Posted By RichC 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.