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Verizon follows AT&T’s price increase with one of its own

The company says it’s trying to find a balance between price hikes and service

If you’re a Verizon customer, get ready for a price hike. Following AT&T’s recently announced price increase, Verizon is doing the same for both consumer and business accounts – the first increase the company has imposed in two years.

According to Bloomberg News, consumers will pay $1.35 more per month starting in June for each voice line. However, those with "basic service" plans will only pay an additional $0.98. Verizon is couching the price change as an “economic adj...

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    More than 10,000 Verizon employees accepted buyout offer

    The company is moving forward with its restructuring effort as it prepares for 5G launch

    On Monday, Verizon said that more than 10,000 employees (or around 7 percent of its workforce) accepted its buyout offer, first announced in September.

    The carrier said previously that it aimed to save $10 billion by 2021 and thin out its workforce as part of its effort to prepare for the launch of its 5G network service.

    In addition to cutting costs, the buyout program was intended to give Verizon "an opportunity to find more efficiencies in the size and scope of our V Team and help expedite the building of an innovative operating model for our future," CEO Hans Vestberg said in a memo to employees in September.

    Restructuring ahead of 5G rollout

    Verizon offered 44,000 employees across all of its business segments three weeks’ pay for every year at the company, up to 60 weeks. Verizon promised earlier this fall that its cost-cutting drive wouldn’t affect sales executives or managers in "crucial company roles.”  

    The end dates for the employees who accepted the buyout offer range from the end of 2018 to June 2019.

    “For those who were accepted, the coming weeks and months will be a transition. For the entire V Team, there will be opportunities to work differently as we prepare for the great things to come at Verizon,” Vestberg said in a note to employees.

    Verizon is currently taking steps to prepare for the rollout of 5G network service.

    “These changes are well-planned and anticipated, and they will be seamless to our customers,” Vestberg said in a statement. “This is a moment in time, given our financial and operational strength, to begin to better serve customers with more agility, speed and flexibility.”

    On Monday, Verizon said that more than 10,000 employees (or around 7 percent of its workforce) accepted its buyout offer, first announced in September....
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    Verizon’s severance package offer extended to 44,000 managers

    The carrier’s cost-cutting drive could eliminate more than a quarter of its workforce

    Verizon’s voluntary severance package offering, made last month, was extended to roughly 44,000 employees, the company confirmed to The Wall Street Journal. That works out to more than a quarter of the carrier’s total workforce.

    The severance packages are part of a four-year plan to save the company $10 billion and give it "an opportunity to find more efficiencies in the size and scope of our V Team and help expedite the building of an innovative operating model for our future," CEO Hans Vestberg wrote in a memo to employees and reviewed by the Journal.

    Employees eligible for the severance packages were offered three weeks’ pay for every year at the company, up to 60 weeks.

    Verizon -- which has more than 153,000 employees -- said the cost-cutting drive won’t affect sales executives or managers in "crucial company roles.”  

    The same day the severance package offer was announced, the carrier notified about 2,500 of its IT employees that they were being transferred to Indian outsourcing giant Infosys as part of a $700 million outsourcing agreement. Employees that received this notification aren’t eligible for severance payments and will not receive their 2018 bonus if they are offered a job at Infosys and do not accept it.

    Verizon is currently rolling out the nation's first 5G wireless service in a number of cities. Last month, the carrier began inviting people in the selected cities (Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento) to sign up for the service.

    Verizon’s voluntary severance package offering, made last month, was extended to roughly 44,000 employees, the company confirmed to The Wall Street Journal...
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    Verizon is giving customers six months of free Apple Music

    The offer is valid for new and existing Verizon Unlimited plan subscribers

    Starting August 16, new and existing Verizon customers can get six months of free access to Apple Music with an unlimited plan. The deal will give customers full, ad-free access to the music streaming service's 45 million songs on any of their devices.

    In a statement, Verizon hinted that more perks will grow out of this partnership by noting that this is “just the first step.”

    "It gives our customers exactly what they want: Apple's best-in-class music streaming experience, paired with an unlimited plan tailored to them, on the network they deserve," said Angie Klein, Verizon's vice president of marketing, in a statement.

    "And now that you can mix and match our unlimited plans, every person in your family can stream worry-free on the unlimited plan they need, without paying for things they don't."

    Competing with rivals

    In June, Verizon introduced a higher tier plan with added high-speed data. Sprint and AT&T both relaunched their data offerings to include more expensive options. As ConsumerAffairs recently reported, T-Mobile took a different route by announcing a cheaper, stripped down unlimited plan that is set to launch on Friday.

    Verizon is joining other carriers that have introduced plans that allow consumers to bundle with music streaming services. Sprint has been giving away free Tidal subscriptions with its Unlimited Plus plan for some time. Prior to its partnership with Tidal, Sprint used to bundle plans with access to Spotify premium.

    Verizon will post more about the registration process for the offer on its website August 16.

    Starting August 16, new and existing Verizon customers can get six months of free access to Apple Music with an unlimited plan. The deal will give customer...
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    Verizon unveils new, pricier unlimited data plan

    Customers can get even more high-speed data

    On Thursday, Verizon released a pricer, third-tier unlimited data plan entitled “aboveunlimited.” The new plan joins “gounlimited” and “beyondlimited,” both of which vary in terms of what they offer customers.

    Unlimited data plans have experienced a great deal of evolution over the years. Last year, Verizon broke its unlimited plans into two options for customers, and it ultimately comes down to cost. Now, the company has introduced a third plan into the mix.

    “It’s very simple,” said Ronan Dunne, president of Verizon Wireless. “We’re confident people will enjoy the choice.”

    What “aboveunlimited” looks like

    The “aboveunlimited” plan appears to be designed for users who use a ton of data.

    The plan includes unlimited data for high-definition videos for up to 75 GB of data before Verizon intervenes, as well as 20 GB of mobile hotspot data at LTE speeds, five “TravelPasses” that offer one day of international data usage per month, and 500 GB of Verizon Cloud service. Prices range from $60 to $95 per line.

    With an additional unlimited plan, Verizon is now allowing customers to mix and match between three different tiers for different phone lines on family plans. Under the current system, all lines must be on the same plan. Customers are free to switch back and forth between the tiers as they see necessary, and existing customers can also make the change.

    “When I introduced the Verizon unlimited plan back in February of last year, it was a real reset of the market and a game changer,” Dunne said. “And we said at the time we would continue to evolve and expand that portfolio to broaden out the match with customers.”

    According to Dunne, “aboveunlimited” is geared towards “the person who wants it all.”

    With the announcement of the new plan, Verizon also reduced its charge per line for all three tiers of unlimited plans as a customer adds more lines. For example, with the “aboveunlimited” plan, customers will pay $90 per month per line for two lines, $70 with three lines, and $60 with four lines.

    Market trends

    Verizon didn’t enter the unlimited data market until last February, though other carriers had offered customers unlimited data for some time. When first released, Verizon only offered one unlimited plan. It later expanded to a cheaper, though more restrictive, tier in August.

    At the time of the first unlimited plan release, Verizon was struggling with losing customers. Before unlimited data, Verizon lost a net of 398,000 regular monthly phone customers -- the most it had ever lost in a quarter. In adding the unlimited plan, though one that was pricier than competitors like Sprint and T-Mobile, the company regained 109,000 monthly customers.

    However, the release of this latest unlimited plan comes at a better time for the company. Verizon reported having added 260,000 regular monthly subscribers in the first quarter.

    Despite the positive news, Verizon decided to raise prices of this latest unlimited plan at a time when other cell phone providers are looking to keep customers -- for cheaper. Last week, Sprint introduced a plan that would cost just $15 a month -- with a promise to never go up. T-Mobile offers free Netflix and AT&T throws in HBO with an unlimited plan. However, Verizon is steadfast in its belief that customers are paying for a higher quality provider.

    “There’s been a very positive, consistent trend in the performance of Verizon Wireless over the last few quarters,” Dunne said. “I think it’s fair to say objectively based on our performance since some of our competitors changed their offerings, we’ve not seen any increase in our churn... and we’ve continued to see high levels of customer engagement and satisfaction.”

    On Thursday, Verizon released a pricer, third-tier unlimited data plan entitled “aboveunlimited.” The new plan joins “gounlimited” and “beyondlimited,” bot...
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    Yahoo Messenger shutting down in July

    The company says it plans to focus on building new communications tools that better fit consumer needs

    After 20 years in operation, Yahoo Messenger will be shutting down on July 17.

    The news -- which was announced by Oath, a Verizon subsidiary that owns both Yahoo and AOL -- comes six months after AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was shut down.

    Competition from messaging apps built by Skype, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook has made it difficult for Yahoo Messenger to stay relevant. Going forward, Yahoo says it will be “focusing on building and introducing new, exciting communications tools that better fit consumer needs.”

    The company is redirecting users to its new group messaging application, Squirrel.

    “There currently isn’t a replacement product available for Yahoo Messenger. We’re constantly experimenting with new services and apps, one of which is an invite-only group messaging app called Yahoo Squirrel (currently in beta),” Oath said.

    Consumers can request access to the beta version of Squirrel here.

    For the next six months, users can download their chat history from Yahoo Messenger by visiting this website, signing in with their Yahoo account, choosing a verification method, and then entering an email address where the download can be sent.

    After 20 years in operation, Yahoo Messenger will be shutting down on July 17. The news -- which was announced by Oath, a Verizon subsidiary that owns...
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