) 4G data and then unlimited 3G after that.

        This is better than any of their post-paid plans and the guy at the ATT store couldn't give me a reason why pre-paid had flat rate semi-unlimited when their regular pla
      • by jandrese ( 485 )
        T-Mo has made big strides in upgrading their network in the past few years. Getting a chunk of prime bandwidth was a huge boost for them. I had T-Mo years ago but switched to Verizon after being without coverage too many times, but then Verizon started dicking with the bills so we switched back to T-Mo and to my surprise I rarely am without service. Most of the old deadspots are gone, although a couple do remain.

        They got rid of overages. They don't charge you for your phone when you bring your own.
    • by Creepy ( 93888 )

      Free calls in Mexico is the primary reason my wife switched us to T-Mobile, but that said, T-Mobile has zero coverage in rural Nebraska and South Dakota,which is where I was over the weekend. Zero bars for the lot of it, whereas Verizon at least had some coverage. In the past my brother (who flip-flops carriers all the time) used to get analog service, but on modern phones, it literally is Verizon or nothing.

    • Though to be fair (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:38AM (#52447941)

      That is unlimited data at 2G speeds (around 100kbps usually), 2GB of data at 4G speeds. I love T-Mobile and have been a customer for quite some time but it isn't unlimited data in the sense many people would expect. On their base $50 plan you get as high a speed as the network can support for the first 2GB of data, then they throttle it down to a slower speed.

      If you want unlimited (barring abuse, if you go too nuts they still might throttle) high speed data that is another $45/month.

      Their base plan is the best plan going though. Really these days I think many people will find 2GB more than sufficient since WiFi is everywhere.

      • I've hit over 100gb in a month with another 10GBP feathering and I never heard crap from them. Still was running a full 75mbps connection speed through all the usage.
    • Or Sprint, a little more at $80 a month for unlimited data. Verizon users are fools to pay as much as they do for as little as they get.
      • by genka ( 148122 )
        Sprint is OK for people leaving in large cities and not traveling. Otherwise their coverage sucks. Verizon is the best, it will not compete on price.
        • The few times I've found myself outside of Sprint coverage, I've been covered by the included unlimited nationwide roaming. Mostly on Verizon's network I'm sure since they've long had cross company roaming agreements. A couple remote areas (Out camping where I don't expect coverage anyway) only Verizon users have had signal but most areas I have some coverage too. p.s. I live in the mountain west where coverage outside the cities and freeway corridors always sucks for everybody (or it has since the old A
      • Verizon has the coverage and they know it. Verizon was very meticulous in which local carriers and towers they bought up over the last 3 decades. They made sure that whenever possible they were going to have service in every nook and cranny in the states. While the other carriers largely focused on population dense cities.

        For city dwellers that don't travel much it makes sense to not use Verizon. But if you want cell service with reasonably reliable data nearly everywhere you go you have no other choice but

        • As I said in another reply to someone else. Sprint's unlimited plan also has unlimited roaming. I live in the mountain west, there are very few areas I've traveled to where I don't have some coverage and Verizon users do. Such locations do exist but they are not common.
    • TMobile is just better

      TMobile has lower prices in densely populated urban centers.

      If you live in the 2/3 of the country where Verizon is sometimes sketchy but TMobile is at best fifty miles away, it doesn't even qualify as 'usable', much less 'best'.

      Speaking of which, if anybody can recommend a phone that works on Verizon with Cyanogenmod and has an SD card slot and removable battery, it's time for me to upgrade. Something that doesn't overheat rapidly like my current Galaxy would be great.

      • by Zarquon ( 1778 )

        I've been eyeing the LG V10... open removable back, so I can get an extended battery, SD card. The T-Mobile version has a Cyanogenmod port, but I don't see one for Verizon. Some of the other LGs have slide out batteries; removable so you can have multiple, but limited volume so you can't upgrade the capacity much.

        -R C

        • Yeah, I'm running a battery that's 3x the capacity of stock and even that doesn't get me a full day. Hey, I have a little unix machine in my pocket - I want it doing things, so I don't have to.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      Unlimited Data. $50 a month. Roaming data in 100+ countries. Free rental of WiFI router.

      You forgot little to no service in many rural (and some not so rural) locations. If such things are important for your use, T-Mobile may not be the best choice. It's gotten better the last while, but it's still doesn't come close to Verizon and AT&T's footprint.

    • T-Mobile is fine in urban areas, but in rural areas like mine it's garbage. I was a T-mobile subscriber for ten years. I then switched to Sprint because they had "3G" service, but the towers in my area ended up being 3G radios fed by what must have been 56k ISDN lines. I also noticed that my phone would frequently roam on Verizon towers.

      T-Mobile has 4G around here now, but it's still confined to inside towns. Venture out into the 30 mile patches of nowhere in between towns and you're back to 20th century "E

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      In my nest area, Verizon wins barely since other providers get no signals due to huge hills/small mountains that block their transmitters. :(

  • by DeathToBill ( 601486 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:21AM (#52447837) Journal
    Bloody hell. Here in the newly-independent UK[1], £11 per month gets me 1GB of data, among other things. Another £3 per month turns that into unlimited data. ANOTHER £2 per month turns that into unlimited data with 4GB of data usable by a device tethered to the phone. That's right, £16 per month for unlimited data on the phone and 4GB for tethered devices. "Heightened competitive environment"? Could still use some work, I think. [1] Yes, yes, I know.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I'm not the biggest fan of US telcos, but to be fair to them the UK is much more densely populated compared to the US, and is also much smaller. The better comparison would be Virgin Media versus Comcast. In both cases you have absolutely zero competition for your wireline ISP, but at least VM gave decent value for money a few years ago when I lived in the UK.

    • If you think the EU model of cellular could work in the US, go check on T-Mobile's prices (Deutsche Telekom). Oddly enough, their service costs just as much.

  • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:23AM (#52447859)

    In case anyone is unfamiliar with AT&T / Verizon pricing, these fees are in addition to the 'device' charges, which run ~$20-25/mo per connected phone.

    So Verizon is offering a marginally less pathetic amount of data for a marginally more outrageous sum of money. Hooray?

    • I use the AT&T gophone (prepaid) network. It costs me $50 (including tax+fees. $5 cheaper if you have auto-refill) and has unlimited data (capped after 3GB).

      I rarely go over my cap and the unused data is rolled into the next month.

      Just in case anyone is looking for a cheaper alternative to VZ.

      • I use the AT&T gophone (prepaid) network. It costs me $50 (including tax+fees. $5 cheaper if you have auto-refill) and has unlimited data (capped after 3GB).

        You could get almost that exact same thing for $35/mo with Cricket, using the same phone, still on AT&T's network.

  • by ytene ( 4376651 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:24AM (#52447865)
    Maybe we're thinking about this the wrong way. Verizon revenue is about $32 billion and their profits about $4.4 Billion. How many customers do they have? If we could get reliable data and do the math, it would show how much profit they are making per customer.

    I'm not a US citizen so in a sense this is not directly relevant, but across the world the mobile telcos seem to be pushing up prices, charging huge roaming premiums and raking in massive profits, yet, curiously, it doesn't seem to be resulting in a better service...

    Does anyone know how much it's costing them to maintain enough bandwidth? Is this a genuine "cost of doing business" or is this "squeeze 'em till the pips squeak"???
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:24AM (#52447869)
    The cost of that extra data is probably the same as it was when the price points were first set up.

    .
    So it looks like Verizon jacking up their prices while the costs are remaining the same.

    Pure profit for Verizon.

  • by ardmhacha ( 192482 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:26AM (#52447877)

    "Safety mode" eliminates the prospect of an overage fee, and reduces the speed of the service until the end of the month....Customers with smaller plans can pay $5 extra to access "safety mode."

    "a new way to avoid overage fees" by paying a fee

  • by dingleberrie ( 545813 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:29AM (#52447901)

    I get it. So they just changed everyone to be half a plan above where they chose to be. If these people wanted more data, then they'd have chosen those more expensive plans with more data, but they didn't, so Verizon chose for them. It's like ordering a medium size and they say "oh, we give you more than medium, so you pay us more, no? Don't break contract or you pay us more then too. Have a nice day."

    I won't use Verizon mobile because of poor policies like this. I have a non-verizon plan that has unlimited data... but only the first 3GB is fast. After that, it's slower. I asked Verizon how I could make sure I don't pay more than my budget for data and they said I could have them turn off all data at 3GB or pay their relatively expensive overage charges. So they won't have my business.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Well, that is the cynical view. I am not sure its all that customer unfriendly though. I for one feel the plan on my handset is a bit restrictive, I have to pay a little more attention to my usage than i would like, but the next size up before now was a lot more than i would use most months.

      I suspect a lot of people are in the same boat. My usage has trended upward over time, I used to use 200MB a month on average just a few years ago. Now i am often around 500 or so. I have come darn near my 1GB cap a

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @10:58AM (#52448121)

    Two months ago we decided to put service on our daughter's old iPhone. Verizon wouldn't simply let me add a $15/month line to our shared pool of data - they said my plan was "too old". Instead they wanted me to switch to a new plan, which would have raised my monthly total cost by $35/month.

    Instead I moved my mom, wife, sister and daughter all to TMobile. We are spending $30/month less with an added phone and more data to boot. Binge-on is also nice since daughter and wife use youtube and Pandora quite a lot.

    The coverage isn't quite as good as Verizon - but it is good enough.

  • by soapdude ( 2568589 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @11:20AM (#52448267)
    If I could move to anyone but Verizon, I would. Unfortunately, no other carrier has decent signal where I live and work. Looks like I'm stuck.
    • If I could move to anyone but Verizon, I would. Unfortunately, no other carrier has decent signal where I live and work. Looks like I'm stuck.

      Not entirely. There are carriers like Republic Wireless and TextNow who use WiFi for calls/sms/data if available, and seamlessly fail-over to cellular only when you go out of range.

      Republic Wireless also has unlimited free (voice and sms but not data) roaming onto Verizon wherever there's no usable Sprint signal.

      Fortunately, AT&T's coverage is just as good as Ver

  • I left verizon because they rarely update the device's system software and when they did the primary purpose seemed to be to lock down the bootloader more and more. Yes, most users don't give a hoot, but that's my case.

  • I don't know about anybody else, but my data usage fluctuates pretty widely based on unpredictable travel and other circumstances. For my family, Ting (mentioned above) works out well -- I'm sure my son would love to be able to stream all the time over cellular data, but he's bearing up well under the strain of his deprivation. If we have to spend a week or two on the road, we'll bump up into another data bucket, and pay an extra $10 or so at the end of the month. If not, we get the usual low rate we expect. Same for minutes and messages.

    I was on Verizon years ago, and clung to a very old plan with very old flip-phones because I knew pay-as-you-go had to be coming soon. It took a bit longer than I expected, but it eventually arrived, and I couldn't have been happier to kiss Verizon goodbye.

  • That's when my 2 year Verizon contract runs out and I dump them for T-Mobile and an iPhone 7. I would rather do business with a company that competes by providing better service (free music streaming) than do business with a company that competes by cranking up prices. I'm surprised Comcast hasn't purchased Verizon, they seem like they do business the same way as one another.

  • The data costs them nothing, but increasing the allotment is a good way to excuse putting the price up. As a non American, those prices are horrendous.

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