ACG Research

ACG Research
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

VZW Gets Personal with Its New Multidevice Plans

Verizon’s new mobile plans reflect the reality of today’s mobile user:  old Telco was one home, one telephone.  That model got extended to one person, one phone, but that is “so, so” 2010.  Today’s users are multidevice users:  phones, tablets, and PCs.  It was only a matter of time before we would start seeing simplified multidevice plans come to market. 

What the vast majority of users, let’s say 95 percent, are not are the power users consuming 5, 10 of 5Gb of data a month. So, the tiers make a lot of sense.  1Gb is more than enough for most causal mobile users, even with tablets, and it gives those users a sense of security that they won’t get hit with overage charges.  2Gb for only $10 more provides not just double the cell data allotment but for even relatively heavy social users breathing room for their consumption.  And, of course, unlimited voice and texting add to the sense of security users have in knowing what their monthly bill will be.

The users who will not be happy with these new plans are what I call the 5% users:  those heavy multimedia users that disproportionately overload the network.  If they don’t change their ways, these plans will likely be very expensive for them.  The good news is that it is increasingly easy for these users to make simple changes to their online behavior and not incur massive mobile bills: using WiFi.

Verizon, and the other operators, are looking to shift the data load from cellular to WiFi with these plans.  Users adapt their behavior very quickly, and these plans will focus users on better utilizing WiFi where available.  Considering that we believe that over 70 percent of most users’ time is spent within range of a WiFi network, it should not be that hard for even heavy users to find a connection that does not consume their data quota.  The challenge for the operators is how to build out their SP WiFi networks to keep up with demand.

Just as family plans pooled voice minutes for multiple users Verizon Wireless has expanded the concept slightly to apply to a single user with multiple devices.  It makes a lot of sense, it is pretty easy to understand, and it is about time.

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Chris Nicoll 

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