T-Mobile pans Verizon’s Share Everything plans

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 12:14pm
Andrew Berg, Wireless Week

T-Mobile has something to say about the launch yesterday of Verizon's Share Everything data plans, calling the new offerings "costly, complicated and punitive."

Harry Thomas, director of segment marketing for T-Mobile, said in a blog post yesterday that the new plans "extend the old concept of shared minutes and messages."

On the 'costly' point, Thomas argues that the per-device connection fees associated with Verizon's plans actually raise monthly bills for some customers.

Verizon's new plans feature a per-month line access fee that varies by device, as well as a monthly allotment of data. Line access fees start at $40 for smartphones; $30 for a basic phone; $20 for Jetpacks, USBs, Notebooks and Netbooks; and $10 for cellular tablets. Data remains in line with existing pricing structures, starting at $50 for 1 GB and progressing up to $100 for 10 GB of shared data.

"With Verizon’s Share Everything plans, adding a line starts at $30 per month for a basic phone (non-smartphone) and, for accounts with at least one smartphone, requires unlimited minutes whether customers want unlimited or not," Thomas writes. "Verizon is charging more for what consumers want by raising rates on data but is promoting the “value” by pointing to unlimited talk and text, even though today many consumers use less of these services."

Thomas also argues that overage fees are punitive, lobbying instead for T-Mobile's system of throttling, wherein customers’ data speeds are reduced when they have exceeded their monthly allotment.

"At the same time that Verizon is making it harder for customers to manage overages, they are also increasing overage rates from $10/GB to $15/GB for accounts with at least one smartphone," Thomas writes.

When reached for comment, Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said the company welcomes T-Mobile's competition.

"Share Everything Plans offer customers the best value in the wireless industry today and the added value of the nation’s largest 4G LTE network," Raney said to Wireless Week via email.

Raney admitted in an earlier interview that the new plans could be a mixed bag depending on the customer. "Some customers will go up, some customers will go down and some will stay the same."

Some might argue it's unfair to even compare the two carrier's plans. Aside from T-Mobile's practice of throttling, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless offer completely different network technologies. T-Mobile primarily offers HSPA+, while Verizon Wireless has rolled out LTE in approximately 300 markets, covering nearly two-thirds of its 3G footprint. Verizon has committed to more than 400 LTE markets by the end of 2012, with an end goal of offering the service across its entire 3G footprint by the end of 2013.

Verizon's network recently scored fastest in PC Magazine's recent survey of LTE networks, while AT&T and T-Mobile claimed top honors in similar research conducted by PCWorld. The latter study included HSPA+ networks and Sprint's WiMAX network, as well as existing LTE networks.


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