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Verizon continues charging unlimited data customers for NFL access that others get for free
On Friday, the NFL announced that all postseason games, including the 2015 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX, would be streamed live online and on mobile devices exclusively for Verizon Wireless customers with a MORE Everything Plan. Those without a MORE Everything Plan will need to purchase an NFL Mobile premium subscription for $5/month.
Verizon is able to offer such a deal after they signed a $1B extension with the NFL before the 2014 season which allowed for Verizon customers to stream all CBS and Fox in-market Sunday afternoon games to mobile phones (therefore regular blackout rules apply).
Essentially, Verizon is continuing their tradition of discriminating against unlimited data customers for no reason other than wanting to push those customers onto Verizon’s more expensive and data capped plans with overages included.
In October of last year, Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler wrote a letter to Verizon asking why unlimited data customers were going to be throttled even though everyone other Verizon customer would not.
Verizon responded by giving the typical “We are looking out for other customers” answer that implies that unlimited data customers are bogging down their network. Granted, there is absolutely no evidence of this but Verizon states it often. If Verizon was so desperate to stop customers from “abusing” their network, why aren’t shared data customers throttled when at high amounts as well?
In fact, when Verizon isn’t discussing unlimited data customers, they are routinely pounding their chest about the reliability of their network and the spectrum space that they have for future LTE enhancements. But since Verizon was at one point charging customers $15 per GB over their data caps, it isn’t hard to see why Verizon wanted to keep high overages (which have since decreased substantially) in place.
Over the last five years, wireless carriers have seen revenues for SMS and voice minutes drop dramatically. This has caused the carriers to rush and find a cash replacement. Hence why Verizon and other carriers are pushing so hard to get customers off their unlimited data plan and onto a metered data plan.
As we have previously discussed, AT&T/Verizon have both tried every trick in the book to push customers off their unlimited data plans. Want a subsidized handset?You’re off unlimited. Want Internet video apps to actually work? You’re off unlimited. Interested in moving? Want to use AT&T’s insurance plans? You’re off unlimited. To be fair, both carriers have since slightly eased off a number of their absurd restrictions.
Verizon was deemed to be the most successful in getting users to migrate to shared data, according to a study by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. According to the report, just 22% of Verizon users remain on grandfathered unlimited plans, compared to 44% for AT&T and 78% for both Sprint and T-Mobile.
The bottom line is that Verizon wants to find additional sources of revenue from the same network. As the FCC Chairman told Verizon in his letter to them, why is Verizon basing its “networking management” on a consumers data plan rather than on the network technology?