Feature Article

March 16, 2011

Spotting the Hot Verizon 4G Phone

Verizon Wireless is launching its HTC Thunderbolt which will be the company’s “first” 4G (LTE) phone. It will feature an unlimited plan and the ability to have a hotspot that is priced at a rate that is below most plans offered by Verizon Wireless.

However the time is ticking on the unlimited plan and there is no promise of grandfathering the deal. I have had arguments with friends about whether unlimited plans exist with Verizon Wireless. I have not been able to get such a plan and the price I paid for using my MiFi made me think I was operating a T1.

As long as they keep the unlimited plan open, I expect this product will out-sell the rest of the Droids and the VZW iPhone.

I have been running a survey which is still open. The survey results indicate that a little over 50 percent of the users are loyal to their carrier no matter what, almost 18 percent are price conscious specifically and the remaining 32 percent will base their choice of carrier on the devices available at the time.

And the speed at which devices are being rolled out is fast and furious. However, I am not sure that the product managers have a handle as to what matters.

Feature-wise, the Internet is the most important aspect of the service with the ability to use applications coming in as a strong second.

The data regarding phone calls versus the Internet has led me to draw some interesting conclusions. The satisfaction with voice calls is much higher with almost 75 percent of the customer accepting the quality of their voice service as a base. Over 25 pecent go further and believe they never lose a call with their carrier.

On the data side, the goal is speed and less than 10 percent are under the belief that the speed is sufficient. An early indicator that data demand is going to remain unsatisfied is the fact that 80 percent of the users expect to use their smartphone as a tether or a hot spot.

So we have two pressures on the network to be faster at delivering data, browsing from the devices and browsing through the device.

Repeatedly I am aware how savvy the users are and expect that they will see the chance to lock in Verizon Wireless on this plan as long as they can. 

As some people keep complaining about thresholds and others complain about price, it will be interesting to see if this “first” 4G phone will be bought based on speed alone.

I look forward to seeing the speeds from friends in the field. In the meantime I will be at a hot spot.

David Sims is a contributing editor for MobilityTechzone. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for MobilityTechzone here.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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