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.

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Companies: verizon wireless

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Comments on “Verizon Moneymaking Plans: Low Bandwidth Caps + New High Bandwidth Services = Profits?”

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A Dan (profile) says:

Re: 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.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

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.

PlagueSD says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

ShellMG (profile) says:


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.”

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

darryl says:

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.

steven says:

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.

A Guy says:

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.

Michael Whitetail says:

Re: 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….

A. Nnoyed (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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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