Don't expect Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) to join its rivals in offering a rollover data plan, according to Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo.
"We're a leader, not a follower," he told CNET in an interview on Thursday after Verizon reported fourth-quarter earnings. Over the past two months three carriers have launched rollover data features to spice up their offerings and reward existing subscribers.
C Spire Wireless kicked off the trend in November when it launched a rollover data offering. Under C Spire's plans, any unused data from the previous month will be rolled over to the next month for sharing among all users up to the plan's included monthly data allotment. C Spire noted that unlike other carriers it does not force consumers to use up data in their existing plans before getting access to rollover data, and it does not eliminate any unused rollover data at the end of each month. Instead, rollover data can be accumulated, shared and used among all individuals on a plan up to the plan's included monthly data amount.
Then in mid-December T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) debuted its plan, called "Data Stash," which is available to T-Mobile subscribers on an eligible postpaid Simple Choice plan who have purchased at least 3 GB of LTE data for smartphones or at least 1 GB for tablets per month.
Additionally, T-Mobile is giving every customer with Data Stash 10 GB of LTE data for free. T-Mobile said that customers' data won't start carrying over until after the free 10 GB runs out. The free 10 GB is available until Dec. 31, 2015. The company said it will bring the feature to prepaid customers soon. T-Mobile said customers will lose their unused data after one year from when it is deposited into their Data Stash.
AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) followed suit in early January, announcing it will offer rollover data to customers starting Jan. 25. AT&T will offer rollover data to all new and current customers on AT&T's Mobile Share Value shared data plans for free. AT&T said it currently has more than 50 million Mobile Share Value customers.
AT&T subscribers on those plans will be able roll over their unused, shareable plan data in any given month and use it within the next month. Within a given month, customers will use their data plan allotment first, before they begin using Rollover Data. However, the unused data expires if it is not used within the next month.
Shammo noted to CNET that after AT&T introduced the concept of rollover voice minutes in 2007 Verizon did not follow its competitor. The Verizon finance chief reiterated comments he made during the company's earnings conference call in which he noted that Verizon will not be competing for what it deems low-value customers who are leaving the carrier just based on price.
"We did not go to places where we did not financially want to go to save a customer," he said. "And there's going to be certain customers who leave us for price, and we are just not going to compete with that because it doesn't make financial sense for us to do that."
Verizon added a little fewer than 2 million postpaid subscribers in the fourth quarter, but also saw churn jump and its margins drop amid rising competition and more promotions. Verizon gained 1.5 million LTE smartphone customers but also lost 828,000 feature phone and 3G smartphone customers.
- see this CNET article
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T-Mobile launches rollover data program, gives customers 10 GB for free to start
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