Verizon Moneymaking Plans: Low Bandwidth Caps + New High Bandwidth Services = Profits?

from the or-pissed-off-customers dept

We've argued before that the rush by various mobile operators to push for (very low) bandwidth caps is going to backfire. They're trying to get more people using their services, while at the same time making it harder for them to actually make use of those services. Now users have to be a lot more aware of how much bandwidth something is using, which also creates serious mental transaction costs. Verizon recently put in place extremely low data caps (2 gigs?!?) with extremely high overage fees ($10 per gig?). And... just a few weeks later the company announces a (high bandwidth) video on demand offering and set it up so you can't use it over WiFi. In other words, the only way to use this high bandwidth offering is over the network with the low caps and the high overage fee. Have fun paying for those videos you watch. That's going to add up fast.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    Umm, any indication that this is "local" network and doesn't count on the cap?

     

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      That is what I was thinking.

       

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      A Dan (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:05pm

      Re:

      From the product website: "The download and use of Verizon Video will incur data charges according to your data plan. A data plan is required for use of this service."

      https://products.verizonwireless.com/index.aspx?id=fnd_video_packages

       

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        A Dan (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:49am

        Re: Re:

        That comment was all fact and no commentary. Here's my commentary:

        I expect that they will add their video service to all the expensive data plans ("according to your data plan"), so that it will not count toward the cap. I expect each data plan will include an "Up To XX hours per month of Verizon Video" or "Up To XX GB per month of Verizon Video" which don't count toward your normal data cap, at which point any additional video starts counting toward your data cap or costs money directly.

        There are plenty of ways to hit the customer with this one, and I'm sure Verizon Wireless will be able to figure out the method that "maximizes profit" on people who use the service.

         

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 1:51pm

    Same old song and dance

    Past: You have "free" voicemail; to call it uses your limited minutes, and you cannot delete a message without listening to the whole thing, nor can you shorten the voice-prompt menus. Thus, use of the 'free' voicemail results in a mandatory waste of your limited minutes.

    So, same old song & dance, just in a new era.

     

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      PlagueSD (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:38pm

      Re: Same old song and dance

      The voicemail was indeed "free" If you wanted to access your voicemail without using your precious minutes, you'd either use your land line, or call during "off-peak" aka free nights and weekends.

      As far as shortening the prompts, you can type in commands at any time during message playback. If I wanted to delete a message without listening to it, that's 337. (33 = forward to end, 7 = delete message.)

      It doesn't take a rocket scientist to navigate a voicemail system.

       

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        That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 3:24pm

        Re: Re: Same old song and dance

        In a world where there are people who do not understand Control+F opens find you want them to know and remember number sequences. And are those the correct sequences for every voicemail offering or just certain ones?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 11:26pm

          Re: Re: Re: Same old song and dance

          Those are the commands for Rogers and Bell Mobility, 2 of Canada's top 3 wireless providers. While I haven't used the services of them, it likely means that they are also the same for Fido, Virgin and Solo, as these 3 providers are 'budget' brands owned by Rogers (Fido) and Bell (Virgin[used under license in Canada by Bell] and Solo).

          These commands were also used by the various landline phone systems I have used in Canada (Rogers, Bell, Aliant and eastlink). The only company I don't have experience with is Telus and Koodo (owner by Telus).

          Given this information and a the desire to make switching easy for a customer, I suspect these commands are likely standard across Canada and the USA. Especially since choosing/changing the command numbers takes relatively little effort.

           

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        PRMan, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 3:47pm

        Re: Re: Same old song and dance

        On Sprint, I could hit 7 at any time to delete the message. (I think, maybe 4. It's been so long since I didn't have an Android phone...)

         

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        Wauf, Oct 22nd, 2011 @ 11:21pm

        Re: Re: Same old song and dance

        It used to be that in Verizon's voicemail system if you pressed the button for the menu option you wanted before it had been said by the prompt, it would just ignore your keypress and continue speaking.

        It was indeed deliberately designed to use as many of a customer's minutes as possible.

         

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    Lord Binky, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 1:55pm

    Something has to replace txt msg.

    I used to do customer support for AT&T wireless, people regularly had $1,000 bills because of txt msgs. Wasn't it great companies charged both users for a txt message usually 10 cents each (total of 20 cents per for them) outside your limit.

     

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    A Dan (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Verizon

    Verizon Wireless to be clear. They don't put such crazy low limits on their real internet.

     

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    HothMonster, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:11pm

    Would it be cheaper if I just went to the mobile store and had one of the on-site employees ass-rape me?

     

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    Simon, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:16pm

    Trust the yanks to fuck up the English language. What the hell is this shitty word 'overage'.

     

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      el_segfaulto (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:48pm

      Re:

      Don't worry, with as rapidly and effectively as my countrymen are exporting corporate culture, you'll soon come to know the word well.

       

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      HothMonster, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:52pm

      Re:

      coming from a guy whose country has coined such gems as confuddled, scrotty and grockle....

       

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      The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 4:16pm

      Re:

      To quote treaty at the end of the war of 1812:

      "We limeys cede the right to forever bastardize our language to you bloody colonials."

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 11:39pm

      Re:

      What's wrong with overage? We use it in Canada as well, and it follows typical word creation rules in English. Stem + suffix. Take 'courage' for example. 'Cour' a stem that originally referenced the heart + 'age'. Obviously shortened, but if you care so much about the English language, I'd recommend taking a few linguistic classes.

      I suppose you also think that split infinitives aren't proper English, despite the fact that they have been in regular use by all class levels for hundreds of years.

       

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      Richard (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 2:07am

      Re:

      What the hell is this shitty word 'overage'.

      To me it means that there is some kind of upper age limit and you are to old. Like in the children's playground where you have to be 12 or under to go on the swings - tough on us oldies!

       

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    Lord Binky, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:24pm

    Translation

    Overage comes from the "overage fee" which roughly translate into "Pay it because we fucking said so, and if you don't like it you still have to pay to leave"

     

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    Paul (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    It is hard to believe that anyone is worse than AT&T

    But Verizon is very competitive.

    If we allow AT&T to buy T-Mobile, I am sure we will see more competition to see which company can screw over their customers the most.

     

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    Lord Binky, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:29pm

    $10 a gig?The signal must be made of gold....

    The best SSD you can buy is still under $3.5 per gig. Just to put that into comparison.

     

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      The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 4:19pm

      Re: $10 a gig?The signal must be made of gold....

      So, you're saying that it's not just faster but also cheaper to load an SUV up with HDDs and drive them to wherever you wanted to transfer your data?

       

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    ShellMG, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 2:42pm

    Regression

    I don't know whether to laugh or feel sorry for smartphone users.

    Those of us who've suffered with satellite broadband have one thing in common -- we *hate* low caps and bandwidth meters. That service is marketed towards home use, but how the H377 can you hope to stay under the cap when you have kids, especially teenagers? Low caps are to be loathed, despised, insulted, screamed-at and fought at all costs. And the mental toll is FAR more costly than the $80 or whatever a month you're shelling out.

    "Bill Shock" is nothing now. Wait until those "family plans" with thimbles of data at $10 bucks a Gig start becoming widespread. Junior is stuck on the bus 30 minutes each morning and afternoon, so what does he do? He blows through MB's like they're a box of Twinkes. And the parent gets a heart attack when the overcharge warnings start hitting his in-box. Then you get the lectures, the warnings, the whining, the complaining, the "I didn't do it! I wasn't on my phone! I didn't watch that movie! No, I don't use YouTube!!"

    Have fun, kiddies. The online media industry is too late to this ball game to have much say-so when people start getting into the habit of "I'm not going to download that app, I don't think I have the data available."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 3:09pm

    And... just a few weeks later the company announces a (high bandwidth) video on demand offering and set it up so you can't use it over WiFi.

    Ideal result: People go elsewhere for videos so they can use WiFi; money spent developing video on demand service ends up wasted.

    Likely result: More "Person surprised by $30 million phone bill" articles.

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 3:28pm

      Re:

      "money spent developing video on demand service ends up wasted."

      This implies they didn't just setup a webpage and put real effort into a system they knew would rarely be used. Its going to be inefficient with encoding streams because every bit of the data will make them money.

      Use the internet its awesome! Here is just enough bandwith for about 2 hours for the month. Enjoy.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Perhaps this will be good for Sprint, and then I can get better Android devices at a quicker rate like Verizon seems too.

     

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    justin, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 4:28pm

    I use google voice for my voicemail. I never had to set it up b/c google voice takes over and I can delete messages via my email. google voice also transcribes my messages so I acutally have to hear them.

     

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      justin, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 4:30pm

      Re:

      I didnt have to set up the voicemail provided by verizon and I meant I dont have to hear my voicemails, I can just read them and delete.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 4:41pm

    Verizon: Bend over now honey!
    Costumer: Please don't do this again!
    Pirates: Rooooooted! Suck it Verizon I own the handset now.
    Competition: What competition?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 5:01pm

      Re:

      ?

      Ok, so you rooted it. How much did it cost you? Are you breaking the contract? And why is Competition asking "What competition?" when there is evidently no competition?

      Please don't post anymore.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 5:45pm

        Re: Re:

        Using VoIP it won't cost me anything, using meshbased networks it can save me from having to pay Verizon locally.

        F. the contract the handset is mine.

        Please don't post again fool.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    And my wife wondered why I insisted if she got a tablet that it worked on wi-fi only.

    By doing that, I'm sure that I'm not paying any data charges above and beyond my home internet, or my mobile Clearwire "Puck" that we use for mobile use. Obviously if some other kind of service is in the device, a software change or two and suddenly every "good" app on it only uses 3G. Oops.

    Cell phone based data is just outlandish. But then again, so is printer ink if you bought it by the gallon.

    Anything to make a buck.

     

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    darryl, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 5:47pm

    Bandwidth and speed, and requirements.

    It a wonder all you tech heads cant work this out!

    It's not that hard, and Mike, you claim to be an expert in everything internet related.

    It is promoted as a high speed and low latency service, it is that for the simple reason is that they make it more expensive for bulk downloaders to use the LIMITED bandwidth.

    If you allowed everyone to download large files, then it would cease to be a high speed / low lat system, and people who want to surf the web and just check their emails will have to deal with a slower system.

    when your are playing WoW or some online game you are not worried about you cap, you worry about connection speed and latency, it's only the bulk downloaders that do not care about latency and response, or hogging bandwidth that people are willing to pay for, to gain the performance they want.

     

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      brian, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 8:35pm

      Re: Bandwidth and speed, and requirements.

      Hey darryl, if you were allowed to use wi-fi you wouldn't be using their network. In fact you would be SAVING their network from congestion.

       

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      steven, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 9:03pm

      Re: Bandwidth and speed, and requirements.

      Why then do they advertise these services as useful for things like streaming video. How much video can you stream on a 2-5GB a month plan?

      "then it would cease to be a high speed / low lat system, and people who want to surf the web and just check their emails will have to deal with a slower system."

      Then maybe verizon and ATT shouldn't be selling wireless as a viable alternative to wireline internet access or suggesting that it can be used for a broad range of internet activities. ATT, for example, is focused almost entirely on wireless and has essentially ceased build-out of wireline of any kind.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 10:39pm

      Re: Bandwidth and speed, and requirements.

      I'm not even convinced you are capable of comprehending what you think you have read.

       

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    gorehound (profile), Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 8:28pm

    this is why i have a DUMB PHONE.
    my phone has data/text disabled and i will never allow my money to feed the greed of these asses.i have the cheapest plan possible as well.Verizon and others can suck it.

     

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    A Guy, Aug 23rd, 2011 @ 9:07pm

    I have an old smart phone. I've had it since before Sprint required a data connection to activate a smart phone (btw fuck you Sprint I'll be leaving for the competition after 10+ years as a customer when this thing breaks).

    The phone does everything I want it to. Wifi, internal GPS with TomTom installed and a respectable app selection are all I need. I expect as these "(rape)services" are rolled out, more and more people will see the value in completely avoiding wireless data services to begin with.

     

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      Michael Whitetail, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 9:41am

      Re:

      Leaving Sprint?

      Have fun getting raped anywhere else you go!

      I recently looked around at plans, just because Sprint wanted a $10 data premium, and I was not able to find anything via a national carrier that wasn't capped, outrageously priced, or just plain shitty service.

      While I do not like the $10 extra, it sure as hell beats any capped plan hands down. Sometimes you just have to settle for the lesser evil to get (near) what you want....

       

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    kingalekz (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 12:54am

    Compared to Germany 2Gigs is a lot. Yesterday I was searching for a new data plan and they're usually around 200-500MB. Granted, no overage fees after that, they just heavily throttle the speed.

     

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    A. Nnoyed, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 4:19am

    Overhead and updates.

    When you use your voice service you know how many voice minutes you are using. On the other hand customers will not know how data is used by operating system and application updates as well as wireless system overhead. They will not know if they are being charged for data that is used but provides no apparent benefits to the customer. We already know that Verizon was cited for charging customers a mystery fee for data usage even though their handsets had data turned off. If the Wireless ISP's screw their customers enough the outcry might even reach the lawmakers ears even though they are normally filled with ISP's campaign contributions.

     

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    Howard the Duck, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 6:06am

    Mac 128k

    They tell you that very few people use more than 200mb of data/month.

    This number actually changes daily as people discover services and streaming that gobble bandwidth. Still they quote this number like it's static. I remember when PCs had 128k of ram, and that was "more than anyone would need".

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:30am

      Re: Mac 128k

      actually, the quote about ram goes to Bill Gates, and it was 64k of ram. But that is okay.

      Most people use bandwidth only to get mail, update the weather, things like that. It's all very low bandwidth use. There are some people who surf occassionally, and they use a little more.

      I think that they are correct that the average use doesn't use very much bandwidth. I don't expect Techdirt people to be average users, that's all.

       

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    DinDaddy (profile), Aug 24th, 2011 @ 7:44pm

    Business models

    I'm going to start a new airline. All tickets to all destinations will be $50*.







    * Limit 35 lbs per seat*. Overage fees are $1 per pound per mile travelled. Carryon luggage counts towards weight allotment.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2011 @ 9:15pm

    F*cking idiots. No caps and high-speed is the present.

     

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