Verizon CEO: “Eventually, Unlimited has to Go Away”

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 1:10pm
Ben Munson

Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam doesn’t see any way for unlimited to work in wireless.

Speaking at Citi 2014 Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference, McAdam said carriers can’t keep servicing incremental bits without seeing incremental revenues.

“Eventually, unlimited has to go away,” McAdam said, adding that competitors who do offer unlimited data will do some crazy things when they’re on the edge of bankruptcy.

McAdam has recently denounced unlimited, telling a different investor conference audience that physics bars the practice from being sustainable. Both Sprint and T-Mobile, a distant third and fourth behind Verizon and AT&T, offer unlimited data plans.

Still, McAdam encouraged healthy competition and applauded T-Mobile’s un-carrier moves, saying they benefit consumers and move the industry in positive, profitable directions.

Talking about customer switching incentives, like the deal targeted at T-Mobile that AT&T recently announced, McAdam said they come and go and don’t necessarily buy customer loyalty. He advocated all four carriers focus on investing in their networks and differentiating through solutions offered.

Addressing the congestion on Verizon’s LTE network, McAdam talked about the generally positive reactions in markets where Verizon has deployed on AWS to accommodate the extra traffic. Being the first to substantially complete a nationwide LTE rollout, Verizon has been the first to experience issues with capacity.

When prompted about Verizon having lowest amount of spectrum per subscriber, McAdam noted that as a reason why arguments for holding Verizon out of spectrum auctions don’t hold water.

“We’ll always participate in any auction that comes along,” McAdam said, adding that Verizon will definitely participate in the upcoming AWS and 600 MHz auctions. He explained Verizon’s absence from the upcoming H Block auction, saying that spectrum didn’t fit with the rest of Verizon’s portfolio. He offered a similar explanation for why his company yesterday sold to T-Mobile a bunch of 700 MHz A Block licenses.

“It wasn’t contiguous enough,” he said of the spectrum that fetched $2.4 billion along with certain AWS and PCS licenses from T-Mobile.



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