On Wednesday Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam said that he expects to see some form of shared data plans being offered on Verizon Wireless by sometime next year. This is definitely good news to Verizon customers who typically shell out $30 per month for a data plan on each phone. Shared data would essentially allow family members to use one pool of data for one monthly price, mimicking Verizon's current shared minutes plans.
"I think in 2012 we’ll see it," McAdam said. "We’ve been working on this for a couple of years, frankly."
He also pointed out that some customers have four or five devices on one individual plan, and that neither the customer nor Verizon wants to keep up with individual data accounts, especially those who have switched over to 2 GB, 5 GB and 10 GB monthly plans. "It drives them crazy and it would raise our costs a lot," he added. "Getting to one bill and having account-level pricing is the right way to go."
In addition to shared data, he also talked about the possible decline in revenue stemming from a drop in SMS use. Now that consumers are relying heavily on third-party voice and data-messaging applications, they're doing less texting and picture sending. It hasn't become a major concern at this point, but he noted that a decline "has already started to happen in some European countries."
"We haven’t seen as much of it on our side, frankly, but I think it is going to come," McAdam said. "It’s kind of like long distance and the other stuff you saw fade away."
He also predicts a continual shift away from feature phones and into smartphones. High-end devices with prices higher than the $199 entry-level iPhone 4S price point will likely remain in Verizon's horizon given that they're actually selling quite well..
"To me, the issue is 'are we going to have the applications that justify it?' And if we do, then I think we will be fine," he said.