A key to being successful in a congested, competitive marketplace is defining your points of differentiation and stressing on them to ensure you have something different than the competition.
But what happens in business when the competition, in this case the best in the marketplace, has now taken one of your major points of differentiation and completely matched you?
This specific example is the highly touted and publicized move by the number one cell phone provider, Verizon, to finally introduce an unlimited plan, so now users can have as much data as possible without worrying about overages.
The plan is so highly touted that if you tried to call Verizon to get information on the plan or even switch you were advised to do it online because of the wait times. Some consumers even reported that the phone number for customer service hung up on them altogether.
That didn’t deter the buzz for Verizon and its unlimited plan, but you have to wonder that amidst all the celebration for the cell phone provider that a few tears weren’t shed by their competitors, namely AT&T, T Mobile and Sprint.
These providers have long since incorporated unlimited data plans with the hope, undoubtedly, that Verizon would steer clear of this, leaving the three other contenders to Verizon’s throne at least with a fighting chance since they’d be able to tout unlimited data as a means to separate from the clear cut number one in this marketplace.
Now that Verizon has moved to unlimited plans, does this change everything?
Well to say that this move by Verizon doesn’t hurt AT&T, T Mobile, Sprint and even some of the second tier providers like Boost Mobile or Cricket would be a bold faced lie, because being able to be different is paramount.
But Verizon still is the most expensive game in town, particularly when you compare Verizon to T Mobile, Sprint and the Boost Mobile crew, so there is still hope that those providers can keep consumers engaged in what they’re offering by doing bundle deals (like AT&T and Direct TV, for example, as Direct TV subscribers get perks if they’re also with AT&T) and making sure their package deals with their unlimited data are more enticing than what Verizon is offering.
Verizon’s decision comes with some red tape, naturally. The “unlimited plan” is about 20 GB worth of data, and after that you might not get charged for using data, but the speed is expected to be “de prioritized” and thus be much slower.
If you don’t think T Mobile (a company that is all about calling out those finer points of its competition) and others aren’t going to jump all over that, you’d be wrong most likely.
All is fair in love and war, and being different in business to stay in the hunt for customers.