Verizon doubles amount of downloadable data: weak sales?

With news leaking out today about Verizon Wireless’s apparent decision to double the amount of downloadable data it allows customers on its 4G LTE network, the question of why is one of two choices: Either Verizon’s confident that its network is strong, or it’s panicking a bit because of slow 4G sales.

The answer? Your guess is as good as mine, and we’ll bet Verizon ain’t telling, one way or the other. Our best analysis is that Verizon’s initial high prices for phones and data plans kept a lot of customers from switching to LTE, pushing them instead to the cooler iPhone even though it was on the slower 3G network. So it’s time to juice the 4G marketing effort, and allowing more data is a cheap way to do so.

Last quarter Verizon sold 2 million iPhones and only 1.4 million 4G devices, with only half of those being phones. With so few users on its new LTE network Verizon can afford to give “double down” deals for a quarter or so to juice its 4G sales effort, which still trails Sprint and has even fallen farther behind Sprint each of the last two quarters in head-to-head 4G sales numbers. Let’s see if the double-data deals change that score.

The good news is, for potential new smartphone customers the somewhat stingy Verizon data plans just got twice as interesting. According to the VZBuzz blog that means an $80 monthly plan now gives you 20 GB instead of 10 GB, all the better to watch video on the NFL Mobile app. Verizon’s also giving the premium NFL Mobile app free to new 4G LTE customers so if you want to be a data hog, now is the time to pig out on Verizon’s new plans.

About Paul Kapustka

Paul Kapustka is a longtime journalist who has spent more than two decades covering the information technology business, Paul most recently has been focusing on mobility and how it has changed the computing and collaborative landscape. His newest project outside Mobile Enterprise 360 is a research and analysis operation called WiFi Journal. He is also editor in chief of Mobile Sports Report, which covers the intersection of mobile technology and sports business. Paul is also the founder of Sidecut Reports, a research firm that covered the emergence of 4G technology in the cellular marketplace.