Verizon exec quiets tiered data pricing rumor

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will not switch its 3G data pricing plans to a tiered, usage-based model before it launches its LTE network, a top executive indicated, putting to a rest a rumor that had sprung up about a potential switch.

"You have not seen us rush out to make any kind of a change," Verizon Communications CFO John Killian said during Verizon's earnings conference call Friday, when questioned whether Verizon will follow AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) to a tiered-pricing approach. "We will continue to monitor the situation, of course, and look at opportunities that will say what is the best equation for us to drive long-term shareholder value, and we will be very focused on that. I cannot say enough, though, about the opportunity we see ahead given where we are today with smartphone penetration."

Killian said the wireless carrier is seeing enormous benefits from its smartphone lineup, especially its selection of phones running Google's Android platform, such as the Motorola (NYSE:MOT) Droid X. Verizon added 665,000 lucrative retail postpaid customers in the second quarter, outpacing rival AT&T's 496,000.

Earlier this month Engadget reported, citing an unnamed source, that Verizon was preparing to launch tiered data plans for its 3G data network.

AT&T in early June replaced its unlimited smartphone data plans with two tiers: 200 MB for $15 per month and 2 GB for $25 per month.

However, Verizon may well rely on tiered pricing for its forthcoming LTE service. In June, Killian indicated the company will change its pricing plans when Verizon launches LTE in 25-30 commercial markets later this year. "We will probably need to change the design of our pricing where it will not be totally unlimited, flat rate," he said at the time.

For more:
- see this ZDNet article
- see this AP article

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