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You’ll likely save money with Verizon’s “Share Everything” plans

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Verizon(s vz)(s vod) announced “Share Everything” plans on Tuesday, which lets customers buy one bucket of data for use with up to 10 devices on the same account. These are the family plans that Verizon has been looking into for over a year in order to help consumers better manage and use their mobile broadband data allowance. Instead of buying a data plan for each device — tablet, laptop and multiple smartphones, for example — one monthly charge covers voice, messages and data to be shared across all capable devices.

To price the plans, customers choose the types of devices they want to use — up to 10 — as there’s a variable monthly line fee:

  • $10 a tablet
  • $20 per MiFi, USB dongle or notebook with integrated broadband
  • $30 for a basic phone
  • $40 for each smartphone

In addition to the line fee, customers will chose the amount of shareable data for each month. Each of these prices includes unlimited voice minutes and texting.

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

Given that voice usage is in decline and that messaging is a high profit margin product for carriers, plus there are many free alternatives, I find it disappointing that the data prices include these. The line fee alone for a device ought to cover that, but revenues from these products keep the money rolling in for carriers. But this may not be an issue since you can still save money with these plans.

This depends on your particular case, of course. I did a quick estimate of a basic plan with 4 GB of shared data, unlimited minutes/texts and 2 smartphones and saved $30 a month with “Share Everything” even with $80 in line fees for the phones. Those unlikely to save: Folks with several feature phones and/or limited voice minutes and message plans.

But the real benefit here to end users is that instead of some family members blowing through a data bucket while others have data to spare, the data usage can be spread out. That’s a win — and something I called for last year with examples of my own family’s use — even if it’s only a small victory.

29 Responses to “You’ll likely save money with Verizon’s “Share Everything” plans”

  1. I use ATT, but I saved about $70 after taxes by switching to a Mobile Share plan. My cost was about $400. Now it’s about $330 after taxes and surcharges.

    It’s great for family plans, but probably not as great for single users.

  2. Kevin, I appreciate the info. I am currently on a plan that I have unlimited data (I am hoping not to change this ever) I pay 29.99 for this plan, plus I get 23% corporate discount. My wife as a corporate data plan whuch I think I can change as I don’t believe she needs this (44.95). I already have unlimited texting on all phones for my kids. More to the point, I am not convinced this will be of benefit. Do you have research data on how much data is used per person in a month billing cycle?

    • Scott, there’s plenty of research data available on the average data use for a smartphone user, but I’m not sure I’d make a consumer decision based on it. If I recall, folks are typically using around 400 MB per month. However, everyone is different. I easily use 3x that, for example, while my wife uses half of that average. Your best bet: look at the data usage from your prior bills and see what you’ve needed in the past. Then project out by adding an upward trend; unless you plan to heavily use Wi-Fi more often.

  3. This all comes down to one thing – overage charges. Thats all it is. Verizon knows the shift at this point is going from talk and text to data. I can bet their revenue from talk has decreased – What do they need? make extra money on data.

    I just did the math for my situation, I have 4 smartphone lines, all with unlimited data and 2000 minutes with Verizon. With this Share everything crap, I would have to get down to 2 GB data just to break even with my current bill. Any more data, and I would be paying more than I currently do.

    2GB? On average, one phone usage is 1 GB a month – No Thanks Verizon. But keep finding ways the nickel and dime us.

    Im already pissed they made a new regulation that anyone who switches to their 4G network now, will have to lose their unlimited data plans and have to go on a tiered plan… This company at one time was a great company… what the hell happened?

  4. i have unlimited data and they are trying to take that away, and trying to convince me that its a better deal. WTF. I am going to start using my unlimited data like no other just to punish them for doing this to their loyal customers

  5. It’s a great idea. Unlimited talk and text and a shared pool of data is really convincing.

    They just ruined it at the price point. For a 4 GB plan with 4 smartphones, that’s upwards of $210 dollars. This is where you can tell greed is getting in their way. This really shouldn’t cost any more than around $150 a month. Imagine how much more money they would take in that way.

  6. Joe T.

    But doesn’t it seem like a major gamble for VZW, even if you’re right about “likely” savings? All of us who have a nice, tailored plan (Verizon’s new anti-Burger King motto: “Have it our way”), feel exploited. My employer discount currently gives me unlimited data and 450 minutes and no free texts (using Google Voice to respond) for $62/mo. I’ll likely see ~$30 increase (employer discount also becomes less) for less data (2GB), and then throw a hissy fit and leave for PagePlus. How many others like me are out there? My guess is 10% – 30%, depending on what other alternative plans are available.

    A risky time to buy VZ stock.

  7. hortron

    First, will VZW maintain their family plans in some form? I hope-

    I was hopeful but look at what has happened for me: our existing plan is 700 minutes shared between 3 adults. We don’t go over our minutes because all of our family is on VZW. 2 are basic phones with no texting, the iphone has unlimited data + $5 SMS. Before all taxes and fees I pay $115/mo.

    To equal this (which gives me unlimited phone/txt & 1 gb data – note the iphone barely goes over 400 MB mo), it will cost $150.

    If I eventually get a smartphone, it would go to $160 (compared to $145 now).

    So I really hope they maintain family plans that are tiered by voice minutes, because that seems to be the reason why they can pump the prices up so much.

  8. Great first step — we’ve needed this. However, definitely just a first step.

    The devices fees are way too high to really encourage families to add-on a bunch of carrier enabled gadgets. I’m assuming the carriers want to lock in a consumer, and the consumer wants more effective pricing. In the consumers eye, if they have 1 device or 10 devices, it shouldn’t matter, they should just pay for aggregate usage, and these devices fees are way too high as well.

    As a side note, I’ve given up buying any tablets, PCs, or gadgets that are hooked into a carrier network. Partly due to the monthly cost, but mostly due to the insane update process that takes forever. I’m tired of seeing the WiFi versions get updates while the carrier versions take forever (if ever) to update.

    The good news is that this opens to door for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to do the same. Competition will hopefully drive the device fees and usage fees down.

  9. Phil Davis

    Did the math on my plan (4 smart phones and average total family usage of 4gb/month, and this would cost me $30 per month more than currently, assuming no changes. It still irritates me that I also paid for a “line extender” to get a decent signal at my house, which means my data service actually comes over my own internet connection via Comcast. Free ride for Verizon, and they still charge for it. Tables also consume a monster amount of bandwidth, so a kid with an iPad using data from a family plan will blow though the family allotment in a day. Best to leave these on a prepaid plan that dies when the limit is reached.

    • Phil, do you use or need to use any devices for tethering? Mobile hotspot is included here on all devices and I didn’t realize that so I may need to add an update to the post. I agree: it sucks to have you use your broadband for better phone service. I’ve always disliked that model.

  10. Casey Sims

    Kevin, have you heard anything from at&t? I have 4 smartphones and if at&t follows suite I could actually save $20-$30 a month with this type of plan. This does sound interesting…

    I do agree that $40 per line for ‘unlimited’ voice minutes is of little interest to me. I have over 12,000 rollover minutes right now but lowering my plan would only save $10 and I would lose the security blanket. Not sure what the answer is there but I would prefer another option.

    • AT&T has said their family plans are coming but no details yet. Now that Verizon has tipped their hand, I suspect AT&T will carefully weigh their new plans and tweak to be comparable or perhaps less expensive.

  11. ME and ME

    surely you’ve been paid by Verizon, Kevin. if you were the least bit intelligent or a sleuth before writing, you’d realizing these plans were made to gouge users. $50 of 1gb of data? right now we’re paying $30 for 3gb. Are you serious?

    • You can’t just get 1 GB of data for $50 with this plan so don’t look at it that way. Price the whole thing and read my example. As this all depends on your individual mix of devices, data, messaging and voice needs. And no, I haven’t been paid by Verizon; I take offense that you even suggested it, to be honest.

        • Me and only me? I think you’re hung up on your anonymous name because I’ve seen a half dozen other posts suggesting similar savings. ;)

          Yes, I see many comments where people don’t like this plan. I see roughly an equal number of comments where people do (on Twitter, FB, G+, other sites). And I said in the post that each situation will vary.

          Look if doesn’t work for you, take it up with Verizon or vote with your wallet. I never suggested otherwise; it’s your money. But that doesn’t excuse a completely inappropriate suggestion that “I’m on the take” with Verizon. I’m not even a customer of theirs, having dropped my plans with them years ago and moving to VoIP on a data only plan and cheaper pre-paid plans from small MVNOs.

      • Telecom Dude

        Kevin, I think the disconnect comes from the fact that you haven’t called out Verizon on what they are trying to do here, hidden in plain sight — move everyone to unlimited voice and text. I have no need for either.

        • Totally understand your point but (from the post):

          “Given that voice usage is in decline and that messaging is a high profit margin product for carriers, plus there are many free alternatives, I find it disappointing that the data prices include these.”

          Could I have expressed more disappointment there? Sure. Especially as I pay for unlimited voice minutes myself but don’t need many. But I certainly didn’t hide anything here.

      • ME and ME

        I still dont think you get it. And of all people, for someone who moved to data only for voip, I’d hope you would have seen right through this.

        but i guess in your eyes, that’s “saving” money. nice.

        “The minimum price will soar to $90 in one giddy leap. The chance to buy relatively modest texting and voice plans goes up in smoke. You have to opt into an expensive smorgasbord that offers unlimited voice minutes and texting – whether you want that or not.”

        • Sigh. Providing links that back up your point is… rather pointless. I could do the same for my POV. Agreed? Good.

          Are there some people who will pay more? Yes. I alluded to that because….wait for it… every case is different. Again, if this doesn’t work for you, don’t use the plan. How difficult is that to understand?

          Bear in mind, my POV is going to be different because I’m looking at the future implication as well the current one. You are focused (understandably) on the current. But there’s plenty of data to show that we’re moving from feature phones to smartphones and one of the hardest hit group in the new VZ plans is feature phone users. That will slowly go away as these folks move up to smartphones and can now take advantage of the shared data. Data shows that we’ll also be adding more connected devices and can do so for less money with these new plans. Data shows that we want to tether our devices because “we paid for the data and want to use it as we see fit.” These plans include that at no extra charge. Hence: my future perspective of thinking ahead.

          Do I think it sucks that VZ is putting what’s essentially a low cost item in the per line fees? Yes. That doesn’t change the plans though; it only means that I won’t buy into them. If you choose the same; great.

      • Telecom Dude

        Kevin, I’m not accusing you of hiding anything. I guess I should have created a separate comment instead of joining this thread.

        Going back to my point, the title of your article is misleading then. Sorry to be nitpicking like this, but as you know, it’ll be articles and titles like this that’ll be paraded by Verizon and other interested parties in justifying these rates hikes.

  12. jonsmirl

    Doesn’t work for me either. I have two low use phones on the current family plan at $10/mth. They jump to $30/mth each which ruins the data savings.

  13. Matthew Evans

    With an ARPU of $53 per customer (check Verizon’s Q1 report) the vast majority of their customer will pay the same, or more. I don’t care about unlimited minutes, I want more data. By switching my family to this plan, we’d have to give up 50% of our data to save $10, with the very real possibility of spending more at $15/GB in overages.

    And Verizon says this is the future?