On August 25 Verizon Wireless is scheduled to launch its Verizon Edge plan that allows qualifying customers to upgrade their phone when 50 percent of the bill is paid off. Customers still enlisted on the company's former unlimited data package made available prior to the Share Everything plans will be excluded unless they ditch the unlimited package for a Share Everything plan.
But what if customers don't want to share data? What if they just need a block of data strictly for themselves and still be able to qualify for Verizon Edge? The Big Red has just the answer: Verizon Max. This plan, launched alongside Verizon Edge in a few days, will provide two tiers: 6 GB of untethered data for $30 per month, and 8 GB of tethered data for $50 per month.
Verizon Max will reportedly be offered for a limited time, though the expiration date is unknown at this time. The new plan will also only be made available to pre-Share Everything unlimited data customers that are signing up for Verizon Edge – no other customers, both new and current, are eligible. This deal isn't too shabby given that normally 2 GB of data would run $30 per month after coming off the unlimited data plan.
"We know millions of customers are excited about Verizon Edge, and we know some of them may be concerned about losing their unlimited data," the company states in an internal memo. "To help these customers take advantage of Verizon Edge and ease their concerns, we are introducing Verizon Max exclusively for them." The memo also shows a charge of $10 per GB over the monthly allowance for both tiers.
During a conference call with analysts after the 2Q 2013 results were released, Verizon Communications CEO Fran Shammo confirmed rumors that the wireless division planned to offer a similar twice-yearly upgrade plan that T-Mobile revealed just weeks prior. "We have a lot of customers in the technology edge that want to upgrade sooner than they would under our historical, legacy, subsidy model, if you will. And we have other customers who don't want to pay upfront for the large cost of the phone," he said.
With the new Max plans, Verizon is essentially dangling new upgrades in the faces of single-line unlimited data customers in hopes of shaking them off the older contacts. Verizon stated last summer that more than 90 percent of Verizon Wireless smartphone or tablet customers use less than 2 GB a month. More specifically, sending 100 emails, visiting 50 web pages and streaming 15 minutes of music every day for an entire month, will use a little more than 1 GB.
In reality, Verizon simply wants to charge customers for going over that average 2 GB limit – whether it's an overage fee or a larger package -- and it can't when they're locked into an unlimited data contract. So what better way to get these single-line customers into a set data limit than to offer the possibility to upgrade every six months, but with a catch.
Still, for a set monthly allowance, 8 GB for $50 per month and the ability to tether without an extra fee doesn't sound too shabby. Given the promotion is for a limited time, does that mean these rates will change after a certain time, or remain consistent throughout the contract? Guess we'll find out next week.