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Analyst: Verizon’s unlimited data play could harm network in the long run

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Analyst: Verizon’s unlimited data play could harm network in the long run
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Verizon is riding high these days with two recent industry accolades naming it the #1 wireless network in America for coverage and reliability and singling it out for having the fastest 4G LTE network in America.

But could the company’s decision to return to unlimited data put its reputation at risk with a crash-and-burn scenario?

That’s the word on the street from some industry analysts…

Read more: Best cell phone plans and deals for 2017

Kudos for Verizon, but concerns are mounting too

For years, Verizon was the lone holdout among the Big 4 wireless carriers in not offering unlimited data plans.

AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile basically had the unlimited data field to themselves.

But then on Feb. 13, everything changed when Verizon announced its return to unlimited data.

That move no doubt stoked a lot of wireless customers!

After all, Verizon has the fastest average LTE download speeds (16.89 Mbps) and the best LTE network reliability (88.17%) of the Big 4, according to the results of the latest OpenSignal report.

Analysts: Verizon's unlimited data play could harm network in the long run

Just days after that news came out, we learned that Verizon clinched the top spot in RootMetrics‘ test of the Big 4 for the seventh consecutive time with an overall score of 93.9. 

RootMetrics graded the carriers on reliability, speed, data, call and text performance.

Analysts: Verizon's unlimited data play could harm network in the long run

But there’s one group of people who aren’t excited about Verizon’s return to unlimited data: The Wall Street analysts!

Here’s why Verizon’s unlimited play could be its undoing

Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics LLC, told Bloomberg that Verizon’s dive back into unlimited data could threaten the very quality of the network that has won it so many industry plaudits.

“An unlimited offer is dangerous,” Entner says. “If they sign up a lot of people, it will congest the network, and they run the risk of people saying ‘the network sucks.’”

The strength of the Verizon network has long been the secret sauce that allowed it to maintain high prices as competitors — especially T-Mobile — raced to the bottom to see who could offer the best deal on unlimited service.

But as more and more people jump on Verizon because of its stellar network reputation, that puts the squeeze on spectrum.

Bloomberg reports Verizon already has the least amount of spectrum to offer customers among the Big 4.

Analysts: Verizon's unlimited data play could harm network in the long run

So that’s one analyst’s point of view. Still other analysts think Verizon’s entry back into the unlimited data arena is actually a carefully calculated move that could be fruit.

“Verizon appears to believe not only that their network is prepared for the inevitable volumes that will come with unlimited video, but that their competitors are not,” analyst Craig Moffett told Bloomberg.

T-Mobile HD video 10 GB high-speed hotspot data

Moffett’s thinking is that Verizon chose to jump back into unlimited data at this exact moment because AT&T is preoccupied with its Time Warner acquisition while Sprint — the smallest of the Big 4 players — remains the 98-lb. weakling of the wireless world.

T-Mobile, however, could pose a serious threat to Verizon.

The ‘Un-carrier’ recently added HD video and 10 GB of high-speed hotspot data to its $70-a-month unlimited plan to compete with Verizon’s latest offer.

And with T-Mobile, the pricing includes all taxes and fees, which is unique among the Big 4 carriers. So $70 a month is truly $70 a month and not a penny more!

But who is really cheapest of all for unlimited?

In all the sound and fury in the wireless world, it’s easy for this simple fact to get obscured: The cheapest unlimited offer of all comes from Sprint.

Sprint starts at $50 a month for a single line. A family can get five lines of unlimited data for $90 a month, but that’s a limited-time promotion. That rate is good through the end of March 2018, at which point you would pay Sprint’s regular rate of $180 for five lines.

Like Verizon service? Total Wireless offers it cheaper!

Tracfone has a new service with Verizon called Total Wireless. This hidden gem offers the same service, same towers, same everything as Verizon at a price you’re unaccustomed to from a Big 4 wireless carrier: $35 a month for unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 5 GB of data — all with no contract.

When Clark first talked about this service last year it had a catch: It would only run on Verizon’s 3G network. That was a deal breaker for many people. But no more! Total Wireless is now 4G too!

‘It’s the best service available for people that want to be on Verizon’s network,’ Clark says.

With Total Wireless, you can typically use the same phone you currently have from Verizon as long as you’ve completed your contract with the carrier. Enter your phone number or serial number here to find out.

Read more: 3 unlimited data plan ‘gotchas’ hidden in the fine print

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Source: These apps let you send cash from your phone for free by Clark on Rumble

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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