Verizon CFO says unlimited is ‘going by the wayside’, many customers embrace Share Everything

Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo told attendees at a Goldman Sachs investor conference in New York today that unlimited data plans are no longer relevant and the carrier’s Share Everything plan is doing well.

“We are surprised on shared from many different aspects,” said Shammo, as first reported by CNET. “…More people are going to shared than we actually anticipated. And the thing that really surprised us is we have a lot of people coming off unlimited to go to shared.”

Verizon’s Share Everything plan launched in June and allows users to, well, share data with up to 10 devices through a single account. The carrier stopped offering unlimited data to new customers last year, due to growing smartphone usage clogging the carrier’s pipelines; and with the standard now at 4G LTE, Verizon is likely trying to capitalize on every bit of data funneled through its network.

Unlimited data customers are flocking to Share Everything, Shammo suggested, because many of them realize they don’t consume much data. He also noted customers have added more devices than expected.

“Unlimited is just a word, it doesn’t really mean anything,” Shammo contended. “So that whole unlimited thing I think is going by the wayside and they see the benefit of going to the shared. “

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AT&T now out of opening day iPhone 5 stock, orders now pushed back to ’14-21 business days’

AT&T just ran out of Sept. 21 stock for the iPhone 5. The delivery page has now pushed sales to “14-21 business days,” which equals almost three to five weeks. Verizon ran out of stock earlier today, but it is hard to determine if this shows demand per carrier since AT&T is such a big legacy iPhone carrier and Apple obviously gave it a lot more stock than others.

Both big carriers have downsides: AT&T will not run FaceTime unless you buy a Mobile Share plan, while Verizon will run FaceTime on all of its iPhones—but new customers must sign up for a Mobile Share plan (no matter what). In addition, the CDMA version of the iPhone, which Verizon and Sprint both carry, will not support simultaneous talk and data. Speaking of Sprint, it is still advertising ship dates of Sept. 21.

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Sprint and Verizon won’t support simultaneous voice and data on iPhone 5

Unlike Verizon’s lineup of LTE Android smartphones, we just confirmed with the carrier that the new iPhone 5 would not support simultaneous voice and data over its LTE network.

A Verizon spokesperson told us:

“The iPhone 5 was designed to allow customers to place a voice call on the Verizon Wireless network, while simultaneously letting customers access the Internet over the WiFi.”

We confirmed with AT&T, however, that the feature will work on its GSM model of the iPhone 5. AT&T told us:

“AT&T customers can talk and surf simultaneously on the new iPhone 5.”

We know Apple is shipping the same CDMA model iPhone 5 to both Sprint and Verizon, so it is probable that Sprint’s iPhone 5 will not support simultaneous voice and data as well.

Some Android devices do simultaneous voice and data on Verizon, so it is probably Apple’s baseband processor choice that led to the situation.

Update: According to the New York Times, the change is due to Apple. An Apple spokesperson explained:

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T-Mobile to advertise to unlocked iPhone customers, sway them away from AT&T promising $1500 savings over 2 years

report surfaced this morning about T-Mobile sending a memo to its sales staff that encourages them to sell against Apple’s iPhone beginning Sept. 21. Unsurprisingly, the memo confirmed T-Mobile would not be a carrier for the next-generation iPhone due out next month. Adding a bit to this morning’s story, TmoNews followed up with a new flyer that T-Mobile aims to show customers. The flyer boasts just how much iPhone users will save if they ditch AT&T and bring their unlocked iPhone to T-Mobile. Magenta is promising customers can save up to $1,500 over two years if they switch. T-Mobile’s single line offering actually sounds fabulous, as it offers customers truly unlimited data, text and minutes for only $75. That seems like a plan you can’t beat…unless you want 3G speeds. T-Mobile made a recent push to iPhone-compatible 1900MHz 3G network (and 4G at WWDC), but we are not sure how well it is doing on that front. Until then, EDGE 2.5G is as fast as you will get.

T-Mobile has not been able to sign up as an official iPhone carrier, so it has always made strides to welcome unlocked iPhone users. We previously reported there are roughly 1 million iPhone users on T-Mobile’s network. T-Mobile offers a MicroSIM kit to make the switch on your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S a little easier. An updated version of the kit will hit stores beginning Aug. 29.

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AT&T denies ‘vacation blackout’ rumors

Reports emerged over the weekend about AT&T forcing its employees into a Sept. 21 to Sept. 30 “Vacation Blackout”.

According to an AT&T sales rep, AT&T staff has been given a vacation blackout from September 21 to September 30, just like Verizon employees. Our source also mentioned that blue carrier employees are undergoing training for an “iconic release.”

“Not true!” we’ve heard. We reached out to AT&T to see what it had to say regarding the above. An AT&T spokesperson told us this morning that there is no company-wide vacation blackout for the end of September.

We also talked to AT&T reps at other stores who implied more people are being put on duty, depending on staffing levels of that particular store, but there is no “blackout.” One New York employee will even sit out the first week of the iPhone launch due to a long-planned vacation.

TechCrunch sourced one rep from a single AT&T store, which may have its own little under-staffed blackout, but, as we heard, the policy is not nationwide.

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Verizon again tops J.D. Power and Associates Network Quality Performance report

J.D. Power and Associates is out with the second half of its 2012 “U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study”, and Verizon once again come out on top for network performance in five of the six regions included in the report. Only second to U.S. Cellular in the North Central region, Verizon posted the best overall network performance among the other carriers in the remaining regions based on 10 key problem areas that could impact the customer experience.

For a 16th consecutive reporting period, Verizon Wireless ranks highest in the Northeast region. Verizon Wireless achieves fewer customer-reported problems with dropped calls, initial connections, transmission failures and late text messages, compared with the regional average. Verizon Wireless also ranks highest in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest and West regions… U.S. Cellular ranks highest in the North Central region for a 14th consecutive reporting period. Compared with the regional average, U.S. Cellular has fewer customer-reported problems with dropped calls, failed initial connections, audio problems, failed voice mails and lost calls.

The study also covered the customer experience specifically for data-related problems. Not surprisingly, LTE device users experienced significantly less issues than older 3G devices like the iPhone:

The study finds that the number of data-related problems, especially those related to slow connection speeds, is significantly lower among customers using 4G LTE-enabled devices than among those using devices with older 3G/4G technology standards, such as WiMAX and HSPA+… For example, among customers with 4G LTE-enabled devices, the problem incidence for excessively slow mobile Web loading is 15 PP100, compared with the industry average of 20 PP100. Furthermore, the overall problem incidence for excessively slow mobile Web loading is even higher among customers with WiMAX and HSPA+ technology

Based on responses from over 26,000 U.S. wireless customers, the report explained how network performance was calculated:
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Verizon spanked by FCC for charging extra for tethering/apps, should drop extra fee in short order

Verizon iPhone Personal Hotspot settings (Image: TechCrunch)

Verizon was fined a measly $1.25 million today for blocking access to tethering apps mostly on the Android platform. That does not apply to most iOS users (currently), however. That is because this ruling —for now— only affects LTE 4G devices. With the next-generation iPhone, which will launch in mid-September, heavily rumored to be the first iPhone to include LTE access, this will affect those choosing to go with Verizon Wireless for their fancy new iPhone.

The ruling asserts that Verizon must not charge an additional fee for tethering on its devices—so long as they are not on the grandfathered unlimited data plans. The iPhone has included tethering support since iOS 3.0, and the feature was taken to the next level by Apple and Verizon Wireless with the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4 and the wireless Personal Hotspot feature in early 2011. The feature was soon spread to iPhone carriers globally with iOS 4.3.

Earlier this year, Apple brought the Personal Hotspot feature to its tablet with the LTE iPad. Something notable with Apple and Verizon’s agreement for the iPad is that the wireless tethering feature is included in the pre-paid data plans. If a user pays a certain amount for data, they will not have to pay anything extra to access the wireless tethering system. With the LTE iPhone, according to today’s FCC ruling, users will have the same, great experience.

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Verizon to introduce shared data plans June 28, reflects reality of multiple device users

According to a report from AllThingsD, Verizon Wireless will soon change the way it charges customers for cellular/data plans in a major way. Rather than charging customers for phones calls or messages sent, the report claimed Verizon would charge “almost exclusively based on how much data” is consumed. The new “Share Everything” plans will also be the first in the United States that allows users to share their data with up to 10 devices through a single account:

The plans, known as “Share Everything,” allow users an unlimited number of calls and texts and also allow data usage to be pooled among up to 10 devices on one account. With the move, Verizon becomes the first U.S. carrier to offer the ability for customers to share a bucket of data across multiple devices.

AllThingsD noted that AT&T also has plans for shared data options, but it did not provide more details. As for Verizon’s new plans, which will apparently kick-in June 28, the report explained the cost of the data plan and pricing metrics based on a per-device fee. In other words, you will have to pay roughly $40 per smartphone ($10 per tablet), and then opt for either a $50 1GB data plan or a $100 10GB plan. While the report claimed the new pricing should not impact the cost of plans for users who continue consuming the same amount of data, it is clear that those signing a new plan for a single smartphone are getting a bit less for their money:

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Which iPhone carrier has the fastest network in your area? AT&T, Verizon, & Sprint get accurate comparison by city

The argument over which carrier has the fastest network speed in any given location in the United States is still up for debate. Putting network speed comparisons aside, which are often not an accurate representation of speeds, you will receive in your specific area, a new app from startup SwayMarkets aims to provide a more realistic comparison.

The app, CarrierCompare, allows users to test the network speed of their current carrier against the two other major iPhone providers. CNNMoney went hands-on when the app released last month and just posted the user data it obtained that compares major iPhone carriers in multiple locations.

Analyzing user-generated data from Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, these were the results:

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AT&T hints at family/data sharing plans on the horizon

AT&T’s variant of the family data plan is on the horizon.

The company’s CEO of Mobile Business Ralph de la Vega told CNET on the sidelines of the CTIA Wireless trade show that the upcoming shared plan would allow consumers to buy one package of data to split among multiple devices, which is a forward-thinking step that could encourage tablet sales.

“I’m very comfortable with the plan that will be offered to our customers,” revealed de la Vega.

Just a few months ago, the executive seemed to doubt family plans due to IT, billing, and device subsidization issues. He even remarked his goal to “get it right”— instead of unveiling the strategy prematurely.

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Report: Four carriers fight for fastest 3G and 4G speeds, only two debut on top

 

PC World tested 3G and 4G wireless data transfer speeds for the top four carriers —both indoors and outside with multiple devices across 13 major cities in 130 testing locations— and discovered some surprising results.

During average wireless speed tests for 3G networks with the smartphones pictured below, T-Mobile took home the fastest download and upload speed prize at 3.84 Mbps and 1.44 Mbps, respectively. AT&T landed the No. 2 spot with its 2.62 Mbps download speed and 0.85-Mbps upload speed.

The slower 3G network provider reclaimed its pride and rose to fame with its 4G wireless speeds, however. AT&T garnered 9.56 Mbps while downloading and 5.15 Mbps for uploads. Verizon debuted at second with its 7.35 Mbps download speed and 5.86 Mbps upload speed.

The overall winners are named below.

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The best way to unlock your AT&T iPhone may be through Tim Cook’s office

When 9to5Mac brought you the story about Tim Cook convincing AT&T to unlock an iPhone on a customer’s behalf, we knew it would cause a bit of controversy because of AT&T’s questionable unlocking policies. Confusion among consumers regarding inconsistent policies for unlocking iPhones that have finished contractual obligations is nothing new. As witnessed in our original story, the carriers often make special exceptions for some customers while redirecting others to Apple. In many cases, they simply flat-out refuse to unlock iPhones.

It is not clear if AT&T is getting ready for a full-fledged policy change, but it looks like your best shot at getting an iPhone unlocked is by emailing Apple’s chief Tim Cook. A significant number of readers reached out to us since our original story that confirmed AT&T is continuing to unlock iPhones at the request of Cook’s office.
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