Verizon gives boost to mobile devicesThe US carriers have discussed data sharing plans for the past few years, but Verizon finally took the step to implement a plan that will allow users to share data between multiple users and devices.
Verizon announced plans to drop existing plans in favor of a data sharing plan that allows users to share data between devices starting at a price of $50 for 1GB, $60 for 2GB, and an additional 2GB for every $10 increment.
The plan allows for the connection of up to 10 devices with charges ranging from $10 for tablets to $40 for smartphones to add to the plan and does not charge for tethering, which allows users to avoid the charge of connecting some devices to the plan.
Other carriers, particularly AT&T, which has a concerted effort to connect data devices to the company’s network, has not responded to Verizon’s move, but will likely do so shortly in response to competitive pressures.
The move to data sharing plans is not just a boost for consumers, it is the wild card in many forecasts for mobile devices like tablets.
For the past three years, I have maintained that my mobile device forecasts are often hindered by the contract requirements of wireless carriers. With the transition to shared data plans combined with some very innovative devices like Windows 8 ultrabooks and tablets scheduled for introduction during the latter half of the year, all current device forecasts may be obsolete.
As long as economic conditions do not drag down business and consumer sentiment, the transition could easily add an additional 15 percent or more to US device projections for 2012 and potentially 30 percent in 2013. After recent disappointments in technology sales, the boost will be welcomed gift by device OEMs, as well as the rest of the electronics ecosystem.
The transition will also mark a new level of competition in the battle between devices. Consumers are much more likely to connect more, if not all their devices, to the wireless network rather than prioritizing with the smartphone being the only consistent winner.
In addition, companies with a lead in new product areas and integrated baseband modems are likely to benefit for the change, such as Apple the iPad. PCs OEMs that integrate baseband functionality into notebook PCs and ultrabooks are also likely to gain an advantage in the market.
And, an additional boost for consumers will be in the pending price war between carriers when the other carriers jump into the fray later this year. So, in the end, this is a long overdue strategy change that is likely to benefit all parties. The only potential downside is the added network traffic that Verizon and the other wireless carriers will be required to handle with the onslaught of new network connected devices, but having too much demand is always a good problem to face.