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Why Verizon Doesn't Want You To Buy an iPhone 207

Posted by timothy
from the have-you-considered-a-new-blender? dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Sascha Segan writes that although Verizon adamantly denies steering customers away from Apple's iPhones in favor of 4G LTE-enabled Android devices, he is convinced that Verizon has a strong reason to push buyers away from the iPhone. 'Here's the problem,' writes Segan. 'Verizon has spent millions of dollars rolling out its massive LTE network' but the carrier can't easily add capacity on its old 3G network. Since the iPhone isn't a 4G phone, sales of Verizon iPhones just crowd up their already busy 3G network while their 4G network has plenty of space. 'The iPhone is a great device. But it's making a crowded network more crowded. Until the LTE iPhone comes along, to rebalance its network, Verizon may quietly push Android phones.'"
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Why Verizon Doesn't Want You To Buy an iPhone

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  • Easy solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bennomatic (691188) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @12:39PM (#39902121) Homepage
    Add an unlimited plan that applies to 4g only. That'll give Android users some bragging rights for at least a few months. Then, when the iPhone gets 4g, Verizon won't need the plan and can drop it, and that'll allow Android users to blame the iPhone for ruining the party.
    • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy&tpno-co,org> on Saturday May 05, 2012 @12:58PM (#39902257) Homepage

      That is...actually a fiendishly good idea. I'm not sure why you got Funny, that should have been insightful. And any verizon wireless rep that's reading this, there's your answer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        One reason is that I've read that among smart phone users, that those with Android tend to use a lot more data than the average iPhone user. My guess is that's because the average iPhone user is closer to "joe six pack" who is likely downing a few apps and songs, but mostly doing light surfing and checking email. Whereas a lot of android users are more geekish and tend to use the data side more.

        I know with my iPhone I've averaged about 450MB of data per month over the life of my last contract and only onc

        • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Informative)

          by CrackedButter (646746) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @01:40PM (#39902591) Homepage Journal

          Your anecdote contradicts actual research. Android users don't surf the web as much as iOS users. - http://www.webpronews.com/ios-trounces-android-in-web-traffic-2012-04 [webpronews.com] (This was with a 5 second google search with 'iOS android internet traffic')

          • by adamstew (909658)

            Web page hits =/= bandwidth consumed. Surfing the web does consume bandwidth, but compared to other types of applications that can consume bandwidth, it's consumes a relatively small amount.

            When compared to things like streaming radio, skype, netflix, video conferencing, etc, web surfing doesn't consume that much bandwidth.

            It's entirely possible that android users typically tend to have high-usage of those high-bandwidth applications.

            Also, here is an article that I found that also says that android users u

          • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Informative)

            by demonlapin (527802) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @04:03PM (#39903603) Homepage Journal
            Read your link again, and skip to the second graph. You'll notice that the biggest piece of the pie belongs to the iPad. Android actually appears to use a bit more than the iPhone. And those are web hits - not megabytes. I download 50+ MB podcasts directly to my Android phone over the cellular data connection, but that only generates one web page hit...
          • by yoshi_mon (172895)

            ...use a lot more data...

            Web content is not the only form of data. Not by a long shot.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          More likely it is due to iPhone users getting a lot of updates and downloads through iTunes on their PC, rather than over the air directly on the phone. I bet the majority of Android users don't even have the manufacturer's sync app installed, where as with the iPhone it is mandatory just to copy your data on to it.

          Combined Android handset sales easily outpace iPhone sales and I'm pretty sure technically minded users don't outnumber "joe six pack" types.

          • by grub (11606)
            iOS 5.x can use iCloud for everything including backups and syncing. My mother-in-law has an iPad that was set up and deployed without a computer, the iPad being her first gadget.
        • by jbolden (176878)

          iPhone is very aggressive about jumping onto wireless access. I know some Android phones are not.

        • by jandrese (485)
          Yeah, it drives me crazy that the teirs are 3GB, 2GB, and 200MB. If that last tier was 1GB, I would be all over it, because I tend to burn about 250-300MB/month, but instead I have to go way up to the 2GB tier that is mostly a waste. Phone companies know this too, that's why they set it up that way. The most ridiculous part is that the overage fees depend on what tier you buy, so you go over 10MB on the 200MB plan and it's $25, but you go over by 10MB on the 2GB plan and it's only $10.
          • by KDR_11k (778916)

            Wow, the only plans I've seen use throttling to 56k if you exceed your volume, not overage fees. I guess that's a difference between Europe and the US.

        • by CAIMLAS (41445)

          I'm sure a lot of that depends on how the data use is metered.

          Personally, I use about 100-300MB of data a month, closer to the low end of that. I have used less than 60MB on a couple occasions. How?

          * turning off data when I'm busy and don't want to be bothered by notifications.
          * Using nearby wireless access points instead of data services, when available (work, home, friends' houses). I'm guessing many of these 'data usage' numbers are reflective of people using wifi, so the carrier has an excuse to make su

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        "But this means spending money on our consumers and offering a better service for less money ! We won't have it !"
    • by Aranykai (1053846)

      That is actually quite insightful, sir. Well done.

    • From a business standpoint, offering an unlimited plan on a service that can push 20+Mbps would kill them down the road. They want mass adoption on LTE but they don't want people to destroy the network early on or even. I think the carriers have learned from the 3G unlimited plan mistake. Back in the day using your phone as a data connection was a joke and it was almost pure profit for the carriers. So they throw an unlimited tag on it to make a ton of money. But now that people actually use it an unli
    • by MBCook (132727)

      That would violate the standard "how dare you use what you pay for you need to pay exorbitant overages for that" clause that the cellular industry likes.

      Did you see where the former head of AT&T said offering unlimited data with te iPhone (so you could actually use it) was a mistake? AT&T is trying to get people off unlimited. Sprint pushes it because they're dying, but they still cap you do it's not unlimited.

      Unlimited is clearly bad, and consumers are wrong for wanting it.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        Sprint pushes it because they're dying, but they still cap you do it's not unlimited.

        I guess you could call it a cap, but the last time I looked into it it seemed more like a type of QOS to me. It's just that if you are a super-heavy user you are one of the first to get rate-limited.

        Unlimited is clearly bad, and consumers are wrong for wanting it.

        Well, it is convenient. I recently switched to prepay... T-Mobile has a crazy 5GB 3.5G/Free Texts/100 minutes talk plan for $30/month and another 1500 talk or text with only a few megs of data for $30/month. That covers my wife's use case and my use case and saves us about 30-40 bucks per month over our old fami

    • by unixisc (2429386)

      The strategy for Verizon would be to ultimately migrate everyone from its 3G network to its 4G network, and it has no dog in the iPhone vs Android phone fight. As the main story mentioned, their 3G network is already congested, and until enough customers switch over, it makes sense to have incentives getting people to their 4G. From a networking POV, 4G mandates the use of IPv6, which 3G isn't, and so w/ 4G, Verizon is not going to run into an address exhaustion situation. In fact, the IPv4 address exhau

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Unlimited is a very bad idea. You end up with a small percentage of users hogging bandwidth. And even regular users are much less careful when the data is unlimited. Delivering data is expensive. Cheaper phones OTOH is not. Throwing an extra $4/mo over the life of the contract into an Android is an extra $100 subsidy. You could have amazing "free" or under $100 phones on 4G.

  • Considering the ONLY Windows Phone handset they have is the HTC Trophy which is pretty poor compared to modern handsets on Android or iOS.
    • by MtViewGuy (197597)

      The problem is that the Nokia Lumia 900--the only Windows Phone-based cellphone that has LTE support--works only on AT&T's GSM/LTE combo network for the US version. If the Lumia 900 included a version that worked on Verizon's CDMA/LTE network, that would be a different story!

  • by rsborg (111459) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @12:50PM (#39902191) Homepage

    All I hear is, "we're making money hand over fist, but it's not all perfect...". Meanwhile they paid a negative federal tax in 2011 [1] and are lobbying for even lower taxes and local subsidies.

    The iPhone is their best selling device. The next iPhone will have LTE support (like the iPad today). Verizon just sounds like a whiny child who didn't get *everything* they wanted for Christmas.

    In short, fuck them and their entitlement complaints.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @01:22PM (#39902443) Journal
      When you think that you deserve to have everything, you'll end up talking about whatever you don't have as though it has been stolen from you.

      Unfortunately, the guillotine is out of fashion, so such conduct is allowed to occur unchecked.
    • You realize that this commentary didn't originate with Verizon, right? And that Verizon is specifically saying they're not steering people away from iPhone(which is a popular seller and money-maker for them ). The entire article is someone's linkbait speculation that Verizon might not want to sell iPhones, nothing more.

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @12:55PM (#39902233)

    I have a 4G/LTE capable Android phone (Samsung Conquer on Sprint). 4G is fast, where it's available, but I leave it off except when I really need more speed than 3G can provide and I don't have Wi-Fi available, because it kills battery life. About 90% of the time, I have Wi-Fi, and most of the remainder, 3G is fast enough. So, if and when 4G/LTE chipsets can provide the speed without a major hit to battery life, that will be a viable option. Not so coincidentally, that's exactly the reason Apple gave for not supporting LTE yet.

    So, from technical perspective, it may appear to make sense to push customers to 4G/LTE phones, many will do as I have and turn off 4G eliminating the technical advantages. Many of the others will complain about the battery life, it's not necessarily good customer relations.

    • I think its great that Verizon is trying to keep their limited and increasingly crappy 3G network a bit free. In the past year, my reception in NYC has gone to crap, on par with AT&T. That said, there is no reason to look forward to 4G. As you say, it kills battery life, and it just let's you rush towards the data cap that much faster. I'll be sticking with a non smart phone until unlimited plans come into play. It isn't that I will go over the cap every month if I get a new smart phone. Its that I want
    • I've noticed the same with my mobile hotspot and typically leave 4G off unless I'm plugging it into my laptop. On 3G the device pretty much lasts all day with typical surfing. On 4G it's drained in a couple hours.

    • I have a 4G/LTE capable Android phone (Samsung Conquer on Sprint). 4G is fast, where it's available, but I leave it off except when I really need more speed than 3G can provide and I don't have Wi-Fi available, because it kills battery life.

      That's not 4G/LTE, it's 4G/WiMAX -- totally different technologies.

      Link to phone arena [phonearena.com]

      • You're correct that it's WiMAX, not LTE. However, that doesn't change my statement at all. They're not that different [wikipedia.org]. They have similar data rates, similar modulation methods, use a 20MHz channel, and use the same transmit power. They're not interoperable, but they're not significantly different. And WiMAX is the more mature of the two technologies, which makes the point even stronger. The more mature technology still kills battery life.

    • by msauve (701917)
      " it kills battery life."

      No, it doesn't. LTE is actually claimed to be more efficient than CDMA. Where LTE consumes more power than CDMA, it's delivering much greater bandwidth.

      The problem is, current networks continue to use CDMA for voice, adding LTE only for data. That's what kills battery life - having to run multiple radios. A current 4G phone has to do everything a 3G phone does, and more. I'd expect that once a carrier has completely built out their LTE network and gotten it tweaked, they'll roll
      • Sorry, but the evidence doesn't support that claim.

        • by msauve (701917)
          Sorry, but unless you can point to a LTE-only phone, you don't have any evidence.
          • A phone doesn't need to be LTE only to provide evidence. The differential power draw/battery life when LTE is enabled/disabled is sufficient, and it demonstrates that LTE when enabled, but not actively in use significantly reduces battery life enough to make the claim unsupported.

            LTE may be more efficient per byte, but unless you can power down the transceiver to a the same idle power when data isn't being transmitted (yet it's still listening for incoming data), then LTE will use more power and shorten bat

            • by msauve (701917)
              Meh. You're simply wrong.

              Relying on the difference in current draw for a specific current phone is naive, at best. For the reason that assuming the delta in power draw from turning off the LTE radio isn't an accurate reflection of the actual power usage for LTE, you need to understand how Verizon's active dual-mode accesses the network, and the power costs involved in tracking, and switching between separate CDMA and LTE connections.

              You need to read up on SC-FDMA, CDMA2000, PAPR and frequency diversity
  • in a new shiny chrome welcome box and the they flock to it.

    The newwwww Alante booty shake, booty shake, booty shake....

  • by wealthychef (584778) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @01:07PM (#39902331)
    This article misses a major clue -- people who are buying iPhones are not doing so because their carrier steers them towards them. As many people know about the iPhone as know about Verizon. There are people who wouldn't switch to Verizon because they didn't offer the iPhone. Name another phone that people do that for. The truth is, if Apple pushes people away from Verizon it will make a bigger difference for Verizon than it will for Apple if Verizon steers people away from iPhone.
    • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @01:31PM (#39902517)

      I have about 14 friends who got first generation droid phones back before the iPhone came to Verizon. The reason was it was the closest to an iPhone Verizon had and they were not going to go to AT&T. Given the difference in coverage in that area, Verizon had an advantage. That was 2010. I was back visiting recently and what surprised me was the fact they ALL had iPhones now. Every single one when they went to renew their contracts chose the iPhone over the newer droids.

      Yeah I know, circumstantial evidence I know, but in the same time frame I've known exactly 1 of my friends who left the iPhone for the Droid Razr. Now a lot of my friends have left AT&T (including myself) for other carriers, but they've stayed with the iPhone.

    • by oakgrove (845019)
      I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile when the first Android G1 came out.
    • by jbolden (176878)

      The customers you are talking about the loyal to semi-loyal Apple people are Verizon's high margin customers. They don't want to steer them anywhere but towards more accessories and additional services. But there is a huge group of consumers who know about the iPhone but are very iffy about it. On the surface, and quite often in reality the Android phones can look like a better value for what you get: even though the iPhone subsidies are higher Apple's profit margins can be much higher. Verizon also h

    • by jbolden (176878)

      I forgot to mention I've been a Verizon customer since about 2000. They tried to steer me away from iPhone when they first got it, and I was thinking of paying the penalty to get a phone sooner.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      I won't get Verizon because their network implementation is CDMA/LTE, and incompatible with most of the good Android phones out there. How's that for an answer? I know I'm not alone in this.

      • I won't get Verizon because their network implementation is CDMA/LTE, and incompatible with most of the good Android phones out there. How's that for an answer? I know I'm not alone in this.

        It's a good answer. :-) I won't get Verizon because they have notoriously bad customer service. It used to be AT&T was terrible in that area, but they have greatly improved. I wonder if verizon have improved as well. I think they have better coverage.

  • by PNutts (199112) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @01:08PM (#39902341)

    Verizon may quietly push Android phones.

    Or they may not.

  • by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @01:13PM (#39902381) Homepage

    I'll just quote from the source articles and let you make up your own minds.

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/03/technology/verizon-iphone-sales/ [cnn.com]

    Anecdotal evidence is stacking up on chat forums and other outlets...

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/03/technology/verizon-iphone-sales/ [cnn.com]

    A pretty hot story is going around, stoked by CNNMoney...

    [give some facts]

    Maybe those are minor factors, but they aren't the primary reason.

    [reach any conclusion you want]

    MAYBE it's true, maybe it's not, but I fucking hate "new media".

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @01:18PM (#39902423)

    This past spring I was shopping for a new small business account. My contract for my iPhone had expired with AT&T so I did my shopping. One of the major things I wanted was tethering so I could connect my laptop or iPad (wifi only) when I needed to on the road.

    Sprint sold me on a mobile plan for the iPhone which is about $70 a month plus a 3g/4g Mobile hotspot instead of tethering. Even with both lines it's still about $40 a month cheaper than either AT&T or Verizon with 6GB of transfer vs 4GB for "tethering". Not to mention the deposit for a new small business account was a lot less with Sprint vs. AT&T or Verizon.

    So I have 4G speeds with the iPhone via the hotspot if I want them. Or if I'm getting close to my data limit, I can do more of my business with the iPhone's unlimited data at 3G speeds.

  • On an iphone, the 30% cut goes directly to Apple. On an android, the 30% cut goes to the carrier. This bribe from Google was obviously a component in the widespread adoption of android by the carriers - although I've no idea how large of a component. I wonder how much that affects marketing issues like this. I don't see why they wouldn't be throwing a few more advertising dollars in favor of the phone that nets them a higher income.
    • by jbolden (176878)

      Oh all things being equal the carriers love Android and hate Apple. But things aren't equal. The 30% is just a tip but the extra $50 in subsidy really bites. Worse than that though is the brand loyalty issue. If Verizon stopped carrying Motorola no one is following them out the door. But RIM used to and Apple does have the kind of brand loyalty where customers would change carriers to get the phone in large numbers. And those are the least price sensitive, i.e. highest margin customers of Verizon.

      If

  • "Why Verizon Doesn't Want You To Buy an iPhone"
     
    Why I Care What Telecoms Want:
     
    ... hmm, sorry, coming up dry on this one.

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