Verizon's initial Share Everything launch generates confusion - Top Turkeys 2012

Tools

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) stirred up a hornet's nest of confusion when it unveiled its new Share Everything shared plans in mid-June. New smartphone customers are required to purchase one of the plans and grandfathered "unlimited" data plan customers have to do so as well if they want to obtain a new smartphone at a subsidized price. Existing customers can keep the same usage-based data pricing plans if they upgrade though. The Share Everything plans charge a base fee of $40 per month for a smartphone with unlimited voice and messaging, and then increase in price as customers add on more devices and larger buckets of data, which can be shared with up to 10 devices.

Existing customers felt that they were being forced onto the new plans. Others were concerned they would have to pay more under the plans. 

The day after the plans were announced, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were awash in angry comments as customers vented their frustrations. Verizon's efforts to quell consumer discomfort were not aided by articles such as one in Forbes titled, "Verizon declares war on moderate data and text users," while CNET wrote that "Verizon's shared data plan is a raw deal."

Verizon defended the new plans, noting it interviewed 50,000 customers regarding their opinions and announced the changes well in advance of their implementation to give current and potential customers ample time to absorb the changes. But as late as September research firms were still reporting wariness about the plans

Verizon could have handled the rollout better and made the changes clearer, especially to existing customers. However, because new smartphone customers and those who wanted to upgrade to a subsidized device need to switch to Share Everything, Verizon said that by the end of September more than 13 percent of its customer base was on the new plans.