We learned earlier this week about Verizon’s intent to start offering double the data allowances on smartphone plans for users with LTE-capable handsets. At a conference yesterday, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo shed a little light onto why that decision was made, and it turns out it may be more about appeasing iPhone users than those with LTE phones.
Basically, Verizon saw that if it wanted to keep providing the same level of service, with a growing number of iPhone users bringing their data needs to the network, it could either keep pouring money into expanding its 3G capabilities, or try and take some of the load off its EV-DO network. Verizon would much rather spend its money on building-up LTE, so it saw the latter option as its best choice. Since Apple doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to embrace LTE, the burden to move data consumption from 3G to 4G has fallen on Android users.
The only potential drawbacks we see here are that even LTE-capable phones will still spend a good deal of time on EV-DO where Verizon hasn’t fleshed-out its 4G network, and some users may choose to disable LTE to save on battery life; the double data plans only require your phone to have an LTE radio, not that all (or even most of) your data consumption is over LTE.
Ultimately, though, this sounds like some serious win going all around. Android users who want to upgrade to LTE get a good deal on data, iPhone users along with everyone else staying on EV-DO get a little more breathing room, and Verizon gets to concentrate its investments towards greater LTE capacity.