Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) confirmed it is offering "loyalty" plans to customers in good standing in an attempt to ensure they remain with the carrier. Although Verizon declined to provide details on the exact offers it is making, evidence indicates the plans generally provide unlimited voice and texting and 2 GB of data for around $60 per month.
"There are loyalty plans out there that are offered to customers in good standing in various situations," Verizon spokeswoman Debi Lewis wrote in response to questions from FierceWireless, adding that the plans are only available to customers who have had a long-term relationship with the carrier, who haven't missed payments and who agree to some kind of service contract. "It's not something we actively market, rather something our teams use in certain situations."
Based on news articles and postings to Verizon's customer service portal, it appears that the carrier's smartphone loyalty plan includes a number of caveats including no support for smartphone hotspot functions and overage charges of around $10-$15 per GB. Customers must also sign a one-year service contract, but are still eligible for a new phone upgrade. It appears that the details of the plan change depending on when it's offered and who it's offered to.
It's unclear when Verizon began offering the $60 per month loyalty plan. "We've had programs like this in place for a while--terms may change, but we always try to work with our long-time, loyal customers," Lewis wrote, without providing details.
Verizon's $60 loyalty plan appears to represent a significant discount to what the carrier publicly offers. Under its Share Everything plans, unlimited talking and texting and 2 GB of data would cost a single user $100.
It's worth noting that Verizon's loyalty plans are comparable to T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) plans, which offer unlimited talking and texting and 2.5 GB for $60. T-Mobile recently began offering to pay customers' early termination fees if they switch to T-Mobile service, and Verizon's loyalty plans could represent a way for Verizon's customer service agents to counter that offer and retain customers.
Indeed, T-Mobile's actions appear to have sparked a wider pricing war among wireless carriers. For example, AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) recently cut prices on its higher-end Mobile Share shared data plans: AT&T customers who sign up for four smartphones with unlimited voice, texting and 10 GB of data will now pay $160 per month, or $40 less than AT&T's old plan at that level.
To be clear, Verizon appears to be relatively unaffected by the recent price reductions from T-Mobile, AT&T and others. Verizon reported 1.7 million net new customer additions in the fourth quarter.
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