by Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Big changes are coming for Verizon Wireless customers. The company is scrapping almost all of its phone billing plans in favor of shared device pricing.
The ‘Share Everything’ plan starts at $90 a month for one smartphone, one gigabyte of data and unlimited talking and texting, and you can add up to 10 devices and 10 or more gigs of shared data. Verizon will no longer tack on an extra fee for those who use their phones as a mobile hotspot.
Sascha Segan, lead analyst for mobile at PCMag.com, says some will pay less; others will see their bills go up: “Let’s say you have a smartphone, tablet, and a hotspot, or a family with three smartphones — they’ll save,” he says. “Individuals with one device — especially people with feature phones, dumbphones, texting phones — they’ll end up paying more on the new plans.”
That’s because most subscribers don’t need unlimited voice minutes: we’re not talking to each other as much as we were, and data — in the form of apps, messaging, and mobile web — rules the roost.
“I’m surprised that Verizon has created some scenarios where existing customers are going to have to pay more,” Segan says. “Everyone is being essentially forced to go to unlimited voice minutes. That’s interesting because we’re seeing the number of voice minutes that people use decline. So Verizon is trying to shore up the money it makes from voice minutes by forcing more people into unlimited plans.”
Verizon is keeping a $40 plan for dumbphones. And you can keep your old unlimited data plan, but you’ll have to pay full price for a new smartphone.
The plan starts on June 28.
“AT&T is certainly going to follow with shared data plans and Sprint and T-Mobile probably will as well,” Segan says.
The Associated Press breaks down which plans are best-suited for various types of users…
— The base cost is a monthly data allowance, shared among all the devices:
1 gigabyte $50
2 gigabytes $60
4 gigabytes $70
6 gigabytes $80
8 gigabytes $90
10 gigabytes $100
— Verizon allows up to 10 devices on each plan. This is the cost of adding each device:
Smartphone $40 (With unlimited calling and texting)
Non-smartphone $30 (With unlimited calling and texting)
Laptop, USB data stick or “mobile hotspot” device $20
— Here’s how the Share Everything Plan stacks up against some current Verizon plans:
The Connected Single: One smartphone with unlimited data, texting and 2 gigabytes of data.
Current Nationwide single-line plan: $120 per month
Share Everything: $100 per month
Winner: Share Everything.
The Frugal but Connected Single: The cheapest plans for that one-smartphone guy or gal are…
Current Nationwide Plan: $80 for one smartphone with 450 minutes of calling, 1,000 text messages and 2 gigabytes of data.
Share Everything: $80 for one smartphone with unlimited calling, unlimited messages and 300 megabytes of data (Up to nine non-smartphones can be added to this plan for $30 each, sharing the data allowance)
Winner: Current plan, because it gives you more data.
The Connected Couple: Two smartphones with unlimited data, texting and 4 gigabytes of data (shared under new plan, 2 gigabytes for each phone under old plan)
Current Family SharePlan: $210 per month
Share Everything: $150 per month
Winner: Share Everything. It’s cheaper.
The Frugal but Connected Couple: Cheapest two-smartphone plans are…
Current Family SharePlan: $150 for two smartphones with 700 shared minutes of calling, 1,000 text messages per line and 2 gigabytes of data per line.
Share Everything: $130 for two smartphones with unlimited calling and texting, and 1 gigabyte of data, shared.
Winner: Share Everything. It’s cheaper, but gives you less data. If you need more data, you can get 4 gigabytes of data for a monthly bill of $150.
The Always-Connected Couple: Two smartphones with unlimited calling, a tablet and a USB data stick.
Current plans: Total of $290 per month. That’s $210 for the smartphones on Family SharePlan, plus $30 for the tablet and $50 for the data stick. Total data allowance is 11 gigabytes, but it’s split up over four devices, so it’s hard to use it all in one month.
Share Everything: $200 per month, with 8 gigabytes of data.
Winner: Share Everything. It’s cheaper. You get less data in this example, but it’s all in one pool, so it’s easier to use it efficiently. For example, you could use 6 gigabytes watching Netflix on your tablet one month, if you want. On the current
$30-per-month separate tablet plan, you’re limited to 2 gigabytes per month.
The Family: Two smartphones and two “dumb.” phones
Current Family SharePlan: $220. That’s for 2,000 shared minutes, unlimited texting, and 2 gigabytes of data for each phone.
Share Everything: $210. That’s with unlimited calling, unlimited texting, and 4 gigabytes of shared data.
Winner: Share Everything. It’s slightly cheaper, gives you unlimited calling and makes it easier to use the data.