Though much of the wireless world is gathering this week in San Francisco at D: Dive into Mobile in San Francisco, it's not the only industry gathering this week. Yesterday at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, execs from AT&T and Verizon Wireless discussed the ever-changing topic of data plans for smartphones.
Verizon Wireless CEO Ivan Seidenberg spoke only a day after the carrier activated its LTE network for laptop customers. Though Verizon also introduced new LTE plans for its USB modem users--5GB of data for $50 per month or 10GB of data for $80 a month--Seidenberg said Big Red has not yet decided on data plans for its upcoming LTE-capable phones.
In the meantime, however, he said the carrier will "get some experience and learn" from the plans currently in place. And according to Fierce Wireless, he said that the $80 per month plan "looks to me like a floor of what people will do."
So could prices go down after customers grow used to LTE? While competition could dictate a different scenario, Seidenberg added that he is against lowering prices too quickly. "We have to hold firm as best we can until the entire environment is mature enough where we have devices and services so that people can see the value," he said.
Later in the day, AT&T CFO Rick Linder took the stage to discuss the carrier's recent move to usage-based data pricing. Linder said the carrier now has 7 million customers on the new plans, which he characterized as a success. "It gives us a model where we can increase data usage and data revenues with that usage over time, and add additional tiers over time as warranted," he said.
Though some carriers have opted for the $15-per-month plan that delivers 200MB of data, Linder said most subscribers have chosen to get 2GB of data for $25 per month.
As Fierce Wireless reported, Linder also dodged a question about a possible Verizon iPhone by saying AT&T recorded record iPhone activations in the third quarter as speculation over the rumored device increased, and the carrier will continue to expand its smartphone offerings.