1081RA Verizon Shared Data Plan Signals Carrier Business Model Change
Author: Bruce Guptill
Verizon Wireless rolled out its anticipated “shared data” plan this week. The plan, which emphasizes tiered data usage pricing that can be distributed among multiple user devices on the same account, is set to go into effect over the coming weeks. Much like when ATT Wireless announced its own tiered plan two years ago, debate has begun among consumer groups, public utility advocates, and media regarding the perceived fairness and costs of such a plan.
What interests Saugatuck most about the Verizon plan is that it signals what the ATT plan implied: a fundamental shift in wireless carriers’ business models and strategy. We see Verizon’s core business proposition of this new plan as data first, with voice and text messaging “thrown in;” in other words, voice and texting become subsumed into data-first plans. This is a complete pricing and business model shift from traditional wireless carrier strategy.
Really, it is a tipping point / watershed event in the evolution and use of mobile technology and carrier business models, i.e., from telephony to data streams. The applications for which wireless networks were conceived and built – voice and text (machine) messaging – have become afterthoughts, while data streams become the critical revenue generator, and the driving force of the new carrier business model.