Maybe the biggest wireless carrier in the United States is just not a fan of unlimited data. Speaking at an investors conference recently held this week, Fran Shammo, the chief financial officer of Verizon Wireless, reiterated this position regarding unlimited plans. And despite the fact that other major wireless carriers in the US (namely AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint) have once again courted the idea of offering unlimited data options, Shammo made it clear that the Big Red will not be joining in on the fun.
The last few months have seen mobile operators announcing or re-introducing unlimited data plans. T-Mobile and Sprint, for instance, have debuted new unlimited data options, but are notably reducing the resolution of video content in order to better manage their respective network connection speeds. AT&T, meanwhile, has chosen to offer its unlimited data plan bundled with its DirecTV video feature.
For years, wireless carriers have been talking about the cost related challenges of offering unlimited data, but these recent offers seem to indicate that the mobile operators are reversing their stand. Except for the industry leader, of course. Shammo remains adamant that in a world of unlimited video content access, it is practically impossible for carriers to achieve sustainable revenue streams.
Shammo also took the opportunity to comment that unlike rival carriers, Verizon Wireless’ plans allow mobile users to tether other devices to their handset and gain access to high speed data with zero artificial throttling. T-Mobile’s unlimited plan, T-Mobile One, on the other hand, slaps an additional fee for access to high resolution video as well as the ability to tether at high connection speeds (because users can only tether at 512 kbps, which is way below most 4G connection speeds of today).
Moreover, Shammo pointed out that the mobile users with heavy data usage needs who avail of unlimited data plans have the tendency to abuse them, causing network overload and ending up affecting other subscribers. Still, Shammo did qualify that despite having no plans offering unlimited data options, Verizon Wireless does monitor its rivals’ moves, and will counter them if deemed necessary.
With regards to iPhone 7 sales, Shammo is not that excited, at least not as much as T-Mobile and Sprint. According to him, despite some impressive initial numbers, iPhone sales will ultimately be similar to last year’s, and will likely not exceed the record figures managed by the iPhone 6 devices a couple of years ago. Sure, the Verizon CFO concedes that the company itself has experienced a bump in iPhone sales, but it has more to do with the free iPhone promos (plus the trade in deals) than actual mind blowing demand. When the promos end, sales will likely be nothing out of the ordinary (by iPhone standards).
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