Verizon Charging You More, As Bandwidth Costs Them Less

from the caps-and-pap dept

As we just recently discussed, broadband providers appear to finally be willing to give up their pretend need for data caps due to the pretend costs of delivering service. The story they told essentially was that, without data caps, congestion would clog the interwebz tubes and that laying bigger tubes was way too costly. Perhaps noteably, this rarely resulted in actual hard caps on data, but rather provided a convenient excuse to charge more for more data service, regardless of the effect or cost of delivering that service.

Now Verizon's 4G LTE money-making machine is giving us a glimpse into exactly how profitable providing bandwidth is becoming as the cost for delivering service drops and prices to consumers go up.
Verizon (VZ) posted a pretty impressive holiday quarter (one-time charges aside) with a good outlook on Tuesday, and the company’s share price rose as a result. There were also plenty of interesting takeaways from the carrier’s earnings call, but The New York Times’ Brian X. Chen zeroed in on one item of particular interest. Verizon launched new “Share Everything” plans last summer that make smartphone data more expensive for many users. The best thing about these plans for investors — and, not coincidentally, the worst thing about the plans for subscribers — is that Verizon is now making more money off of smartphone data as costs associated with transmitted that data are falling.
It really doesn't get much simpler than that. The 4G LTE network is efficient to the point that delivering the service costs less than the 3G network, yet the price to consumers is going up. To be clear, the problem here isn't that Verizon is making money. Rather, the problem is that this comes from the same company that built a business model around low caps and high overage costs while also claiming that caps were the sign of a "competitive market." For those of you playing along at home, it's precisely because of a lack of competition that Verizon can at once have its costs drop while raising prices on its services. Were there more competition, someone new would compete on price or value of service. As it stands, Verizon can use their faster service and low caps to further the aforementioned business model.
As an added bonus, Chen noted that Verizon’s faster data networks also cause users to eat through their data allowances more quickly. This eventually prompts them to buy more expensive plans with higher data caps, which of course net Verizon even more cash.
As a Verizon customer myself, these kinds of signs that there isn't enough competition for my dollar are quite frustrating. On top of that, the model is specifically designed to provide a great service and then drop a bunch of obstacles in its path... it's maddening.
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Filed Under: broadband, charges, costs, data caps, metered broadband, pricing
Companies: verizon


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jan 2013 @ 8:32am

    I was never fortunate enough to have an "unlimited" plan. A friend I have has one with ATT that he is also "holding onto for dear life" but also reports to me that he gets throttled a LOT.
    My wife has a iPhone4S and I have an iPhone5. We moved to the all share plan last summer as it made sense for us to share data being they thru in voice min and messages at unlimited.
    The plan we chose was the least expensive (2G) and we have NEVER gone over cap yet.
    At home its WiFi at work its WiFi and so its only during the short times in the car or while traveling to visit family (who have WiFi once we get there) that we actually use any of this allowance anyway.
    I think with "creative" use a smaller cap level they still make their cash but its as painless as possible for me.
    My only other choice would be ATT and that would require us BOTH to purchase new phones.

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