Over the last ~5 years, smartphones (and data) have become a huge part of our daily lives. Not surprisingly, things like voice minutes and text messages are falling by the wayside as more affordable and efficient data-based forms of communication and services are utilized. The only problem with the now mandatory data plan is that they are per-line only. If you’re a parent with a couple of kids on your line (or spouse/spouse), that extra $15-$30/month per line is a real wallet killer. Thankfully, those wonderful shared data plans Verizon has been teasing over the last few months have officially been detailed.
Spoiler: If you were hoping for “reasonable” pricing and data allotment, look elsewhere. These new plans are not it..
Beginning at $50, Verizon will sell you unlimited voice and minutes along with 1 GB of shared data for up to 10 devices. Each smartphone adds an additional $40 onto your monthly bill, $30 per featurephone, $20 for Hotspot devices and $10 for tablets. On the high end, VZW is offering a $100/month plan with 10 GB pool.
The good parts of VZW’s plans include 1) finally having some shared data as well as having hotspot functionality included without any extra fee. The 10-device limit is pretty nice, too. However, the pricing and data allotment is, in our opinion, a joke. Let’s say you pay $100 for the 10 GB plan and have 5 smartphones and 2 tablets. Such a setup would cost you $220/month + the $100/month for the actual plan. Out of all of that, you’re getting a measly 10 GB. For 1-2 devices, 10 GB is fine. But once you factor in a more normal scenario that includes a few smartphones and a tablet or two, the 10 GB seems laughably low.
For a carrier that constantly touts it’s high speed LTE network as a great way to consume digital content, they’re doing an awfully good job of pricing their services in a way that actually makes using their network incredibly difficult. What we’d like to see Verizon do is provide actual fair shared data plans as well as options to reduce the number of minutes/texts to lower costs.
Let’s be real. We all know voice/texting is dying. Data based services like iMessage, GoogleTalk, Skype, etc are making carrier-based services obsolete. Carriers are simply removing consumer choices when it comes to cellular plans in order to protect their bottom line. It’s to be expected. Still, that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach.
While we were hoping for some truly revolutionary offerings from Verizon with their new shared data plans, it appears we’ll have to keep waiting for that “revolution” because these new plans are not it. Maybe, just maybe AT&T will come through and wow us.
The new plans go live June 28th.