Verizon's McAdam: Family data plans coming in 2012

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) expects to offer data plans for multiple devices sometime in 2012, according to Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam, fulfilling hints that Verizon executives have given about such plans this year.

Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam


McAdam said that customers who are dealing with four or five screens--smartphones, tablets and USB modems for laptops and the like--do not want to pay for all of those devices on separate bills, and neither does Verizon. "I think in 2012 we will see it," McAdam said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. "We have been working on this for a couple of years. Getting to one bill and getting to account-level pricing is our goal."

McAdam did not provide specifics on how such plans would work. Executives from AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) have hinted at such plans as well.

Most wireless users currently are able to share voice minutes across different phones and users via family plans. However, most wireless carriers currently tally data usage on an individual, per-device basis. Pooled, or shared, family data plans could allow mutiple users, and multiple devices, to pull from the same shared pot of data.

At the conference McAdam also discussed Verizon Wireless' plan to spend $3.6 billion to buy SpectrumCo's AWS spectrum licenses. The deal will allow Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to resell Verizon's services and products and for Verizon to sell the cable companies' products. McAdam said Verizon wanted the spectrum because it was a "hand in glove" opportunity, and the AWS holdings are west of the Mississippi River, complementing Verizon's East Coast AWS holdings and giving Verizon more LTE capacity.

McAdam said that Verizon and the cable companies want to work together to provide seamless video experiences, including content and video conferencing, across smartphones, tablets, TVs and PCs. "The cross-selling of services is just a way to get those products into the marketplace," he said. He said the first products coming from the partnership will likely arrive in the second half of next year and evolve over time. Additionally, he said if the cable companies decide to operate as MVNOs of Verizon, it would be an added cost and effort for them, but he said it would be profitable for all of the parties involved.

Additionally, McAdam talked about Isis, the mobile commerce joint venture among Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile USA. He said there will be a "significant" market rollout by the end of 2012 and that it will become a revenue stream in 2013.

For more:
- see this webcast

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