Posted February 4, 2011 5:48 pm by with 2 comments

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Yesterday, Verizon had their most successful first day opening in their history when they opened the virtual doors to iPhone pre-sales. But while they were taking in money with one hand, they were changing the rules with the other. That “unlimited monthly data plan,” they’ve been advertising is about to become . . . well. . . limited-ish.

As Verizon puts it, the iPhone network is “a shared resource among tens of millions of customers.” That means that they have to balance the needs of the many by reducing service to a few.

A spokesperson was quoted in the LA Times as saying:

“If you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand.”

Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, how about this? Verizon said that it may compress large images and videos on websites and in apps. They also say they might “get rid of some colors and decrease resolution of videos, photos and text in a way that . . . won’t be noticed by most users.”

Most users? Okay, they’re probably right. Most people won’t notice if your logo is now more orange than bright red, but it’s still your logo and they shouldn’t be messing with it, should they?

Here’s one more from the LA Times article:

“The optimization process is agnostic to the content itself and to the website that provides it. While we invest much effort to avoid changing text, image, and video files in the compression process and while any change to the file is likely to be indiscernible, the optimization process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on your device.”

Wow, that’s a lot of techno-babble to cover something they claim most people won’t notice. Now, I agree that 95% of Verizon’s iPhone users shouldm’t have to suffer because 5% of the people want to stream movies 24/7 on their phone but these other changes sound a mite suspicious. What it sounds like is a bit of bait and switch. Lure people in with an “all you can eat” special then fill the buffet with wilted lettuce and last night’s pasta.

But forgetting the users for a moment, what does this mean for you, the marketer? You put in the dollars and effort to turn out the best mobile materials but Verizon’s going to change them if they take up too much space.

Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s the same as cutting off the edges of a movie to make it fit on your TV screen. Or maybe it means mobile ad and app designers will have to change their designs or have them changed for them.

What do you think? No big deal or is Verizon stepping out of bounds with their new data management plan?

  • Verizon still has better reception and data plans that AT&T. The iPhone is surely going to give Verizon an even bigger leg up in the mobile user department.

  • No meter what is inside it have a great look.