Verizon’s New Sharing Plans Signal A Shift To Data

Posted By on June 12, 2012

As our five phone Sprint plan nears the anniversary date, I’m continuing to look around at what others have to offer. I’m not anxious to re-up for 2 more years with any particular company, but not sure I’m ready to purchase five new phones just to be free of Sprint either. After a little reading, it looks like I’m not alone as more and more cellphone companies rejigger their plans and try to keep the upgrades and service high while making a profit … without alienating customers.

I’m not sure if I should stick with Sprint or go through the hassle of switching to Verizon or AT&T only to get more of the same … or take a look at a third party reseller without contracts. I can’t say I’ve heard all that many satisfied customers from any particular carrier. (Virgin Mobile continues to look interesting now that they are getting a few top of the line smartphones — Android and iPhone 4s)

AP – June 12, 2012

Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest cellphone company, is dropping nearly all of its phone plans in favor of pricing schemes that encourage consumers to connect their non-phone devices, like tablets and PCs, to Verizon’s network.

The new plans will become available on June 28, and reflect Verizon’s desire to keep growing now that nearly every American already has a phone. The plans let subscribers share a monthly data allowance over up to 10 devices.

It’s the biggest revamp in wireless pricing in years, and one that’s likely to be copied by other carriers. AT&T Inc. has already said that it’s looking at introducing shared-data plans soon.

Change, across the industry, was inevitable. In the first quarter of this year, phone companies, for the first time, reported a drop in the number of phones on contract-based plans, which are the most lucrative. To keep service revenues rising, the phone companies are betting on increased data usage, and that means getting more data-hungry devices on their networks.

Verizon’s new “Share Everything” plans, announced Tuesday, include unlimited phone calls and texting, and will start at $90 per month for one smartphone and 1 gigabyte of data. If used only with a smartphone, “Share Everything” prices are lower than for current plans with unlimited calling and texting, but higher than plans with limited calling and texting.

The plans will push many subscribers toward spending more, by including unlimited calling and texting by default. Unlimited calling plans provide peace of mind, but not many people need them, and the average number of minutes used is declining.

From the carrier’s perspective, providing unlimited access is an efficient use of its network, because calling and texting take up very little capacity. Data usage, on the other hand, consumes a lot of network resources.

The savings will come to subscribers who add more devices like tablets to their plans. In such cases, the new pricing system will be cheaper compared with separate data plans for each device. Today, few consumers put tablets on data plans, probably because they dread paying an extra $30 or so per month, on top of their phone bills.

Under “Share Everything,” adding a tablet to a plan will cost $10 per month. Adding a USB data stick for a laptop will cost $20.

Verizon’s limited-calling and texting plans will disappear, except for one $40-per-month plan intended for “dumb” phones. Verizon is keeping its limited-data plans for single non-phone devices, like the $30 tablet plan.

MORE
http://www.npr.org/2012/06/12/154838121/verizons-new-sharing-plans-signal-a-shift-to-data

Posted via email from RichC’s posterous

Comments

  •  Some questions and answers about Verizon Wireless’ new Share Everything plans, which go into effect June 28.
    Q: Will Verizon convert me to a new plan, or can I keep my old plan?
    A:
    Verizon won’t switch you over to the new plan unless you ask. You can
    keep your old plan, even if you trade up to a new phone after that date
    and extend your contract. But for new customers, Share Everything will
    be the only alternative, with a few exceptions, starting June 28.
    Q: What type of customer should move to the new plan?
    A:
    If you already have unlimited calling and texting plans, the new plans
    are likely to save you money, especially if you have a family plan. If
    you have a tablet, the new pricing scheme could be a good idea too. Even
    if your tablet doesn’t have a cellular modem, you may be able to take
    advantage of the plan, because it lets you create a “mobile hotspot”
    with your smartphone, so you can go online with your Wi-Fi-only tablet.
    Q: What if I have an “unlimited data” plan? Can I keep it?
    A:
    Yes, you can. But -and there’s a big “but” here- Verizon will no longer
    let you move the plan to a new phone after June 28, unless you pay the
    full, unsubsidized price for it. For most smartphones that will add
    hundreds of dollars to the price. A subsidized Verizon iPhone 4s costs
    $200. The price you’ll pay if you keep your unlimited plan: $650.
    (Verizon stopped signing up new customer for unlimited a year ago)
    Q: I have a phone and tablet, but they’re on different carriers. Can this plan work for me?
    A:
    Probably not. The plan encourages you to use only Verizon-compatible
    devices. But if you have a Verizon smartphone and an AT&T iPad, you
    could cancel the AT&T service and use the hotspot mode mentioned
    above. It’s just not as convenient has having direct cellular access on
    the iPad.
    Q: I don’t need a fancy data plan. I just want a regular phone, with no frills. Are the calling-only plans going away?
    A:
    Almost. There will be only one plan for basic phones. It costs $40 per
    month and gives you 700 minutes of calling. Texting and data will cost
    extra. For this type of phone, there are cheaper, no-contract
    alternatives from many companies.
    Q: I’m single
    and I just want a smartphone, that’s it. The cheapest Shared Everything
    plan looks pretty expensive at $90 per month, and that’s with just 1
    gigabyte of data. Is there no alternative?
    A:
    There’s one cheaper plan, intended for first-time smartphone buyers. It
    gives you unlimited calling and texting, and just 300 megabytes of data
    per month. If you’re frugal with data usage, that will get you by. It
    costs $80 per month.
    Q: Is this the future? Are all phone plans going to be this way?
    A:
    For its part, AT&T is likely to go in this direction as well. It
    makes sense for phone companies to meter only the data usage. They can
    easily provide unlimited texting and calling, but data usage stresses
    their network. They also want to get as many new, non-phone devices as
    possible on their networks, and, for customers, shared data plans are
    cheaper than putting each device on a new plan.
    That said, there’s likely to be a wide variety of phone plans in the industry.
    Q: How do data plans work in other countries?
    A:
    They mostly limit data usage per device, the model Verizon is moving
    away from. Contract terms are often more flexible overseas, however, and
    more phones and Internet devices are pay-as-you-go rather than bound by
    contract.
    Read more: http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/science_tech/questions-and-answers-about-verizons-new-plans#ixzz1xc95BDc1

  • Dave

    This sounds insanely expensive… My family has been on T-Mobile prepaid for awhile and it’s worked well – except for some spotty coverage out west.  But for $100/year (for me-no data) and $50/month (for my wife-unlimited talk/text/data) we’ll deal with it…

    •  Well it is seeing most new plans with limits and your T-Mobile prepaid numbers that has me thinking I should stick with my existing Sprint plan. :-/

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.