Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Verizon Cuts EV-DO Pricing..Sort Of

I first covered the rumors that Verizon would cut its EV-DO data network pricing plan by 25 percent on Saturday. The price cut was formally announced yesterday and the Contra Costa Times picks up the story, which coincided with Verizon finally offering EV-DO access in the Bay Area. Kind of boggles the mind that one of the most connected regions in the U.S. and home of Silicon Valley would receive Verizon's high-speed mobile data network many months after 30+ other cities, but that's another story.

The CC Times article notes the reduced pricing of $60 a month is for laptop users and requires a EV-DO adapter card although it fails to mention you have to be a Verizon Wireless customer as well.

Ken Dulaney at Gartner seemed skeptical consumers would embrace 3G data networks. "The big problem is 3G mobile operators have done a terrible job understanding what people need," he said. According to Dulaney, "Business travelers, for example, depend on their Blackberry handsets to keep tabs on their e-mail and phone messages, then use their laptops to connect to the Internet once they reach their destination."

Here's another reason consumers will be slow to flock to high-speed data networks on their mobile devices. Price. While Verizon did knock $20 off the monthly cost for laptops to access their EV-DO network, it only went from very expensive ($80) to expensive. More importantly, they left their unlimted data plan for handhelds, like the Treo 650 and the Samsung i730, untouched. It still costs $45 a month. With DSL pricing for the home now at $14.95, how many people will be willing to pay 3 times that for broadband on the go? Early adopters and corproate users. If they want more people to use and explore the network and also get a leg up on the competition, Verizon better drop the price and fast. Then again I can always wait til Sprint and Cingular roll out their networks and prices fall...