Verizon has been making aggressive moves to break out of the CDMA corner. The first operator to truly drive LTE deployments, the company now covers some 80% of the US population with it’s new high-speed network.
LTE is, of course, very high speed, but as we’ve discussed in the past, it is also very low latency. I believe latency is becoming the most important metric. Latency is critical for any real-time communications – and particularly voice over IP.
With near nationwide LTE coverage, over the top (OTT) VoIP providers see Verizon’s network as an ideal platform for actually *replacing* the mobile operator’s core voice service.
What’s an operator to do? Verizon could try to ‘out VoIP’ the VoIP providers – innovate faster and create more value quickly than the other guys.
But I think with their new “Share Everything” plan, they have decided to simply take domestic voice/SMS off the table. A smartphone ($40/month) or feature phone ($30/month) has a flat ‘connection’ rate ostensibly to access Verizon’s network. Bundled into that flat rate is unlimited voice and SMS.
This approach is similar to the evolution of consumer voice on the fixed network. For years consumers bought ‘telephone’ service, which came with a piece of copper into the home.
Quickly fixed operators stopped selling ‘phone service’ and started selling DSL. People bought DSL lines (or data access), which includes POTS and the ability to make phone calls. Quickly POTS was sidelined in favor of Internet access, and voice calls were simply thrown into the mix.
We're moving beyond voice and message into access and value-added data services. Verizon's move to wrap up voice/messaging into a flat-rate plan is a smart move... for Verizon.