Verizon pitched me recently on doing a post on its Friends & Family calling program launched in February. That’s where qualifying customers can exclude five or ten numbers from counting against their plan minutes.
So I asked Verizon how many have taken advantage of the “free” program and what does Verizon get out of it. Verizon New England spokesman Mike Murphy didn’t answer either question, but did extol the benefits of F&F. So I am left to speculate.
My guess F&F sweetens the pot for customers to upgrade their basic plans to the $60 a month Nationwide Single Line plan which is required for the five F&F package or the $90 Nationwide Family SharePlan for the ten. Or to switch to Verizon from another carrier (a quick check of AT&T plans shows it still only has unlimited inter-network mobile to mobile by comparison). While Verizon says F&F is “free,” the company isn’t giving away anything because you have to sign up for the qualifying plans.
Still, F&F for minute gobblers is a good deal and should not be overlooked especially if you already qualify (Shame on me – I qualify for the ten, but have yet to take advantage of it).
Murphy did have a few interesting things to say about what Verizon has invested in its 3G network in New England -$240 million last year and $2.4 billion since 2000. The motive here is spread the word about the huge capital investment it takes to build these networks to assuage the sting of $40 or $60 a month for 3G wireless broadband, for example. Hey, these networks don’t grow on trees so we all have to pay.
Indeed, Verizon is on a roll with its 86.6 million wireless customers which makes one other of Murphy’s comment all the more intriguing. Besides things like its network and F&F, Verizon, he says, has curried customer favor with the company’s aggressive lawsuits against spammers.
“Maybe some of that loyalty is due in part to these lawsuits against spammers!?!” Murphy says. In early May, the company filed suit against a mortgage company for allegedly sending 800,000 spam text messages to Verizon customers.