Verizon Wireless Wants You To Hook Up Everything You’ve Got With New Shared Data Plans

In what could be a shift that heralds a major change in the way we do wireless, Verizon Wireless has rolled out new shared data service plans that include unlimited calls and texts. It also allows for customers to share their data allowance among multiple devices, so you can be online and hooked in, consuming data all the darn time.

As it stands right now, most customers opt to only use data plans for their cell phones, and rely on limited range Wi-Fi wireless at home or elsewhere to use the Internet on tablets and other gadgets. Who wants to pay a second data subscription? Probably not many people — which is where Verizon’s shared data plans come in.

Reuters reports that Verizon has been considering this revamp for more than a year, and is an attempt to increase revenue by having more connected devices using its network.

This new price revamping will likely shake up the wireless industry — if it works out, other carriers could follow suit. It makes sense, as wireless customers are already turning more and more to using data to send email and other messages, increasing their data usage and slowing down on voice calls and texts.

This has led to increasing data prices and lower voice call rates, which, as we pointed out last week, could push everyone to unlimited voice plans eventually.

The new shared plans will come with a higher fee per gigabyte of data, but Verizon hopes that throwing in unlimited voice and texting, as well as the ability to share data across devices, could prove to make customers happy.

“What I’m doing is giving you the flexibility to share the data you’ve paid for,” Chief Marketing Officer Tami Erwin told Reuters. “Customers who are using more than one device will very quickly see the value in this.”

The new plans become available starting June 28, wherein a smartphone customer will pay a monthly access fee of $40 for the unlimited calls and texts, along with a $60 price for two gigabytes of data that can be shared with up to 10 devices. Each additional device after 10 costs extra — $10 for a tablet and $20 for a laptop.

Currently, Verizon customers shell out $30 for 2 gigabytes of data and $40 for the cheapest voice plan with 450 minutes, and $20 for unlimited text messages. Any other connected device costs $30 extra per month.

Time to sit back and see who follows suit next. Ahem, AT&T.

Verizon Wireless unveils shared data plans; rivals may follow [Reuters]

Comments

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  1. Coffee says:

    “Instead of paying $30 for 2GB on your phone and $30 for 2GB on your secondary device, now you can pay $60 for 2GB of data shared between both. You’re welcome!”

    • Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

      Goal!

    • incident_man says:

      Double the price for the same product……now THAT’s value!

      /sarcasm.

    • flyingember says:

      the bottom two tiers are way overpriced.

      the ones above it are better if that’s what you want. $10/gb is in line with the market

      then it becomes a question of if the voice plans are worth it.

  2. TuxMan says:

    Nothing to see here. No real savings. Just Verizon making sure their business model is protected for the future.

  3. dush says:

    In what world is $60 for 2GB a deal?

  4. miltona says:

    Oh boy! I can pay three times the price for data on a network that already works so poorly in my area my phone spends most of its time switching between 3G and LTE (and therefore unable to do any data)!

  5. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    As Loias said last week, And I quote her directly:

    “I can’t think of any other industry where the consumer and the provider are so at odds with each other in terms of what they want.

    It seems as if whatever customers want, phone providers seem hell bent on specifically doing the exact opposite.

    Customers are asking for: low minutes, unlimited texts, and unlimited data with no throttling.

    Providers are giving them: high-volume minutes, 1000%+ inflated text pricing, and limited data with throttling.”

  6. bendee says:

    “Each additional device after 10 costs extra — $10 for a tablet and $20 for a laptop.”

    That’s not correct – there is the ‘base price’ paid just for unlimited talk, text, and the amount of data you select. Each device then costs between $10 and $40 to add, depending on the type of device. So two smartphones sharing 4GB of data would cost $70 plus $40 per device, or $150 plus tax total.

    • Buckus says:

      Or…what I pay now, except I have unlimited data now on one of my phones.

      • Ophelia says:

        Or, depending on what, exactly, a corporate discount would cover, up to $40 more than I pay now, except with only 4GB of data instead of unlimited on two smartphones!

        My current plan is approximately $131 per month – 2 smartphones, unlimited data, 700 minutes, and 1 $5 text plan, including discounts, taxes and fees.

        If my corporate discount applies to everything on both phones, I could get a 4GB plan for about the same price. If it covers the only the data portion of the plan, but not the $40 charges per phone, it would be about $20 more per month. If it only covers one $40 phone charge, the plan is about $30 more than I’m paying now. If it doesn’t cover anything, then it’s an extra $40 per month!

        The additional monthly fees almost, but not quite, cover the subsidy of new phones – worth it to keep the unlimited data.

  7. DarthCoven says:

    This is the final straw that will make me switch to TMo once my contract with Big Red is up.

    • incident_man says:

      Hope you don’t have high expectations for coverage. Sprint and T-Mobile are pretty much the bottom of the barrel in that area. Sprint has a slight advantage; most of their coverage comes from Verizon (sarcasm intended).

      • Scooter McGee says:

        Depends on where you are. Verizon sucks in some parts of the country where T-Mo is good. If you’re in a city, you’re probably fine no matter what carrier you have.

        • incident_man says:

          Don’t know about you, but I don’t buy service from a cell carrier just for use in big metro areas. If I wanted that, I’d go for Virgin Mobile.

          I’d venture to say that most people agree with me, too, otherwise Verizon and AT&T wouldn’t be as popular as they are; it couldn’t possibly be because of their dazzling customer service or great prices could it?

  8. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    “Each additional device after 10 costs extra — $10 for a tablet and $20 for a laptop.”

    Unfortunately, that’s not correct – You can have UP TO 10 devices, each of which will incur a charge – $10/table, $20/laptop, $40/smartphone.

    So 5 smartphones sharing 10GB would be $300/month (5 * $40 + $100) under the new plan.

    Under the current family plan, with each smartphone getting 2GB, the cost is ‘only’ $260/month.

    Thanks, Verizon!

    • TitusThorngate says:

      Unlimited talk/text family plans start at $120 with $50 per line after the the first two lines (!) so this still represents savings over the same services under their current pricing. Of course, if you just want “family data” with limited voice and texting, you’re SOL.

  9. Tegan says:

    According to the AJC, at least they won’t be kicking customers off their existing plans. If you have unlimited data, you won’t be able to keep it if you upgrade your phone at a subsidized price, but if you buy the phone outright you will.
    http://www.ajc.com/business/verizon-to-ditch-phone-1456378.html

    The only way I could see leaving my current plan ($65/month for some nominal number of minutes and texts that I never use, plus unlimited data with a healthy discount through my employer, plus free wifi hotspot through Foxfi) is if I suddenly wanted to use a whole bunch of 4G devices, or maybe if my fiance and I wanted to combine plans, but since we both have unlimited data with Verizon still, I don’t think we’d even consider it until upgrade time.

  10. T-Bone says:

    I bet Verizon and AT&T are going to love it when people update to iOS 6 this Fall and start using FaceTime over cellular and using up all their data and paying overages. I would have been really excited about cellular FaceTime if “Unlimited” data was still unlimited. Now it just sounds like a deal between Apple and the carriers for the carriers to make more money.

  11. naenae78 says:

    I’ve been a Verizon customer for years, but this might be the last time I renew my contract. Thankfully, I have the unlimited data plan still, but when I want to upgrade to the iPhone5, that will be a thing of the past…as will me sending Verizon my money.

    $40/month per phone? That’s insane. I’m already pissed about being forced to have 700 shared mins on my current family plan (2 phones…used 0 mins this billing cycle), but this is ridiculous.

    • dush says:

      You don’t have to renew your contract. After the two years they don’t just kick you off the network or force a new plan on you. At least they haven’t to me.

      • icerabbit says:

        It was published they will do so this time around. I’ve been through the upgrade and kept one phone on unlimited data, but it has been published all around the web that unlimited data will no longer be grandfathered the next upgrade you or I do.

  12. sponica says:

    So my 450 anytime minutes (with unlimited nights/weekends/Verizon to Verizon calls) is 39.99, my unlimited mobile to mobile Verizon text messages (w/500 non-Verizon messages) is 10 dollars a month, and my 2 gb data plan for 30 bucks a month…after subtracting my 22% discount and adding taxes/fees, is STILL cheaper than what they’re offering…

  13. Marlin says:

    well ain’t that peachy

  14. chucklesjh says:

    Upgrading the family plan/account, we’d be paying $80 more. Not gonna happen.

  15. Blueskylaw says:

    So I can now pay double the amount I normally pay? Verizon also wants you to entangle all of your devices with their company which would make people less likely to leave them when they raise rates and fees. The clusterfu*k of trying to untangle all of your devices would be a deterrent for you and a bonus for them.

  16. Gabriel Watusi says:

    Check out Virgin Mobile – You buy the phone up front and then the plan is only $35 a month (300 min, unlimited texts and data (slowed after 2.5 gb)). Even when you pay $650 for an iphone, you will save $750 over two years. Without a contract. And it uses Sprints network. I can’t wait.

    • incident_man says:

      Virgin Mobile works great………IF you live in a big city or along an interstate highway, otherwise….not so much. My advice on your shiny new Virgin Mobile Jesus phone: keep your receipt; you’ll be needing it after finding out about their poor coverage and slow data speeds.

      Don’t forget to familiarise yourself with their return policy too.

    • varro says:

      I’m thinking about Virgin Mobile, too…..I use maybe 150-200 voice minutes a month, but like the “unlimited” data plan for $35….and I live in a major city (Portland) and don’t do much traveling to rural areas….is this a good plan for me?

  17. Kman says:

    And let me guess, they still won’t allow me to buy an iPhone without a data plan. (I happen to be near wifi hotspots most of the time, certainly enough of the time that it isn’t worth paying $30/month for a data plan, much less $60/month.)

  18. jeepguy57 says:

    I pay $110 for my iPhone and iPad, but on separate plans (corporate/personal). The phone has an unlimited data plan and the iPad has a 2gb plan. I would actually save money but have far less data to use (though with the use of wi-fi, I doubt I would hit the 2gb across both devices). But then I assume, if I bought a wireless card, I could add my laptop in for free, though I would still be sharing the 2gb of data. That would likely put me over the 2gb mark quickly. But again, with so much available wi-fi, my use of cellular data is always dropping.

  19. BurtReynolds says:

    And like the launch of tiered data, VZW is short on details for its customers.

    There are already mixed messages on whether or not Galaxy S3 preorders will be able keep unlimited since their phone won’t be activated until after June 28.

    If I have an unlimited 3G plan and pay full price for a LTE phone in September, do I keep unlimited? Or are unlimited 3G and unlimited LTE “different” plans?

    My guess is the answer to the second question is “no”, as to catch all of the iPhone users who want to upgrade to the LTE iPhone whenever it comes out.

    • Bitz says:

      Verizon has said the LTE is different from 3G as far as plans and pricing go (it’s already reflected in some of its data pricing). In short: if you have an iPhone now with unlimited 3G, the second you need to go to LTE, you’re off unlimited because you’re changing data plans. If you don’t mind 3G or don’t want to lose unlimited, be wiling to either be behind technology a little bit or buy your phone full price from Amazon

    • spamme says:

      I preordered my Galaxy sIII tonight and triple checked with two different phone reps and one in-store rep on this issue. As long as the order is placed before the 6/28 plan change effective date, we would still keep unlimited data converting from 3G to 4G and our existing plan/features. We will be grandfathered for this current upgrade cycle.

      The next time we upgrade, in order to keep unlimited data, we would have to buy an unsubsidized phone or bring our own device.

  20. Ashman says:

    $60.00 for 2 gb. math is simple they are charging $30.00 per gb.

    No thanks, I’ll hang on to my unlimited data thank you very much for $60.00 a month for 2 lines.

  21. scottydog says:

    I like how they say that their average customer uses between 1-2GB per month. I assume that is on 3G. I wonder what the average usage is on 4G. I just recently upgraded to 4G to keep my unlimited and my data usage has gone up quite a bit because as of now I have a fast connection that I don’t give up on when trying to watch video during my commute home. I will be upgrading my wife’s phone before the 28th as well then we will re-evaluate in 2 years. Additionally, at some point Verizon’s LTE bandwidth will be just as clogged as their current #g is and we will be back to where we are today.

  22. Jawaka says:

    So as a person who primarily used their cell phone to actually make phone calls does this mean that my bills will decrease? The I rarely use anything else that consumes data other than texting which seems like it will be included. Am I missing something here?

  23. Jnetty says:

    We are getting charged more for data basically. This will be how they make money now.
    Right now my verizon base price for two iphones and one regular phone is $169.95 not including taxes and fees. This is 700 shared minutes, unlimited text and data.

    New shared plan would be $160 with unlimited talk, text, but 1GB of data shared (lowest price shared plan).

    • icerabbit says:

      We’re in the same boat. Big price hike if you want to use 5GB between two iPhones :(

      Three devices: one unlimited, one 5 gb, one 2 gb … so you’re looking at $40 $40 $40 + $100 for 10gb of data; so $240 before fees which currently runs us

      We have absolutely NO need for texting, use it maybe once a year; so let alone unlimited texting.

      We don’t need unlimited minutes. We have plenty with 700min because we actually still primarily use our home phone which already has unlimited talk and probably primarily communicate through email.

      • icerabbit says:

        It ate part of my sentence???? … anyway our current rate is $190 all-in. Under the new plan we could save if we don’t use any data. For the rest: huge price hike for anywhere near status quo.

  24. Lyn Torden says:

    How do they know how many devices I have when the only one dangling from my phone is a NAT router that makes everything else look like one device total.

    Charging by device is just stupid. Yes, that means you, Lowell McAdam.

    Change by the byte, whatever way you want (even if it’s a fixed price per unlimited bytes). Don’t bother with charging by device because it’s way too trivial to defeat that, and it’s also pointless.

    • Hartwig says:

      Part of this deal was that they will stop charging for tethered data. So if you want to use your phones data to run your tablet then you should be fine. The extra device is more for people who would like to add a second phone to the plan. At least that is what i got from reading the tech blogs.

      For me a guy with one phone, my price goes up exponentially because of having to have unlimited talk and text which i don’t pay for now.

  25. scurvycapn says:

    Some of you guys are totally freaking out for no good reason. If you have an existing plan, you do not need to switch, nor do you have to when you renew your conrtact. If you are a new customer signing up, you can still go with a standard plan that Verizon has now. The Share Everything plans are just an option.

    For some customers, it would be an increase in price. If you rely heavily on data, but don’t use a lot of minutes/texts, then it is not the plan for you. But if you have a large family, with a large number of phones, and use a moderate amount of data between them, the plan can save quite a bit of money.

    Sure, you will love your grandfathered unlimited data if you renew with a subsidized phone, but that was announced a week or two ago and has nothing to do with these new plans.

  26. TerraSin says:

    1. Introduce 4G… check.
    2. Introduce new data gobbling smartphones… check
    3. Make tiered data system… check.
    4. Kill grandfathered data plans… check.
    5. Introduce shared data plan on our already expensive data plans that screwed over anyone with a previous grandfathered account so they use even more data and make us more money… check.
    6. Profit…???

  27. BurtReynolds says:

    Anyone in the VA suburbs of DC use Straight Talk, T-Mobile prepaid, or Virgin? Just wondering how the performance is. I am once again tempted to buy a Galaxy Nexus or One X and go to ST or TM, or just get the Virgin iPhone.

    • incident_man says:

      I’d skip Virgin entirely. I used to work for Sprint (Virgin is a part of Sprint).

      1. Virgin uses Sprint towers ONLY (no roaming).
      2. Sprint’s data speeds are the slowest in the industry.
      3. As with other prepaid carriers, Virgin offers phone support ONLY (no in-store support).
      4. The only national carrier that has worse coverage than Sprint is T-Mobile.

      I gave up my $50/month, unlimited data smartphone SERO plan through Sprint (postpaid) for something $30 more expensive with a 5GB data cap because of 3 reasons:

      1. What I have now offers FAR better coverage
      2. The data speeds are much faster
      3. The customer service is WAY WAY WAY better.

      Hint: It’s not AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon.

      • BurtReynolds says:

        Everyone I know in this area with Sprint have no issues. Same with where I grew up. You don’t provide where you live or what you currently use, so I’m not learning much from this other than you hate Sprint, which is repeated throughout these comments. Did they fire you or something?

        US Cellular or any of the other regional carriers aren’t available here. My choices are ATT, VZW, Sprint, T-Mo or their MVNOs.

  28. Commissar Yarrrrrrr says:

    Would be nice if their data actually worked. For months my phone looses a network connection for no reason, and I am not even moving.

  29. soj4life says:

    This plan is going to cost more for anyone that has more than one device and uses their data plan. We have 3 droids on my plan, with the lowest minutes on a family share; we pay about $200. With this new plan, we will pay $220 before taxes and that data isn’t unlimited. The point of sharing plan features is to lower costs, not increase them.

  30. dolemite says:

    “$60 price for two gigabyte” ha. haha. hahahaha.

    Yeah, what’s 2 GB going to do for you on tablets, or *anything* besides a cell phone? Stream movies? Nope. Play games? Nope.

    You gotta give some reasonable data allowances if you actually want everyone to move all their kindles, laptops etc to this. 10, 20 GB maybe.

    • webweazel says:

      That’s what I always love on the commercials–showing what **YOU CAN DO!!!*** on your brand-spanking new phone!!!!!! on OUR **WONDERFUL** SPEEDY NETWORK!!!!! Smiling happy people watching a sports game or streaming movies to their phones.
      I just think–‘yeah right. that’s the ONLY one you’re gonna get this month!’ Then the rest of the month, you’ll get constipated sloth speed and/or a $32,587 bill at the end.
      Cynical? Yup. Why no, I DON’T own a smartphone.

  31. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    $60 for 2GB? Ouch that hurts just thinking about it.

  32. jayphat says:

    Why on earth would ANYONE hook up their other devices to Verizon’s wireless network at home? At home I have a broadband connection that’s superior to your wireless signal, doesn’t get nearly as bogged down with additional users like wireless, and is *gasp* unlimited.

    This sounds like some executives pipe dream who thinks that everyone will buy into their bullshit.

    • syxx says:

      No one will pay 60 dollars for the 2 GB, but is that really a problem? Think of it this way, if you had a family of 5 people and they all wanted smartphones under the current plan it would cost 300 dollars for unlimited talk and text plus 150 for data plans for all the phones, totaling 450 dollars a month. Now, with the new plan, you can get 5 smartphones with unlimited talk and text for 200 dollars a month and 100 for 10 GB of data, which is 1800 dollars less a year…

      Even if some of those are basic phones and some of the users want to use minimal data that would normally cost 10 bucks a month, they can just use the data pool every month rather than having to tack on 120 dollars a year for 75 GB a month…

    • syxx says:

      No one will pay 60 dollars for the 2 GB, but is that really a problem? Think of it this way, if you had a family of 5 people and they all wanted smartphones under the current plan it would cost 300 dollars for unlimited talk and text plus 150 for data plans for all the phones, totaling 450 dollars a month. Now, with the new plan, you can get 5 smartphones with unlimited talk and text for 200 dollars a month and 100 for 10 GB of data, which is 1800 dollars less a year…

      Even if some of those are basic phones and some of the users want to use minimal data that would normally cost 10 bucks a month, they can just use the data pool every month rather than having to tack on 120 dollars a year for 75 MB a month…

  33. crazydavythe1st says:

    When I signed up for Verizon, tiered data was just an option. You could either pay $20 for 300 MB or $30 for unlimited.

    Then everyone was forced onto unlimited.

    Then unlimited was discontinued and now you get 2 GB for the same price.

    Presumably in the future, the 2GB for $30 plan will be discontinued and you’ll be forced to pay $50/1 gb plus $40 per phone.

    Flash forward even further into the future, and half of the “share everything” plans will be discontinued. Maybe cut out the 2GB, 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB? Force families onto the 10GB plans. Or maybe they’ll go old school and bring back forced unlimited data. Say $200/mo + $40 per phone….

  34. Cor Aquilonis says:

    DON’T TOUCH MY PLAN VERIZON!!!

    RRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEEEEE