Verizon Confirms That Yes, 5G Will Cost You Extra

from the nothing's-shocking dept

By now we've established that while fifth-generation (5G) wireless will result in faster, more resilient networks, the technology has been over-hyped to an almost nauseating degree. Yes, faster, lower latency networks are a good thing, but 5G is not as paradigm-rattling as most wireless carriers and hardware vendors have led many in the press to believe. 5G is more of a useful evolution than a revolution, but it has become the equivalent of magic pixie dust in tech policy circles, wherein if you simply say "it will lead to faster deployment of 5G!" you'll immediately add gravitas to your otherwise underwhelming K Street policy pitch.

Throughout all of the hype, carriers have been really hesitant to discuss what's perhaps the most important question: how much will 5G cost? After all, next-generation connectivity is only going to help boost broadband competition if it's both ubiquitous and affordable, two things the US wireless industry has never really been known for. And now that the carrier lobbyists have effectively convinced the Pai FCC to neuter itself, that question has only become more important.

It's starting to become clear why carriers haven't wanted to much talk about price. AT&T's early offerings haven't been much to write home about. And this week Verizon took the wraps off the pricing for its mobile 5G offerings, noting that consumers will need to pay $10 extra per month across the board if they're interested in using it:

"Verizon has decided to treat its emerging mobile 5G network as a premium service that customers should pay more to access. The company is debuting its mobile 5G network next month at select locations in Chicago and Minneapolis, but customers wishing to use it will need a new phone and a new, costlier plan.

Verizon confirmed its new Mobile 5G service will require a new premium unlimited plan, starting at $85. That is $10 more than Verizon’s current GoUnlimited plan. Customers will also need a Motorola Moto Z3 phone — currently the only model compatible with Verizon’s 5G network, and a special 5G Moto Mod attachment, sold separately."

In other words, 5G will cost you extra. Which isn't surprising if you've watched Verizon at all over the last decade or two.

Granted some will try and claim that Verizon should charge more due to the high costs of 5G deployment. That ignores the fact that US consumers already pay some of the highest prices for 4G LTE mobile data in the developed world. That also ignores that Verizon just nabbed incalculable countless billions from the Trump tax cuts and a litany of policy favors from the FCC, money the company has already acknowledged won't be put back into the network. That money was, if you have a memory, supposed to go toward significant new jobs and network investment, according to Verizon.

Verizon's charging more because it doesn't believe it will be adequately punished by competitors for doing so. And it doesn't worry about competition because while the wireless sector (including T-Mobile) talks a good game, they still usually refuse to seriously compete on price. And with the looming Sprint and T-Mobile merger preparing to reduce the total number of major competitors in the space from four to three, that's not getting better anytime soon.

That brings us to the other major question users should be asking about 5G. In a post net neutrality landscape where the FCC no longer seriously has the authority to hold wireless carriers accountable, what kind of annoying restrictions will be placed on these lines? Verizon (who already charges some "unlimited" data customers more to stream video in HD) hasn't affixed any on these early 5G markets yet, but should the FCC win its looming lawsuit over the net neutrality repeal, all bets are off.

Filed Under: 5g, costs, fees
Companies: verizon


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 6:20am

    Are you arguing for the government fixing pricing of broadband services?

    I can’t quite understand what you are arguing FOR. A broadband industry takeover? Government controller internet access and pricing? Pricing set by YOU?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 6:42am

      Re:

      Exposing predatory pricing doesn't mean calling for government regulation. Just making it known as a bogus charge is a good first step.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:10am

        Re: Re:

        "Exposing predatory pricing doesn't mean calling for government regulation"

        Even if it does, effective regulation doesn't mean what AC thinks it means.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Ok, maybe I am a simpleton in this area. “Predatory Pricing”?

          Isn’t it the mission of EVERY business to charge AS MUCH as possible?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Isn’t it the mission of EVERY business to charge AS MUCH as possible?"

            Yup, apparently it is. Just have a look at pharma bro. Isn't he in jail?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              He is, but sadly not for the act of overcharging on lifesaving medicine.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anon, 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:00am

              Predatory Pricing

              Arguing for or against government regulation is kind of irrelevant when the business exists and has limited competition explicitly because of government controls. Because the government does not allow anyone to put up whatever towers they want, using whatever frequency they want, it is incumbent on the government to ensure those who do resell the limited bandwidth do not charge an excessive amount.

              Presumably, the need for network upgrades should be figured into the price of the existing service already.

              the other problem is - great, faster service? Other than streaming 4K video on devices barely big enough to make HD relevant is more overkill that it is "providing a service"... what good is faster service? The only advantage I see is servicing more clients in a timely manner - ie. service in crowds like sports events.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                NationalizeCellInfrastructure, 18 Mar 2019 @ 9:55am

                Re: Predatory Pricing

                Don't forget the billions in tax-payer payouts to these greedy bastards.
                They were given enough to fully deploy and operate 5G years ago.
                They used all of that up by giving their corporate fucks bonuses.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 1:33pm

                Re: Predatory Pricing

                "Arguing for or against government regulation is kind of irrelevant .."

                Yeah - I was arguing for government control - LOL not.
                But that's ok, please continue.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2019 @ 10:13am

                Re: Predatory Pricing

                This allows for fixed 5g broadband solutions, which for people in rural areas would be a large plus.. I don't think 5g is all about mobile devices.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            To an extent, sure. But, the government sometimes has to step in when corporations are abusing their power. This does not mean price setting or running the business for them, but rather ensuring that the market is fair where normal market forces aren't going to settle themselves. Predatory pricing on utilities fits into that category.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Unfortunately, yes, that is the culture. However, given the criminal lack of competition, markets won't fix anything.

            Further... considering the billions these companies have taken for buildout, without doing any, one may imagine the people, via their hand known as government, might reasonably take an action demanding the money back, buildout without rate increases, setting rates, or some other action.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2019 @ 4:54pm

      Re:

      Tax cuts are corporate welfare, and if you get welfare the government should be able to regulate you. Otherwise you can pony up the full amount, thank you very much.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 6:27am

    I am willing to bet that not only is the "5G" service going up but they will raise the 4G plans too "To help pay for improvements"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:35am

      Re:

      I don't use 4G yet, why do I need 5G.

      Well, I need it because the phone companies tell me that I do - lol.
      Suckers out there paying 2k for a new friggin spy device that spams yer ass with lies and bullshit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pixelation, 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:48am

      Re:

      "I am willing to bet that not only is the "5G" service going up but they will raise the 4G plans too "To help pay for improvements""

      Or, 4G service will suddenly start to degrade forcing people that need it to go to 5G. That will help pay for improvements.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re:

        That's exactly how they got me for 4G - 3G suddenly degraded enough that I couldn't use my old 3G phone but perhaps ten percent of the time. Given they did that to force folks like me to go to 4G, this will be the game plan to force us to 5G in the next few years.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 6:46am

    So what will the new term be?

    As they price themselves out of the reach of many, what will they call them?

    There isn't a cord to cut...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 6:55am

      Re: So what will the new term be?

      How about spectrum pollution? No newcomers can compete with them so long as they own the available spectrum.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 6:57am

    A cellphone tied to a Comcast subscription costs $11 a month.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:14am

    What do 5G providers in other countries charge? Is it considered a premium service in Canada or Mexico? What about in more distant markets like Japan and China?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:48am

      Re:

      "What do 5G providers in other countries charge?"

      The problem is, to make a meaningful comparison, you have to define "5G" first, which is nowhere near done settled yet. It's a marketing term thus far, not something that's settled into an actual definition.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:55am

        Re: Re:

        Thank you! I keep pointing that out.

        Selling "5g" should fall under FTC condemnation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:10am

        Re: Re:

        Okay, so what I'm trying to find out from Techdirt's very global readership is what wireless operators in their country charge for service equivalent to what Verizon is selling as 5g.

        Or are you trying to say that Bode's concern is premature?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, I'm saying that there is no meaningful way of comparing them so far, since there's no globally recognised definition. There may actually not be much similarity between the services at all.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 9:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You can't say "Verizon sells X mbps with Y latency for $85 and you can get something slightly better or worse from country Z for $50? Does the 5G moniker really matter? Isn't performance the most important thing?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 9:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "You can't say "Verizon sells X mbps with Y latency for $85 and you can get something slightly better or worse from country Z for $50?"

              I can, but you're moving the goalposts now. Your original question was about 5G, and the answer to that is that not only has nobody decided on a standard, most countries haven't rolled out their version of it yet.

              Google is available if you need to price compare under whatever criteria you make up in your head, but the above is the answer to the question you asked.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:53am

    And with the looming Sprint and T-Mobile merger preparing to reduce the total number of major competitors in the space from four to three, that's not getting better anytime soon.

    Bode, there is no competition in this market, so please stop whining about the damn merger already.

    Every single wireless company charges the same $69.99/mo for the first account setup, not including special offers.

    That's not competition.

    That's price fixing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:00am

    Cell service in this country is already way too expensive. So why price it higher for 5G. Not unexpected for Verison. I would say, why do you need 5G on your phone anyway? So you can download an app a few seconds faster? I can already stream just fine with current speeds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      Reasons I decided to #Walkaway
      When Hate crimes that were Front Page news became Back Page news if they turned out to be fake.
      When Obama brought up police brutality at the funeral of murdered police officers in Dallas.
      When Marxism is celebrated even though it murdered 100 million people in the last century.
      When identity politics became more valid than having an argument.
      When you can publicly demonize white males to the point of celebrating them becoming “extinct” (literally something a friend told me).
      I’m so happy I walked away and as the Left delves deeper into identify politics and socialism, there’s ZERO chance I’ll be walking back.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 8:16am

      Re:

      So why price it higher for 5G

      Because people are willing to pay more.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 18 Mar 2019 @ 9:19am

    "Blu-ray will cost you more."

    Blu-ray is next to dead 'cause DVD was good enough for most people. And, of course, streaming has replaced both for a lot of people. When HD channels started showing up, they were "extra". When SD was pushed out by HD, the price increases just stayed in place.

    5G pricing is just a permanent, significant price increase for relatively minor technical enhancements.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    jems lion (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 10:32am

    Wireless Technology

    Thank you for shreing the informative article with, I like to share one for source related this topic: https://citygoldmedia.com/category/tech/wireless-mobile/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 12:38pm

      Re: Wireless Technology

      Interesting article. I found the vlan section interesting. I did something similar with my WAPs but never thought about it on cellular. I like how it talks about how infrastructure will be far cheaper and Verizon is raising their rates.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 2:37pm

    Then lets add the caps...

    aND CUT YOU DONW TO 4G, THEN TO 3G..
    (sorry, hand needs operation)

    Its the same as what they have NOW.. Go watch that movie at 1080, and find out how many you will get in 1 month, before they CUT YOU BACK..

    To bad they dont do this to Phone calls for 15 year old girls..
    Or those in cars/trucks, and other uses to GET OFF THE PHONE, PAY ATTENTION, BUS turns corner and idiot Yaking away on the phone gets hit..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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