Verizon: Don't expect us to offer a data rollover plan

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo says the carrier won't be following AT&T and T-Mobile's lead.

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Roger Cheng
2 min read

Don't hold your breath for Verizon Wireless to counter AT&T and T-Mobile with a data rollover program.

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo isn't a fan of rollover plans. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

That's according to Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo, who said the nation's largest wireless carrier by subscribers would not follow its rivals and allow consumers to move unused data into future billing cycles.

"We're a leader, not a follower," he said in an interview on Thursday.

The launch of T-Mobile's "Data Stash" rollover program in December -- quickly followed by a similar program by AT&T -- underscores the heightened competitive environment and sometimes tit-for-tat responses on discounts and promotional programs. Verizon, for its part, is attempting to stay above the fray. Shammo said Verizon is willing to let some customers go and not compete on price.

"We did not go to places where we did not financially want to go to save a customer," Shammo said. "And there's going to be certain customers who leave us for price, and we are just not going to compete with that because it doesn't make financial sense for us to do that."

The company earlier reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings that matched Wall Street expectations amid strong subscriber growth, but saw its customer turnover rate tick up and its profitability fall due to competitive pressure.

One example is with the rollover concept. AT&T launched its original rollover plan for voice minutes back in 2007. Shammo noted that Verizon never followed.

On Google's wireless service

Verizon also won't follow Sprint and T-Mobile with the reported wireless service that Google is planning. The search-engine giant's potential offering of a wireless service is just another example of Google "stirring the pot," Shammo said.

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo refuses to roll over. Verizon

He likened Google's possible wireless service to Google Fiber, the company's program to build out fiber-optic lines to offer ultra-high-speed Internet access at an affordable rate. The goal of Google Fiber wasn't to get into the Internet service business, but to spur higher speeds in the competition. Shammo noted Google has been largely successful in the aim, with AT&T and Comcast offering more attractive packages in certain markets.

Shammo noted that Google has never entered a FiOS territory because it already has fiber-optic lines laid out directly to the home.

Whether a Google wireless resale business would work remains to be seen. Shammo declined to share his thoughts on how it would do until he saw the actual business model.

Google could bring price disruption into the business, he said, noting that there are other wireless resellers, like Tracfone, that offer prepaid service at a lower rate. But in that situation, Verizon benefits because Tracfone goes after a market segment that larger carriers have ignored.

"We've had resellers for 15 years," he said. "We've seen them come and we've seen them go."

Shammo declined to comment on whether Verizon talked to Google about a resale agreement.