Will Verizon’s iPhone Pass the SXSW Test?

Some quick thoughts and analysis on what may or may not be the final pricing plans for Verizon’s upcoming iPhone and its embedded Wi-Fi hotspot capability — and why we think the upcoming South by Southwest geekfest will be a big real-world test for Verizon’s network capabilities:

Unlimited? Get it While You Can! Despite a lot of wonderfully insightful commentary about why they shouldn’t, Verizon Tuesday confirmed that it would indeed offer an unlimited data plan for the iPhone upon launch — and then immediately backtracked a bit, saying it might only last a little while, whatever that means. As Karl Bode and others pointed out it does make sense for Verizon to offer such a plan chiefly to entice all the folks with older “unlimited” iPhone plans with AT&T to switch and become a new, long-term contract Verizon customer. Our take? If you really want an iPhone from Verizon by all means sign up for the unlimited plan if you can, because it won’t last.

Will 2 GB for Hotspot Usage be Enough? The reason why the Silicon Valley geek patrol got so enthused about a true “unlimited” Verizon iPhone data plan was because they thought it meant that they would be able to use the embedded Wi-Fi router capability in unlimited fashion as well. But Verizon put the kibosh on that idea later in the day Tuesday when the company confirmed that hotspot capability would cost an extra $20 per month with a 2 GB per month cap on data downloads. (The hotspot and its ability to be a huge data pipeline was one of the main reasons we argued that there wouldn’t be a true unlimited data plan for the Verizon iPhone so in a sense we were correct. Kinda.)

In doing so, Verizon probably dashed the dreams of the cutting-edge Apple-flavored geekonistas, who would love nothing more than to have just an iPhone and an iPad, with the former’s hotspot acting as the broadband pipe to the latter’s excellent display. But with just 2 GB a month to play with, I don’t think the combo will be as popular as it might be.

Is Verizon Ready for SXSW? If chance conversations at CES were any barometer, Verizon should be prepared for a lot more AT&T iPhone customer conversions than it might think. Had Verizon set up a booth in Vegas, they could have gotten at least a few thousand instant converts judging by the many complaints and at-times complete inoperability of AT&T iPhones during the show. Since those folks were ready to just throw their AT&T iPhones over the ledge of the Palms Casino’s Ghost Bar it stands to reason that they will leap at any kind of trade-in program that gives them some value. My prediction is that a Verizon iPhone-iPad combo will be the new black at SXSW this year — giving us perhaps the first indication whether or not Verizon’s heralded network can handle the bandwidth surges possible from an iPhone phenomenon.

5 Responses to “Will Verizon’s iPhone Pass the SXSW Test?”

  1. Russ Says:

    AT&T’s HSPA network is much faster than Verizon’s EV-DO implementation. If you’ve got an iPhone with AT&T and want access to Verizon’s network as well, why not just buy a MiFi 2200 and subscribe to Verizon’s $50 5GB data plan?

    Think about it? Using an iPhone - on either network - as a Hotspot will quickly drain your battery. Then where are you besides screwed. With a MiFi 2200, it has its own battery and you can carry additional ones in your bag or pocket to swap out with depleted ones, as needed. Every try doin’ that with a non-removable iPhone battery?

    Secondly, it get the Hotspot functionality on a Verizon iPhone 4 is gonna cost you $20 for the first 2GB and $20 for each 1GB thereafter. That’s a whopping $80 for 5GB versus only $50 on the MiFi. PLUS, there’ll be no longer a need to pay AT&T a $300+ early termination fee to switch carriers.

    And lastly, when you’re in a market where you get a great AT&T signal you’ll be abke to speed along at 2-3 times faster than you would on an EV-DO network and when you’re in an area where the AT&T signal sucks, you’ll have the option of switching to the MiFi and connecting your iPhone via WiFi which drains your battery much slower than when connected via 3G.

    The best of BOTH worlds for a lousy 50 bucks and if you’ll have combined data allocation of both devices devices to play with each month.

    An insightful, no brainer decision, really. How do I know it’ll work out, you ask? Cause this has been my two device configuration for the last three years … and while all the losers have been grumbling about being “victims of AT&T, I’ve having’ a ball … with no regrets.

    Of course this assumes you don’t enjoy hearing yourself whine like a little school girl …

  2. Russ Says:

    Want an even better solution? Don’t buy the Verizon MiFi now. Wait 45 days and purchase the new Verizon MiFi 4510 with LTE, EV-DO, and a sharable GPS built-in.

    While all your iPhone 4 buddies are limited to surfing the web on either AT&T HSPA or Verizon’s EV-DO 3G networks, you’ll be able to cruise both or better yet, Verizon’s brand spanking new LTE speed demon, where available (presently in 38 markets and at 60 airports nationwide).

    Rock out on both networks and leave the incessant whining to the all-too-impotent (and not-terribly-bright) little girls

  3. Paul Says:

    I appreciate the data insights, but could do without the sexist insults. Let’s keep it humorous and insightful going forward, please.

  4. Atlanta Roofing Says:

    I don’t think it will stop people from going to Verizon especially if they have bad network coverage…as many people are just frustrated with AT&T
    they should concentrate on making their network better and not on things like this…

  5. fresno bankruptcy attorney Says:

    AT&T should offer just one plan $10 for each GB consumed

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