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For mobile Millennials, there’s something more important than sleek phone designs or cool hardware like high-definition cameras and unbreakable displays.
According to Verizon’s chief financial officer, Fran Shammo, Millennials discussed this on the company’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday.
“Although some say video and data are not as important and people are willing to get disrupted, I think if you talk to the Millennials, the thing that frustrates them the most is the spinning wheel when they want to watch a video or download something,” said Shammo.
Indeed, waiting for anything seems to run contrary to the idea of being mobile.
Verizon has attempted to position itself as the leader in the data-delivery space, running ad campaigns claiming to be the “most reliable wireless network,” touting its 4G LTE speeds.
The company has also diversified into content creation and delivery with the go90 app, which delivers video to Verizon customers, including two original series just for the platform targeted at Millennials.
These moves comes as more young people are doing things like shopping, reading the news, and going on social media on their mobile devices. This means a massive amount of data is being consumed on mobile devices.
This focus had led Verizon to recently drop the subsidizing of phone purchases and, according to Shammo, will keep them out of the new field of rental plans, such as AT&T’s Next and Sprint’s iPhone Forever plan.
“As I’ve said before, I am not interested in a rental program,” said Shammo. “We are not seeing any impact from those programs from the competitors in our base and I think our results speak to that this quarter and I think they’ll speak to that in the fourth quarter as well.”
In fact, Shammo said this could become a financial liability for these companies, since they are essentially giving out loans for the value of the phone that customers pay back every month.
“I think what you’ll see is if you speak to the rating agencies, they are becoming very concerned with the balance-sheet risk of some of the industry on putting up rental phones on the balance sheet with what the residual value will be with those rental phones,” said Shammo.
All of this adds up to an attitude shift for Verizon away from fancy hardware and toward providing the fastest service for the increasingly high-spending Millennials.