Verizon CEO expects data pricing tiers within six months

It's following AT&T's lead, but not with same plans, Seidenberg says

Tiered data pricing is coming to Verizon Wireless customers within four to six months, Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg said at an investor conference early Thursday.

Verizon is expected to begin tiered pricing along with the launch of 4G LTE networks and devices, something that Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam had predicted at a different investor conference in May. Verizon Wireless is a division of Verizon Communications.

AT&T introduced a two-tier pricing scheme earlier this year, but Seidenberg said the tiers would be different for Verizon. "We didn't need to be first on tiered pricing," he said at a Goldman Sachs conference. (An audio replay is available online.)

Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse on Wednesday said Sprint is not expected to impose tiered pricing, which is also sometimes called metered pricing. But he said, "we will watch it closely."

Carriers are concerned that smartphones with large screens and fast processors will sap network capacity with heavy data downloads, thereby limiting capacity for other users.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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