Verizon’s COO Lowell McAdam said today that his company is going to offer customers who get an Apple iPhone 4 an unlimited data plan for $30 a month. However, this offer won’t last long, and later customers will have to choose from tiered data plans.
When Apple’s smartphone debuts on this carrier in a few weeks, they will have to get or extend a wireless service contract that includes unlimited data for $29.99. A voice plan will also be a requirement.
In contrast, AT&T does not give its iPhone customers an unlimited data option. Instead it offers a choice of two plans: one costs $25 a month and provides 2 GB of data. The second gets the user 200 MB of data transfers in a month for $15.
Verizon’s advantage won’t last forever, though. Lowell McAdam warned that the unlimited data plan will only be available temporarily. At some point in the future, it is going to switch to tiered pricing, just as AT&T did last year.
The Data Equivalent of a Big Gulp
When AT&T dropped its unlimited data plans last January, the carrier said it made this move to save a majority of its customers money. According to its records, at that time, 98% of its subscribers used less that 2 GB of data a month. The remaining small group used a much larger than average amount.
Unlike its larest rival, Verizon has not run into significant problems with its subscribers overwhelming the capacity of its data network, but the announcment that tiered data plans are in the offering is a strong indication that the carrier is concerned it might happen.
This concern is likely related to its expected rush of new iPhone 4 users. Some analysts are predicting that this carrier is going to sell millions of units of Apple’s smartphone, and these customers are typically higher than average users of data.