updated 11:05 am EST, Tue January 25, 2011
Verizon exec says iPhone gets 30 unlimited data
(Update: temporary) Verizon Wireless chief Lowell McAdam in a quick update confirmed leaks that the iPhone and other smartphones would be driven to the $30 unlimited smartphone plan. Keeping unlimited would make it easier for customers who signed up with AT&T after its 2GB cap imposition to jump to Verizon at the next opportunity, he said. The soon-to-be company CEO argued to the WSJ that it would be foolish to cap plans as the iPhone arrived and reduce the incentive to switch.
"I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot," McAdam said.
The strategy will also be a way of raising the average revenue per person at the network. Leaks have shown the carrier is about to drop its $15, 150MB plan. While criticized for being too small, it would also have lowered the price for very casual data use. AT&T users can pay much more if they go over the 2GB cap but will pay about $5 less per month if they stay under and have the option of a 250MB basic plan.
He further acknowledged that demand for the Verizon iPhone was enough to have sparked an Osborne effect among customers. Despite public non-denials in which the carrier hoped would get customer to buy as usual, many customers assumed the iPhone was coming to the network and skipped buying Android and BlackBerry devices during the fall. Although some investors liked news of the 955,000 new subscribers added during the period, McAdam considered it disappointing as it meant lost potential sales.
"It wasn't what I hoped it would be," he explained.
Until it had confirmed an iPhone deal, Verizon had lashed itself almost exclusively to Android in the hopes of countering the success AT&T has had with the Apple handset. HTC, Motorola and Samsung devices using Android have become the dominant devices but have mostly been cannibalizing BlackBerry subscribers and only rarely attract customers from other carriers. Overall subscriber additions have slowed down at Verizon in the past year even as AT&T's have gone up.
Update: In a follow-up, McAdam said the unlimited data would be temporary and that Verizon would move to tiered pricing soon after. No leaks have emerged of what that would involve, but it's doubtful the $15 150MB plan will return.