Verizon launches data sharing family plans | webOS Nation
 
 

Verizon launches data sharing family plans 50

by Derek Kessler Tue, 12 Jun 2012 9:35 am EDT

Verizon launches data sharing family plans

We had an inkling that this was coming eventually, but even so we're still surprised and glad to see it has arrived: Verizon is the first US carrier to reorient their plans to be data-centric and enable data limit sharing. They call it the Share Everything plan, and it's pretty slick. Here's how it breaks down:

You pay for your device's service and then buy a bucket of data to be shared across up to ten devices. The monthly device rates (unlimited phone and messaging included on all) break down thusly:

  • Smartphones: $40
  • Basic Phones: $30
  • Laptops, USB modems, and wireless hotspots: $20
  • Tablets: $10

And here's how the shared data plans break down:

  • 1GB: $50
  • 2GB: $60
  • 4GB: $70
  • 6GB: $80
  • 8GB: $90
  • 10GB: $100

There are also separate plans available for basic phones (no data) and modem devices (USB/MiFi), but we don't care too much about those. Verizon is throwing in mobile hotspot for free on all plans, though, which we heartily approve of.

What these changes result in is higher charges for the smartphone-only user, but as you add on more devices the rates become more acceptable. The average smartphone user uses less than half a gigabyte in a month, but if you own a Verizon smartphone and tablet you could be using well over a gigabyte between the two. Now, instead of paying for two separate data plans you can have just the one and pay an extra $10 to add your tablet or $20 for a MiFi hotspot.

If you're paying the bill for a family of Verizon device owners, it's even better, with the per-GB data rate scaling down as you increase the size of your bucket. Data still ain't cheap, but Verizon's at least doing the work to make it reasonable for those of us with multiple devices.

50 Comments

So let me get this straight: One is now paying double the individual data plan cost for the same amount of data just so that data can now be shared across multiple devices?

Do they think we're really that stupid?! I know math is hard, but it isn't that hard.

And just so no one's confused, Verizon lists the following charges on its site for Tablet/Netbook data access:

- 2GB - $30 per month
- 5GB - $50 per month
- 10GB - $80 per month

Thus by the above chart, one is now paying 2x the amount ($60 vs. $30) for the same amount of data.

I could be wrong, but I was under the impression the new prices were for data sharing only, not individual plans. So under the old plan, two users having 2GB each would be $60, but under the new plan 2 users could have 5GB at $50.

Unless I completely misunderstood...

Could you explain how you figured 2 users could have 5GB at $50? I am still trying to digest how this all works.

From what I am reading, I see that 2 users could only have 4GB for $70 or 6GB for $80, what am I missing?

I think he is taking the 2 users having 5GB each at $50 each. 10GB for $100 split down the middle.

At the 10GB for 100 plan, they are charging the same Per gig price we get per line on AT&T on my current plan.

Ya, I definitely was looking at the wrong pricing, but 10GB for 2 people at $100 isn't terrible (isn't great though, either). Bus as the article states, the more you add on, the better it would be. I'm on AT&Ts unlimited, but come nowhere near 2GB a month; usually around 1GB or less. I've got 5 people on our family plan, plus we have two TPs. So $30x 5 is $150, plus if we paid for mobile hotspots, well, this plan is better by a little bit. Wonder how AT&Ts pricing structure will compare...

Really hoping ATT comes out with something more competitive. My wife never comes close to her 2 gigs, but with the horrible WiFi on the Pre3 I can come close to it. Would be nice to have a lil safety net in case I had a need for more data one month.

I wish they would just do rollover data, I never use my minutes...

I believe these are the individual plans. To share you would need to pay an extra $40 per smartphone line added.

Looking at data only, this seems like a rip off. On old two people could buy 2GB each for $30 each. So they were paying $60 for 4GB, but now 4GB costs $70

But when including voice and txt there is some savings. 1400 minutes shared used to cost $90 plus $10 each line for txt. Now you can get unlimited calling and txt for two people at $80. You save $30 on voice and txt but pay $10 more for data.

The way I see it, if you were on 1400 minutes or higher plans this will save greatly. The only problem is for us on unlimited data, do we give it up for some savings?

In your case, it would be $40 per device (to cover unlimited voice/text use), and $70 for 4GB shared between two devices. This would be $150.

Your current plan would have been whatever you're charged for shared minute use (could be anywhere from $50-80 depending on how many minutes you have) plus $60 to cover your dual 2GB data plans. Assuming you pay $110, this is a ripoff. If you pay closer to $150 a month, shelling out the 10-20 extra to pool your dataplans might save on a possible overage, otherwise, it's about the same price.

Bear in mind none of these estimates factor Taxes and Surcharges, so your actual cost may vary.

You forgot to include $10 for each user for text messaging on the old plan.

Right now I pay $89.98 for 1400 shared minutes & no text. I could have 450 mins for $39.98 but that is too little for two people to share. So the new plan is going to save most a minimum of $10 on voice and $30 on voice and text with a total cost of $170 for voice text and data.

With the new plan you would get unlimited voice and text for $40 or $80 for two. Add $70 for an equivalent data plan of 4GB and you get a total of $150 for a savings of $20 a month.

If you're not grandfather into unlimited data, I think this would make you happy. I would also imagine greater saving with more people as well

-- Shared across multiple devices
-- Tethering/Mobile Hotspot no longer an extra fee
-- Tablets/USB Jacks included in same pool of data (may be a pro or a con depending on how you use/pay for your current service.)

That's how they justify the doubled cost: on old plans, Tethering and USB Devices/Tablet use set to 2GB of data would cost more than this price alone.

It doesn't mean that it's right to do.

I have a problem with the article itself, Sprint has been doing this sharing thing for YEARS.

That said, Verizon's plan seems to be anticonsumer at best. To be on Shared plan per phone you have to add $40 and then for 2GB of SHARED date you pay $60. I thought their current plan was $30 for 2GB of data not shared with anyone. So you end up paying twice as much for just the privilege of SHARING???? How is that "pretty slick. "

From Derek's perspective, he probably has enough lines of service just for his own use that this would save him money (guessing USB Data Modem, handset, and iPad). Same with any mobile reporter who wrote about this article who probably has a similar setup to be able to work from the road. Even with a smartphone, considering you're paying $100 for 2GB of data tacking on one of the free USB Modems for $20 extra a month is a lot cheaper to do now than it was in the past ($30 a month for 2GB, $30 for monthly access for the device: $60 on top of your mobile plan, with a separate contract with it's own expiry date/ETF to consider.)

Individual smartphone owners are the ones getting bit hard on this deal, which is why the comments list on each article around the Internet is saying the same thing. Verizon probably sees this as "customer objections" which they'll make more press releases either saying that the Internet outcry is in the minority of their users (effectively saying 'we don't care, love it or leave it'), or that we don't understand the deal with more pseudo-math that corporations love making to prove how much money we'll save over old plans with the same features.

Where this starts paying off is if you have 3 or more users sharing. I personally have to get the AT&T 2GB plan because my average monthly use is less than 500MB but more than the next lowest plan which is 200MB. With this type of plan, assuming all users use about 500MB, it would average 20.00 apiece for a total of 60.00 to share instead of 25.00 apiece for a total of 75.00.

As you can see, in this scenario, the more people you add the more you save.

This only pays off if you currently pay for a lot of minutes. Currently your "base price" for a family plan is minutes, and I pay $50/mo for 550 minutes. The new "base price" will be data and for 3 phones it's either 2gb ($60) or 4gb ($70). Still an extra $40 for every phone you add (currently $10+$30 data). So I just pay more, plus I lose unlimited data. On the plus side, I can talk a lot more, which I don't do, and I'll save $5/mo on texting. Still a loser for the customer. You have to try very hard to make this a benefit for anyone without a teenage daughter.

I think I'll keep my unlimited plan with the free 5gig hot spot, thank you.

they will make you switch to a new plan or drop you completely or raise the price of your plan.... i would suggest that verizon started putting a lil packet of KY jelly with each bill.

They can't legally drop you from your unlimited data plan as long as you pay your bill on time (thank god for federal Tort Law on that one). Every time you pay a bill month-to-month without subsidizing a new device on top of your service, Verizon is making more profit off of your use than a new account user who quits in a year (that's why Early Termination Fees are legal).

The only thing that changes at June 28th is that they're not allowing you to upgrade to a subsidized phone if you want to keep your current plan as it is. You'll need to pay full price on a phone (iPhone 4S starts at $629), or buy a used device on eBay/Craigslist that hasn't been marked as lost or stolen on Verizon's ESN database to keep using it. If your phone still works (and you're not sick of it) you can keep paying the bill to use it until they shut the 3G networks down completely in 3-5 years.

derek--- how is this slick? they are screwing there customers.......and all the smartphone users i know use more than a half a gb. I use close to 5gb a month with a max of 100gb (when i didnt have interwebs) I know alot of verizon users that tether and use over 5gb a month. this is going to make alot of people jump ship. good news for sprint . 10gb to share with 10 phones give me a break verizon..... epic fail

They are screwing over customers: most of the smartphone userbase are on individual plans, and this is forcing them to cough up closer to $100 per month for basic use of their device. Either they balk at this and get a dumbphone for a cheaper bill, or turn to prepaid use, either choice makes Verizon more profit than keeping them on a postpaid plan. I can imagine the prepaid route being a temporary relief, since plan changes take effect immediately if they like and most MVNO's are under the big four networks, who can raise franchise rates at any time.

Or, single accounts jump ship to another provider, which ends their grandfathered unlimited use plan as well.

Or single accounts pay the non-subsidized cost of a phone or buy used devices until they shut off the 3G service that most grandfathered users depend on in two to three years, also kicking them off of unlimited use.

Smartphone use is about to become a luxury, folks. If you want cheap data, it's tablets or terrestrial Wi-Fi.

so a family plan with 4 phones will have to pay $40 for each phone = 160 bucks to use data then at 10gb pool for $100 = $260 extra for phones to use and share 10gb? wtf

so verizon with 4 phones sharing 10gb of data = $260 + your normal plan = left nut

Sprint with 4 phones sharing unlimited date = $40 + your normal plan = better than verizon

I understand the Verizon plan costing more, but your illustrative reply doesn't make sense. Your normal plan isn't factored into the cost anymore.

Plus Sprint's Unlimited Data use is at $149.99 right now, unless you're grandfathered into a lower price (Sprint's SERO Employee plans were at awesome discounts, Employee Plus less so.)

Clarification please:

"Laptops, USB modems, and wireless hotspots: $20" vs.
"Verizon is throwing in mobile hotspot for free on all plans, though, which we heartily approve of."

I THINK the distinction is between "mobile hotspot" and "wireless hotspot". The former is the tethering feature on phones that currently costs to use. The later is a separate device, a 4G modem or a MiFi device. Did I get that right?

I think we may be able to save a little bit, keep our unlimited plan, switch to unlimited talk and text (we never go over) and throw in free tethering. That is, until we upgrade our phones...

Yes. Mobile Hotspot, as a feature of a wireless device, is covered in the $40 base cost of a Smartphone, plus the ridiculous price of the data.

Wireless Hotspot is a data-device, covered with a $20 monthly cost, plus whatever ridiculous price of a data plan you choose in this scheme. Only now, you can't have a separate Data device not using your smartphone data.

Simpler choices aren't necessarily better ones. Especially with wireless service, most people don't fit a singular use case, and plans like these are designed mostly to make casual users pay for unused data as free profit, as well as forcing enthusiasts and professionals to pay per use at a bulk rate.

AT&T isn't sounding much better: their plan is to mete out voice and SMS use under data allowance as well, making their plans even more confusing than this (how many minutes is 1GB a month if I use Foursquare a lot?)

I've beat this chesnut repeatedly in other news sites, so I'll just say... pass.

I'll keep the plan I have and swap to a used Pre 2 when my phone dies. I'll keep being a luddite, it's cheaper.

Well, this isn't as bad as I thought it was going be, but I still think I'm going to have to move to Sprint. I'm only on day 3 of my billing cycle, and I've already used about 300MB, and I will use significantly more by the end of the day. I'd have to at least get the 4GB plan. Last month I think I used 5.8GB, so I would really be safer getting the 6GB plan for $80. That means I'd go from paying ~$85 a month (including taxes) for unlimited data right now, to paying well over $120 a month (there will be taxes) for a limited plan that I might occasionally exceed. No thanks.

Maybe it's time to hack a sprint comm board into my Pre Plus.

--
Sending this over my soon-to-be limited data connection.

If someone can do the same to a Pre 2, I'm thinking about headed BACK to Sprint... at the cost of no longer using my phone in half of my town which does NOT have signal from Sprint. (Gotta love rural service.)

Or just shucking all mobile data use altogether. It's not that damn important to me to have, and that's exactly the kind of decision that phone companies want budget conscious people to make: if you can't afford a monthly plan to justify a phone that uses apps, get a dumbphone and shut up.

I have a family plan with 4 phones. 1 smartphone, 1 feature phone, 2 basic phones. The smartphone is a pixi plus with unlimited data and free hotspot. The new plan would be
about $40 more a month. NO THANKS! I'm keeping my unlimited plan as long as I can.

Agreed. I to have 4 phones. However, they are all smartphones. I pay $220 a month, share 1500 anytime min, unlimited mobile to mobile, data and text. 4G in my area is OK to good. Are phones are our source of Internet. We tether from all four using a minimum of 12 - 15 gb per month with Sprint. Needless to say, we'll ride this as long as we can. FYI- I opened with $5 a credit union account that I never use. Because of this Sprint gives me a discount each month of about $13. I'll take it gladly

look how android central portrays the same stuff, http://www.androidcentral.com/editorial-dont-act-surprised-when-new-data... derek has always been a verizon fan boy since this website started verizon logos are bigger in articles, always positive stuff about them. when he talks about sprint or at&t always have small logos in articles..

Big rip off all us cellphone providers are rip off
take a look at European prices for example France 
unlimited talk +unlimited text +1gb data = €37 /month
unlimited talk + unlimited text + 2gb data = €55/month 
why do we have to pay double or triple the prices here in USA ?
then internet and cable providers :
home phone + tv box + internet = €34 /month in france
here for the same thing we pay over $100
 

I think part of it is that the subsidized phones are included as part of the pricing, not to mention all the lovely taxes included as part of the bill. That's not to say that if one bought a phone off-contract that the talk/text/data plans are any cheaper. Gotta love that reasoning.

This is a win win for me. I have a 1400 share plan for $89.95 with my wife, we each have $10 messaging and $30 unlimited data plans. Comes to $170 or so. We both use less than 1/4 GB and she uses much less. I can move us to $130 for the 1GB plan, save $40, and have unlimited minutes and text. What a deal!

You can switch to the shared service without giving up your current data plan. So rather than go to the 1 Gb plan, which costs $50, you can share one unlimited plan for $30 and save another $20!

I'm pretty sure if you keep a grandfathered unlimited plan, you're allowed to add and remove devices without having to give it up. So you can add your wife, child, or your new 4G tablet to your unlimited plan. Upgrading a device will force you to get a new plan for it. And if anyone decides to get their own plan, it can't be the grandfathered plan.

I'm in exactly the same situation, except we currently have the $70, 700 minute talk plan. Plus mobile hotspot is add in for free! We'll be able to take our Touchpad with us and use it even if there's no wifi available.

Verizon Wireless---we want are customers to use their smartphones on are really really fast and big network......... 10% of the time....

It sounds like this would cost a bit more than my current Family Share plan, even going down to share 4GB compared to the 5GB we EACH have currently. We share 700 min, unlimited text, and have 5GB (or unlimited) on each of 3 smartphones, and a 4th flip phone. They're a Pre-2, a Pixie, an iPhone, and a flip phone.

I wonder how this will effect business discounts? I now get 8% on data, 12% on features, and nothing on lines. If that stays the same the net discounts will be much worse.

i'm confused. life sucks

Verizon is great, I love how they cripple the GPS on Pre 2s. Anyone who has a Palm and is actually paying for Verizon is a moron, btw. Page Plus is the ticket!

In comparing plans, I think one thing a lot of people are missing is that these plans aren't designed for your usage today, they're designed to shape your usage patterns going forward, and collecting overages in the future.
Newer devices and newer services will exhaust your data quota even faster... Even if you're fine with less than 1 or 2 GB usage today, what will the next connected "killer app" on your phone use? "Unlimited" data was the hook to get people into using their smart devices; now that you're acclimated to push email and instant information updates, are you prepared to start watching the meter?
Also, the "sharing" aspect is a proven method to generating overages. When shared minute plans debuted, people loved the fact that other users on the same account could use minutes that were normally superfluous... until the billing cycle ends and users realized they weren't in sync, going over the limit and incurring overages. Users learned to start limiting their calling, and stay within the allotment. Limiting minute use is easy - don't answer the phone! - but how easy will it be for those people with "always on" devices? Can you teach your kids (spouse, co-worker, whoever) to use Wi-Fi only, or to turn off mobile data when it's not needed? Can they resist the temptation to check Facebook near the end of the bill cycle?

This is bad news... Thank (insert deity here) I don't use Verizon, and never will. I won't (willingly) support a service provider that wants more money for less service, just because they can. Hopefully, Sprint and T-Mo will stick to their quasi-unlimited services... if not, there's always prepaid (and after that, withdrawal from mobile data entirely).

Yeah this plan would definitely be bad for me:

As it is now with One smart phone and two basic phones:

$80 for all three phones (50 for plan, 10 for each phone is how it shows up on the bill)
$29 for the smart phone.
$5 for texting on one phone
-----
114

New cost
100 for the phones (40, 30 and 30)
60 for a data plan
-----
160

Ok yeah sure i get unlimited text and voice which I never go over and instead have to pay MORE for tiered data which I would probably ALWAYS exceed. So I pay a LOT more and get a LOT less. No thanks. Guess I won't be doing contracts anymore if it means being forced to this.

Verizon SUCKS !!!! Go get Sprint and feel real data freedom...

Hey Derek, are you pushing for White House Press Secretary? The ulitmate in spin?! Cause at this point, from reading your artilces, I think it is just incredibly AWSOME that 27,000 people lost their jobs at HP! Man that is cool! Do you think you can do an online interview of a family that got canned?! Then we all can see how AWSOME that is!

And Now! I get to pay more for less! With Free Hot Spot!!! GEE I wonder why that is free?! Yes Derek, fine reporting! If I could only practice free speech in this column.........

Have a nice day.

Wow, you guys in the US pay really high prices. I have a plan for around $ 34 with 5 GB (after which it gets throtled = no extra costs). 50 SMS are included but no minutes (as I don't use them, unlimited talking would be around $ 25) and, the most important part is the following:

I can have up to three sim-cards that I can use simultaneously with three devices of my choice (like 1 in my smartphone, 1 in my Tablet and one in my Laptop). All three use the same data plan and I could even use this data for a wifi-hotspot without any extra costs.

And well.. This is not even considered a really cheap plan here in Germany :)

Wow, you guys in the US pay really high prices

Actually we are all (USA) just pretty stupid. I offer this article as verification of that fact. being sold that something worse is better.

I don't think that you all are stupid ;)

I think that you just don't have any real competition thanks to the fact that people can't easily move from one carrier to the next because of CDMA and two giant carriers with no real other competitors.

Most other things (subsidized plans, people who don't want to pay the upfront price, locked phones etc.) also exist in Europe and still the number of people who constantly move to a cheaper carrier seams to be high enough to guarantee lower price-levels than in the US.

PS: I'am a bit jealous at the prices in Austria, where they pay (for the cheapes plan I have heard so far) around $ 10 for unlimited data, 1000 SMS and 1000 minutes and even get their money back for each minute they don't use up...

PPS: Oh and the other reason is of course because your polititians are (at least openly) even more corrupt than ours and don't pass any law/regulation to stop this, which would be perfectly possible, like we have seen in several similar fields in other countries

Oh carp! My apologies! In a couple of responses, I said we can keep our unlimited plans. I (optimistically) misunderstood the Verizon announcement and clarification back in mid-May. It turns we can't keep our unlimited plan AND switch to the shared plans. Switching, we will HAVE to pick a tier. I though it was adding a sharing feature to a current contract and that the incentive to give up the unlimited plan was not being able to upgrade phones. My mistake was reading their statement that they were not forcing unlimited users to give up their plans as they were not forcing unlimited users to give up their plans WHEN THEY SWITCH. Man that sucks!

Now:
2 x unlimited @ $60 + 700 Shared talk @ $70 + 2 x 250 texts @ $10 = $140

New 2 Gb:
2 Gb @ 60 + 2 Smartphone plans @ $80 = $140

New 4 Gb:
4 Gb @ 70 + 2 Smartphone plans @ $80 = $150

So I get to pay the same or more for the privileged of giving up our unlimted data. Since March, our monthly combined data usage has been well under 2G. In Feb, it was about 5 Gb, and 8 Gb n Jan.

It's hard to tell, but it look like mobile hotspot is not a feature we can add to our current plan. We actually have to switch to a plan that has that feature. I'm pretty sure when we signed up, they offered tethering as a feature one could switch on for an additional $10 or $20/ mo. I guess that went away with the unlimited plans.

I think unlimited plans are unsustainable. But I think there needs to bee some disclosure requirement and/or rate regulation like we have with other utilities. My guess is that the bandwidth crunch is not nearly as bad as the carriers claim. But there no way to know without an audit, preferably an independent audit.

And you can be assured that like the television industry's supposed annual 'audit' of advertising equating to real-world sales, the cellular industry will never agree to such a thing (citing 'trade secrets' and the usual crap.)

I imagine in 5 years we'll be so pleased and happy that Verizon does a blanket rate increase of 20% as they shut off SMS and 3G service, because they need the extra money to hire new employees to "give" the millions left who use either service new 4G phones (then still sell them with a 2-year contract.)

We are stupid in America. Our most powerful companies are thanked by us for taking more money to offer us less service. Hopefully most single account users moving to prepaid service makes that market more competitive (which makes MVNO's like Ting and PagePlus start to really shine, until their parent network operators start telling them to raise their rates in concert with their postpaid offerings.)

In insurance, it's called Death Spiralling. But it's really the new American business model.

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