Verizon CFO talks iPhone: Free iPhone gains, incentivizing employees to sell lower subsidy devices & Share Everything plans

verizon-iphoneVerizon CFO Fran Shammo spoke at the Duetsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom conference this morning, where he was asked a few questions related to the iPhone. Verizon reported its fourth quarter 2012 earnings last month with 9.8 million smartphone activations—a record 6.2 million of which were iPhone. We knew about half, or 3.1 million, of those iPhone sales were driven by the first full quarter with the iPhone 5, but today Shammo talked about just how important getting the free iPhone 4 was during the quarter:

But this past fourth quarter you had a couple — you had really one thing happen that never happened before, especially with Verizon Wireless, and that was for the first time ever, because of the iPhone 5 launch, we had the 4 at free. So it was the first time ever you could get a free iPhone on the

Verizon Wireless network. So that produced a lot of volume for us. We had a lot of new customers come into Verizon who took that free phone, and that was great for us because again if you think about — we sold a lot of LTE product in the fourth quarter. We sold a lot of 3G product from the iPhone products in the fourth quarter.

But that is key for us, because if you think about our two networks it is important for me as I migrate people into the 4G network I still have this very large 3G network that operates very efficiently. We are not investing any more capital in that network other than to keep it up and running, so no more coverage capital, no more capacity capital. If I can keep that network up and running that just generates more contribution margins for us. So it is critical for us to balance that. But, again, I think you had one point in time where you had a free phone, a free Apple phone that never happened before with us and that generated a lot of volume.

While noting that 53 percent of the carrier’s smartphone activations were iPhones in 2012, Shammo was asked about the opportunity to incentivize employees to sell non-Apple devices that would also come with lower subsidies for Verizon:

The answer is, no, we don’t and it is critical that we don’t do that. The reason for that is because what is more important for us is when a customer walks into a store that customer walks out with a phone that they will be happy with and not return under our 30-day guarantee. Because the worst thing that can happen for us is for me to incentivise a salesperson to get you into a phone that you walk out the door with thinking you are going to like and in three days you come back because you don’t like it. Therefore, now I’ve just subsidized two smartphones because that phone you used I can’t resell as a new phone.

You can read more from Shammo’s presentation and where he discusses the growth of Share Everything plans, tablets, and more here.

Reminder: Mountain Lion will be free for 30 days for new Mac owners

Update 2: After a brief time online, Apple appears to have taken down the form to request a copy of Mountain Lion. You’ll still be able to request a copy at Apple’s original link following Mountain Lion’s official release.

Update: As noted by MacRumors, Apple’s form to request a free copy of Mountain Lion for new Mac owners is already live on the company’s website. After entering details about your purchase, personal details, and the serial numbers of your new Mac, Apple sends two emails —one with a password protected redemption code and another containing the password— to open it. The redemption code is not yet working in the Mac App Store.

Apple previously confirmed, when it unveiled the new Retina MacBook Pros and refreshed Mac lineups, that Mountain Lion would be available for free to those who purchased a Mac after June 11 through the Up-to-Date program. Since then, Apple has updated its website to confirm the free copy will be available to new Mac owners for 30 days from the release date, which will likely be sometime after tomorrow’s Q3 earnings call. Those who purchase a new Mac following Mountain Lion’s release will also have 30 days to claim their copy on Apple’s website.

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NetZero offering free data plan with new 4G hotspot service

While Apple’s new LTE-capable iPad launched on AT&T and Verizon last Friday, NetZero announced today a new contract-free 4G-hotspot service that provides consumers with another option for data. You might remember NetZero from its ad-supported freemium dialup service in the 90s. The new service will also provide a free plan that offers users up to 200MB of data per month at no charge.

First you will have to buy one of NetZero’s reasonably priced hardware options: Read more

How to: Get the iOS 5 GM even if you aren’t a registered developer

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The iOS 5 GM (seeded earlier today) doesn’t require a registered UDID, which is great for users who aren’t developers and want to get an early look at iOS 5 before it is released next week. Past betas have required a registered UDID with the Developer Center to get the software running on the iOS device.

The GM, however, apparently only calls for the iOS 5 GM software itself and iTunes Beta 9, which we are letting commenters link to. We do warn you however that you should do this at your own risk. We make no claims to the validly of the software and really you should probably be paying for the cheap $100 developer license.

If you have better download links, drop them in the comment section below.

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