Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from NPI, a spend management consultancy, focused on delivering savings in the areas of IT, telecom, transportation and energy.
You've probably heard about Verizon's plans to change the way they bill for their wireless services. In a landmark move, the nation's largest carrier has announced that it will trade in its traditional phone plans for its "Share Everything" plans that allow customers to share data usage between up to 10 devices (phones, tablets, etc.). Essentially, instead of buying 1000 minutes and getting unlimited text and data, you will now buy a GB of data and get unlimited voice.
This change has been a long time coming. Fundamentally, wireless plans have not changed in the last decade, despite the drastic changes in the way consumers use phones and other devices. Wireless consumers today are more likely to use their devices for text and data, with voice communication representing less than 45% of how a phone is used. By 2015, internet traffic from wireless devices is expected to exceed the volume of traffic from wired devices.
Verizon's announcement signals a re-alignment between usage and payment, and we should expect other carriers to follow suit once the fallout from Verizon's announcement dies down. Speaking of fallout, not everyone is happy with Verizon's decision. Matt Hamblen of Computerworld writes:
The plan will work best for a family with several smartphones or a technology-savvy user with multiple 3G and 4G devices, she (Carrie MacGillivray, an analyst at IDC) said. "The vast majority of consumers have one smartphone and a few Wi-Fi-only devices, including tablets," and they would not necessarily be helped, she said.
MacGillivray said the first adopters of such plans will likely be business users who want to lower connectivity costs by sharing connected devices on a single account.
Even so, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman said Tuesday that business colleagues on separate accounts will still face penalties for ending those separate contracts early if they want to join a Share Everything plan, a move which might reduce any potential savings under the plan.
I agree that data-driven enterprise users are an ideal target for this service. In fact, companies have been able to, on occasion, secure "unofficial" shared plans for fixed-mobile broadband devices. What's new is the official and all-encompassing nature of Verizon's "Share Everything" plan. I think we can expect to see Verizon and other carriers announce similar plans for the enterprise market. Let's hope they address that termination fee issue.
- Matt West, Director of Telecom Services, NPI