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.