Verizon CEO says unlimited data plans simply aren't feasible

By on September 24, 2013, 2:00 PM
verizon, lte, verizon ceo, lowell mcadam, unlimited data plans

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam had some interesting comments to share with investors during a recent conference call. Among them was the admission that unlimited data plans just aren’t feasible as you eventually “run out of gas” due to the limited amount of spectrum available.

Both Verizon and AT&T – the nation’s top two wireless providers – have done away with unlimited data in recent years. Rivals T-Mobile and Sprint continue to offer unlimited options with Sprint going as far as to guarantee the service for life. That’s a pretty bold offering, especially if McAdam’s belief that bandwidth-hogging video will make it difficult for carriers to sustain unlimited plans proves true.

The CEO said Verizon never has and never will lead on price, promising not to stoop to Sprint’s level with regard to an unlimited data plan for life. Instead, the executive touted his company’s LTE offering as being about a year ahead of AT&T and three to four years ahead of T-Mobile and Sprint.

These sticking points could be used to brush off recent attempts by the smaller carriers to undercut the big boys in pricing. It’s something that McAdam doesn’t believe will lead to a price war, however.

Elsewhere, McAdam touched on BlackBerry going private and Microsoft purchasing Nokia. He hoped the BlackBerry deal would give the company a boost and was optimistic that Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia would lead to devices with quality software and hardware.




User Comments: 29

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2 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Of course unlimited data is impossible. As soon as plans are unlimited with decent speeds (like 4G) people would cancel their broadband, sign up for hotspot services, and a large portion of Netflix and P2P traffic would move to cell towers. The towers could never keep up the speed in those circumstances.

JC713 JC713 said:

You're not feasible Lowell :P lol.

psycros psycros said:

No way to offer unlimited data, huh? Well, then I guess they can't promise ANYTHING then, including their advertised speeds. Its all the same network - if you can't manage it one way then you aren't managing it at *all*, now are you? Fortunately I'm here to save you, Verizon, because you CAN do unlimited data quite easily by simply limiting the *speed* of connections. Stop selling a bucket of 4G bits with false advertising about your LTE speeds and start selling *bandwidth* like terrestrial ISPs do. Charge plenty for top-end 4G speed - the status seekers will pay it happily. Everyone else will opt for 3G because its plenty fast enough for 95% of mobile users. You'll make MORE MONEY and be able to serve a wider swath of customers more efficiently. See, not so hard after all.

1 person liked this | Tygerstrike said:

I call BS on his statement!! Most ppl just want the peace of mind to use data without paying through the nose. It is possible and both Sprint and Tmoble prove it. What Verizon is really saying is that they just want money. The internet is so ingrained into our daily lives that putting a cap on its use is just these companies trying to get even more money out of its customers. I know the MYTH is that most ppl dont use more then 2GB in any month. The REALITY is they only use that little because if they do it costs tons of cash. Verizon needs to remove its corporate head from its corporate ass and realize that CUSTOMERS make a business. If Sprint drops its price by even $10 Verizon will lose a ton of customers because the deal would be too sweet to pass up. Then again its a cellphone company, they PUNISH thier customers by locking them into a 2yr contract and force you to pay when you break it. I feel Verizon needs a wake up call. There is a rather large switch to prepaid phones now. If they are not careful the contracted cellphone providers could find themselves without a large customer base. Customers would rather deal with LIMITS when the service is just that cheap. But to deny a customer data use because they are in a contract seems as stupid as can be.

ShadowDeath said:

Verizon can't get a decent phone on time either. When your competition keeps getting phones almost half a year before you then you know you're screwing up somewhere.

Guest said:

Yeah they may be ahead of AT&T on coverage, but boy does the speed suck on their network compared to AT&T...especially when you get knocked back to 3G.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Verizon's business model is very similar to TimeWarner's.

"F**k everyone we own all the towers, you people WILL put up with our horrendous prices and fee's, take what we give you and deal with our 3rd party automated customer support."

Unlimited data is possible with Verizon, you meet personally with the devil to sign over your soul with a bloody finger.

Guest said:

If Verizon had an unlimited plan then they couldn't indiscriminately add on data usage to their customer accounts and get that easy $10 a gig bonus payment!

I , personally have kept track of VZ Access Manager data usage, and Verizon's method is never in sync, always MORE!

Yet such is to be expected for "Behold! these are the ungodly(greedy, covetous, liars and deceivers)! They proper in this world as they evermore seek to increase (any way they can) in riches"! (Psalms 73:12)

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

I'm still on unlimited data with AT&T grandfathered in since 2008 but they throttle it if I go over 5Gb which I rarely do. Other than that moving right along with 36mbs down 18 up speeds on 4G LTE.

Guest said:

I still have my ulimited data! They keep trying to pry it from my browing fingers but they are crazy if they think im giving that up!

Guest said:

In some European countries you can find almoust unlimited mobile data plans for a nice price.

Currently in Lithuania (small country in Easter Europe) I have 20 gigs per month on HSPA (21 megabit) network at full speed, if during a month I go above 20 Gigs, speed is throttled down to 1 megabit per second. Guess the price - its only rougly 8,5 US dollars per month. Competitor networks are providing 4G unlimited data plans (but speed is capped to 4 megabits per second) at 16 US dolars per month .

Why US carriers can't do the same ?

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Essentially they are saying the infrastructure can't cope because they *didn't install sufficient infrastructure* for unlimited bandwidth plans.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Essentially they are saying the infrastructure can't cope because they *didn't install sufficient infrastructure* for unlimited bandwidth plans.

No, he said it was because there's a 'limited amount of spectrum'. What spectrum the carriers are allowed to use is up to the FCC, and it's very possible that there are physical limitations. I think LTE operates on some networks at around 1700 or 2100 MHz. What would happen if a thousand people were all streaming at 4 or 5 Mbps at once? Would the signals get all messed up and degraded or slowed down? I have no idea, honestly, but there's limits to everything else in the world, it stands to reason there's only so much bandwidth you can throw at a tower before quality starts to degrade.

Maybe the newer 4G advanced will help with that sort of thing.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

No, he said it was because there's a 'limited amount of spectrum'. What spectrum the carriers are allowed to use is up to the FCC, and it's very possible that there are physical limitations. I think LTE operates on some networks at around 1700 or 2100 MHz. What would happen if a thousand people were all streaming at 4 or 5 Mbps at once? Would the signals get all messed up and degraded or slowed down? I have no idea, honestly, but there's limits to everything else in the world, it stands to reason there's only so much bandwidth you can throw at a tower before quality starts to degrade.

Maybe the newer 4G advanced will help with that sort of thing.

You can reduce the range of your towers and install more of them as well which is what they do in major city centres.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

I have the service and don't use much of my limited data plan. When I had T-Mobile I had unlimited everything with this company to me they're expensive in data plan, but service is 100% better than it was with T-Mobile was. I use more WiFi with my Smartphone than dealing with data plan ridiculous pricing!

dennis777 dennis777 said:

Hahaha Philippine Telcos are smarter than verison.. They advertise here as unlimited data yet they cap it per day, but wait theirs more! the speed is only 1mbs and cause a ton.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Trying to convince people unlimited resources are limited.

arockylypse arockylypse said:

The real question here is how do ****** that say stupid things like this get to be CEOs??!?

t3chn0vamp said:

This is pure BS !!!

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

They can give you unlimited with less throttling down of the service 4G LTE, but they won't do it. Profit margin, goal is to make more money from you and not give you the full service you desire. I am on contract and pay for service for 3x cell phones. Only mine is a smartphone the requires a data plan. I am not paying so much for my plan. Default plan 1GB. That's it for me $15 per 1GB is just too much per month. Can't even stream video would cost me even more.

The 4G LTE to me not always this. More like 3G LTE, they tell me it's the towers they share needs to be upgraded. Funny I don't live far from the Corp store. There the 4G LTE stronger there. They need to put up more towers but that cost of doing that not going to happen.

This CEO just about making more and more money from their customers like me. They really don't care. They charge you late fees for $5 bucks if your not on time with your payment, they charge for all sorts of taxes for state, local, fed, everyone has a piece of the action or their hands in you pocket.

So I just try to keep everything up to date and more on..

Guest said:

He's full of shit. Totally and Completely LYING out of his behind.

I have Sprint. I have unlimited data. I stream music at the highest bitrate possible via Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Music (and rarely but occasionally Pandora) 6 days a week from Noon until 10PM. I've never used more than 200mb's of Data in a single month period. Why? Because WIFI is freaking everywhere. I can almost guarantee there is free unrestricted Wifi within a 60 second trip for atleast 75% of the people here. There is no reason NOT to offer unlimited Data.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

It's time for McAdam to hit the proverbial macadamized tarmac. All these corporate big wigs have forgotten that greed is a deadly sin.

1 person liked this | wiyosaya said:

He's playing damage control because of others offering unlimited data...

And, of course, hoping that if he repeats this enough, everyone will believe him.

Guest said:

Before some of you try to defend verizon keep something in mind: Verizon has already advertised "unlimited" data plans in the past. One way or the other, I'm tired of getting lied to.

Also assuming this person is telling the truth his/her comment says it all:

"In some European countries you can find almoust unlimited mobile data plans for a nice price.

Currently in Lithuania (small country in Easter Europe) I have 20 gigs per month on HSPA (21 megabit) network at full speed, if during a month I go above 20 Gigs, speed is throttled down to 1 megabit per second. Guess the price - its only rougly 8,5 US dollars per month. Competitor networks are providing 4G unlimited data plans (but speed is capped to 4 megabits per second) at 16 US dolars per month .

Why US carriers can't do the same ?"

IAMTHESTIG said:

I call BS too... we are a BYOP (bring your own phone) business here and I help setup access to services for all my employees, most of them are on Verizon. I warn them about data usage, and even check their data usage fairly often, and most of them use less than 1 GB of data. Only a few of my more advanced computer users go over that. I bet if VZ set everyone unlimited it would probably all be close to evening out across the board.

This is all about money, the greedy asshats just want more and more. I'm sick of the price goudging and ridiculous cost of data. My contract for VZW is up and I'm trying out other carriers right now, soon to be leaving VZW. I have two other friends doing the same thing. I only hope more and more people will put their foot down and vote with their wallets.

Guest said:

But 4G technologies are more spectrum efficient. There is incentive to kill off 3G technologies for this reason alone.

Guest said:

This is a flat out lie. Sprint and T-Mobile manage unlimited data just fine... This guy must think his customers are a bunch of retarded monkeys (wait, it's Verizon... he might be right about that part).

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Just measure bandwidth instead of data, and you can offer it in unlimited fashion. Given that the top 5% will likely be the heaviest user. Simply adjusting their data usage as they hit thresholds would be enough to ensure there's plenty of bandwidth to go around. It shouldn't be difficult to design an algorithm for metering what's available.

majicwang said:

To be honest, I do not think these things are useful. Yesterday, I still go home and delete data, and then go find a girlfriend

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