We’ve been expecting it for a while, but Verizon Wireless has finally made shared data plans official. Today, the wireless carrier unveiled its “Share Everything” plans, which allow users to pool their data across devices. The new plans will go into effect on June 28 and will mark the end of unlimited data for those who renew (as discussed in “Verizon to kill grandfathered data plans“). Before you get too upset, let us explain exactly how these new plans will work. Mostly, they are a marketing gimmick.
How these plans are the same, but more expensive
Verizon explains its new plans in its press release, but the marketing lingo is a bit confusing.
How things work right now: Currently, Verizon charges a minimum of $40 for 450 “anytime” minutes, $10 for 1000 text messages, and $30 for 2GB of data. So those with a smartphone (we’re not covering non-smartphone users here), have to pay a minimum of about $90 for access, and the 2GB of data is not usable by any other device, or share-able via Wi-Fi hotspot or tethering. Your data is only usable on your device. If you want a new device, it needs all new plans. Family plans let you combine minutes and texts, but Verizon charges a fee of $10 per device to enter a plan. Data is not able to be shared.
How things will work: On June 28, Verizon will improve some things, but mostly create a new confusing way you’ll have to think about your cell phone. These plans are hand-sculpted by the best marketers and profit-experts to make Verizon more money. All plans come with unlimited voice and text messaging (yes, it’s a requirement even if you don’t need it), and the price of the plan varies by how many Gigabytes of data you want. You can supposedly share data with up to 10 devices, but the ways you can do this without incurring huge charges, are minimal.
Monthly price for data:
- 1GB – $50
- 2GB – $60
- 4GB – $70
- 6GB – $80
- 8GB – $90
- 10GB – $100
Those prices seem reasonable, right? Getting a 2GB data plan with unlimited text and voice for $60 per month as well as data that can be shared with up to 10 other devices. It would be a bit expensive, but reasonable. Well, you’ve only seen half of the deal. Every device you activate on Verizon’s network also comes with a monthly fee.
Monthly price for each device you have:
- Smartphones – $40
- Standard phones – $30
- USB modems, laptops, and netbooks – $20
- Tablets – $10
All plans are required to come with at least one $40 smartphone. Essentially, you’re paying for everyone’s texting and voice access with these fees, as well as lining the walls of Verizon Wireless’s banana stands with cash. All users who renew and get a new phone will be required to switch to this plan. And anyone else who wants to (maybe the math works in your favor), can switch without renewing their contract. The only benefit we see is “free” tethering and hotspot access.
Is this a joke?
All situations are different, but if I switched to this plan right now, my bill would increase substantially, I’d lose unlimited data (which is actually 5GB), and that’s only with 1 device activated on my “Share Everything” data plan.
What I’m paying now: $90 ($30 for unlimited data, $10 for texts, $40 for voice) for one smartphone
What I will have to pay: $100 ($40 for my smartphone and $60 for 2GB of data, which is slightly less than I currently use)
I’m hoping that I made a huge mistake or missed some calculation, but it’s looking like Verizon’s idea of a shared data plan is as bad or even worse than what we have already. I suppose we’ll find out on June 28. We’ll update this article with more as we learn it.
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