Verizon Claims $5 Monthly Fee Necessary For Unlisted Number

We'd like to say we're surprised by Verizon's latest claims regarding fees, services, and ridiculous pricing, but after the "Share Everything" plans pegged the cost of a gigabyte of data at up to $50, we're immune to much of anything. A recent blog post at NetWorkWorld details one person's request for an explanation as to why having an unlisted phone number costs him $5/month. Verizon's answer: "The cost charged to offer unlisted phone numbers is chiefly systems and IT based." She goes on to claim that unlisted phone numbers require special service to make certain their information isn't stuffed into the details Verizon sells to everyone else.

Verizon's online customer service appears to have handled the question by copy-and-pasting every rote response in the employee handbook that contained the word "unpublished."

What this points to is the further monetization of individual privacy. Once upon a time, anyone who wanted to be in the phone book as anything more than a name and address had to pay for the privilege. Now, the phone company is essentially arguing that wanting notto have your data sold means you have to compensate them for the lost revenue, to the tune of an additional $60 a year. The scary part is that Verizon actually tops the list in customer service.

Verizon and Comcast have agreed in principle with a DOJ filing that seeks to limit the degree to which they may cross market to each other, and the company will rollout LTE service to 34 cities tomorrow. Hopefully that'll spark AT&T to push its own 3G rollouts -- the company claims to want to move off of 2G, but as an AT&T subscriber, Edge coverage is all I can get in rural New York State.

It's not that Verizon is evil -- to the contrary, the company has done some good work with its HopeLine app and participation in the struggle to end domestic violence and protect its victims. That work, however laudable, doesn't really change the fact that the company is overcharging its customers and trying to build a world in which it has the right to charge you for features that used to be free.