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Verizon Wireless CEO Daniel Mead.  (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
Big Red iPhone 4 launch could have lower-than-expected impact on carrier

Newly appointed Verizon Wireless CEO Daniel Mead spoke with The Wall Street Journal recently about his vision for the future of his company and the wireless industry, which includes the possibility of "metered pricing" for data, and a shared-data family plan option.

"We have not moved in terms of unlimited for consumers in the $30 price point. Some day we may consider metered pricing. We haven't made any final decisions there yet," Mead, who took over as CEO in October, told WSJ.

When asked whether he would consider family plan pricing for data, Mead responded, "We've shared voice minutes and text messages for the family. I think it's fully in the realm of possibility in the not-to-distant future to be able to start thinking through the options ... That's a vehicle to get there." He called it "account-level pricing."

Throughout the interview, Mead talked about LTE ("It is a very practical and encouraging substitution for DSL, particularly when you look at rural markets.") and the future of mobile devices ("I think the world for the next few years is going to be more around tablets and smartphones.") He also mentioned that he felt as if Verizon was hitting "another growth spurt" and was thinking about 300- to-400-percent market penetration (meaning three to four devices per person).

Meanwhile, according to new sales numbers released by ITG Investment Research, Android demolished RIM's Blackberry sales at Verizon over the last year. In October 2009, RIM's smartphone share of Verizon sales peaked at above 90 percent. Since the launch of multiple Android phones from the likes of HTC, Motorola, and Samsung, RIM's share has plummeted to just 19 percent. Devices powered by the Android OS now make up 80 percent of all smartphones sold at Verizon, which does not bode well for RIM.

"The [RIM] decline is led by the lack of a Storm refresh, dwindling sales of the Tour/Bold series, and a failure of the new Curve 3G to yet replace diminishing sales of the Curve 8530," an ITG representative said. 

But LTE and iPhone 4 speculation could actually hurt Verizon in the busy holiday season. ITG expects it to be a slow one, "owing to an expected launch of the iPhone and 4G LTE handsets" in the coming months. Potential shoppers could be holding out for the newer devices set to launch in the first quarter of 2011.

And the new sales numbers show that if an iPhone 4 is released on Verizon's network next year, it could have a low impact compared to what analysts previously predicted. The devices that perform best are the ones that are frequently being rolled out and refreshed, as evidenced by the figures, than those that are static and see yearly refreshes. This approach is evident in the recent success of Motorola, which has steadily rolled out updated Android phones.

"Given the fact that the two latter smartphones [Motorola Etna and HTC Droid Incredibly HD] will connect to Verizon Wireless' new LTE network, and the fact that quite a few Apple fans will wait for the iPhone 5, we think the iPhone 4 would primarily cater to those who are currently buying mid-range smartphones such as the LG Vortex," the folks over at InfoSync write. This prediction is bolstered by the fact that Steve Jobs recently told investors the iPhone would see slimmer margins moving forward.


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By ChipDude on 12/13/2010 11:05:49 AM , Rating: 3
Take a look at SPRINT, best value plan around. They charge extra for 4G but if you area got it it rocks!

I was worried with the bad rating sprint has but for the last 2 years has been good so I stayed with them. 4 smartphones on family plan totally saves major $ compared to what ATT and Verizon offer. In this economy that adds to serious bucks!


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