Verizon PopData: time-based mobile data for just a few cents per GB

Tuesday 25 October 2016 | 14:40 CET | Market Commentary
Verizon has introduced a new offer called PopData: paying for a short period of intensive LTE use at low nominal rates (USD 2 for 30 minutes, USD 3 for an hour). While the commercial success will likely be limited, the concept is interesting. 

Verizon targets the service at customers with limited data allowances who may sometimes want to use a large amount of data, without having to top up for another month. For example, customers with 2 GB for USD 35 per month, including unlimited calls and SMS. Verizon assumes these customers are mostly on Wi-Fi, and PopData offers a good addition to this. 

Assuming a top speed of 300 Mbps over Verizon's network, a customer could theoretically use 135 GB in an hour. At USD 3 per hour, that comes to a price of just 2.2 cents per GB. 

The mobile industry normally charges based on usage or speed, and Verizon is adding a new time-based component. Other operators use this type of billing often at night, when customers can use unlimited or very low costs data. 

PopData may prove interesting for low-use customers and show them what it's like to have access to unlimited data, leading to upselling to bigger data plans. This could also prove interesting for operators wanting to add a free element to their offer, but coming up against net neutrality rules. PopData is not free, but with a cost of just a few cents per GB, it's very close. 

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