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Verizon is desperate to convince us that unlimited data plans are dead

Published Mar 9th, 2016 11:15PM EST
Verizon Vs ATT Unlimited Data Plans

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With even AT&T bringing back unlimited data plans on a limited basis, does this mean Verizon will soon cave and bring back unlimited data plans in some form? Sadly, you shouldn’t count on it. Via DSLReports, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told attendees at an investor conference this week that there is no way his company will ever offer unlimited plans again because the economics of unlimited data just don’t work.

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“I’ve been pretty public saying the unlimited model does not work in an LTE environment,” Shammo said. “Unlimited is a very short-term game in the LTE market. Eventually unlimited is going to go away because you have to generate cash to reinvest.”

This is a little strange because all of Verizon’s major rivals offer unlimited data plans in some form and they don’t seem to have problems finding enough cash to invest in network upgrades. As I’ve noted in the past, data caps like the ones Verizon uses are a crock that aren’t necessary for proper network management and that only serve to boost carriers’ wireless margins.

And of course, as DSLReports points out, Verizon has been happy to exempt its own video streaming service Go90 from its own data caps, which means that the carrier doesn’t mind when users watch a lot of video on its network as long as they’re doing so through Verizon’s own application.

None of this is all that surprising. Verizon has long been the most resistant to change in the wireless industry and has lagged behind other carriers when it comes to initiatives such as ditching two-year contracts and offering to pay off rivals’ early termination fees. Verizon might get dragged back to offering unlimited data someday but it won’t go without a lot of kicking and screaming.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.