While the top three wireless service providers in the US often take quite some time to respond to each other’s best promotions and publicity stunts, it certainly wasn’t long before Verizon joined AT&T in raising prices.
Of course, both airlines had explored different avenues in recent months to keep up with rising inflation, as confirmed by top executives in April. Verizon appears to have taken a substantially different path toward “economic adjustment” than that of its arch-rival, and is preparing to add a special surcharge to virtually all wireless billing starting in June.
That is clearly the bad news originally rreported today by Bloomberg, but the good news is that many customers may not even notice the change once implemented. Compared to AT&T’s $6 and $12 monthly increases for individual lines and families, respectively, Big Red’s $1.35 universal consumer increase sounds like peanuts.
On the other hand, while the country’s third-largest mobile network operator decided by subscribers alone to overcharge “older” plans in a move aimed in part at boosting “unlimited” user numbers, the latest surcharge of Verizon may affect the entire (leading) customer base, which will undoubtedly generate a lot of additional profit for investors in the future.
That includes business customers, mind you, with their monthly bills going up to $2.20 for cell phone data plans and just $0.98 for “basic service plans.”
Again, that doesn’t sound very drastic or dramatic and is unlikely to cause a significant drop in subscriber numbers in the short term, but if T-Mobile can resist this worrisome and unusual trend, we may be looking at yet another (small) ) reason why Verizon’s long-term supremacy is far from guaranteed.
Keep in mind that T-Mo explicitly invoked the nation’s “high inflation climate” at the unveiling of Price Lock, a new “Un-carrier” initiative designed to protect “all new postpaid and broadband customers with eligible tariff plans” from such future moves that mimic competition. Of course, “new” and “eligible” are the keywords there, leaving plenty of room for Magenta to soon follow AT&T’s lead, at least in part, so don’t be surprised if that’s exactly what’s up in a week or two.
One policy specialist describes this as a “raise your prices-while-you-can” moment for many US companies, and whether or not T-Mobile needs to join the party to keep investors happy, it can be hard to resist taking advantage of that moment to maximize profits.