updated 02:00 pm EDT, Thu April 19, 2012
Verizon Q1 call vows progress on plans, devices
As part of the call discussing its fiscal results, Verizon on Thursday both narrowed down its shared data plan schedule and reiterated that it was still interested in Windows Phone. The shared data would be coming in mid-summer, CFO Fran Shammo said. The tier is expected to significantly reduce the cost of having more than one smartphone in a family.
The executive outlined the importance of Windows Phone as a balance versus Apple and Google. Having a third platform was important, Shammo said when asked about supporting Microsoft. He alluded to Verizon effectively kickstarting Android with the original Motorola Droid launch in fall 2009, taking it from what was largely irrelevance to the only major competition to the iPhone.
"We helped create the Android platform from the beginning, and it is an incredible platform today, and we are looking to do the same thing with a third ecosystem," he said, making no mention of the BlackBerry.
In the past, Verizon has said that Windows Phone support depends on LTE support, which should be an option this year. All its smartphone releases this year are expected to use 4G, including the iPhone by extension, and no company has yet produced a Windows Phone with both CDMA and LTE. The only Windows Phone for Verizon to date is the nearly year-old CDMA adaptation of the HTC Trophy.
Carriers outside of Verizon and the US have as a whole been eager to create a viable third option following RIM's rapid slide and the rises of both Apple and Google. The providers both have an economic incentive in catering to a wider audience as well as an interest in attempting to retake control of the customer experience, which swung towards hardware makers and actual customers with the iPhone. Having a third realistic choice lets carriers wield more pressure against phone OS designers, since they could more safely choose to drop a hardware partner or downplay their marketing if they don't agree to make certain changes.
Android and the iPhone combined made up about 84 percent of Verizon's smartphone sales, leaving it with few options to restrict what either Apple or Google can do.