Verizon Wireless, on June 28th, 2012, will introduce the “Share Everything” Plans. For the first time up to ten devices that use 3G/4G data, such as smartphones, tablets, cellular data cards, MiFi’s, and JetPacks that are under one billing account can share a bucket of data ranging from 1GB to 10GB at a cost for the data portion of the plan of between $50 and $100. An added benefit is that the fee for turning a smartphone in to a Mobile Hotspot has been eliminated as well.
A significant change in the new Share Everything Plans is that all phones will now have unlimited voice minutes and unlimited text messages. Other features of the plans are standard and straightforward: No Domestic Roaming or Long-Distance Charges; Basic Voice Mail with Message-Waiting Indicator, Caller ID, Call Waiting, 3-Way Calling, Call Forwarding and No Answer/Busy Transfer; Access to personal email3 and corporate email4 (using Exchange ActiveSync® or Lotus Notes Traveler) is included with data allowance, if supported by your device – Data charges apply and coverage varies by area for all voice and data features.
The plans work as follows: For each type of device, Smartphone, Basic Phone, Data Device (JetPack/MiFi, Embedded Cellular Data Card or USB Cellular Stick), and Tablet there is a Monthly Line Access charge ranging from $40 down to $10. Then add a Shared Data Monthly Access Charge of between $50 and $100 for between 1GB and 10GB of data for all of the devices on the account to share. Remember, all plans now include unlimited voice minutes (local, regional, and long distance) and unlimited text messaging.
Verizon Wireless is also offering a Data Only version of the Share Everything plan which includes from 4GB to 10GB of Data for as low as $30 up to $60/month for up to ten data only devices on a single wireless subscriber account. And, for the customers that have Basic phones – 700 voice minutes – no text and no data allowance at $40/month and unlimited voice, unlimited text with 300MB of data for $70/month.
For full plan details, view the PDF file here.
To use the Share Everything Plan Tool Calculator to help determine which plan is right for you, click here.
Short Recommendation: In general, even if you presently are grandfathered in with an unlimited data plan on your Smartphone or Cellular Data Card, if you are within the industry norms of using less than 2GB of data per month, per device, and predominantly use your Smartphone or Cellular Data Device to check email, browse the web, and chat, you will save an average of at least 10% or more by choosing some version of the new Share Everything Plan. However, if you are a heavy user of data on your Smartphone or Cellular Data Card, for example, you spend lots of time on NetFlix or downloading music, you will have to carefully review the usage on your past months bills and determine if the savings is worth the trade-off.
Recommendations and Considerations based on the type of devices and amount of usage in your current plan:
Do any of the Smartphones or Cellular Data Cards presently have grandfathered Unlimited 3G Data Plans? – If yes, then there is a lot to think about. As more and more applications become available and our need or desire to be always connected increases, even though you may not be using a significant amount of data monthly now, it is most certainly going to increase in the future. Verizon Wireless has stated that customers will be able to keep their grandfathered unlimited data plans, moving forward, provided that they either renew a two year agreement prior to the start of the new Share Everything Plan or if after June 28th, 2012, users purchase their new Smartphone at full retail price (or from another source). The premise being that Verizon Wireless will no longer subsidize your Smartphone if you want to keep your unlimited 3G/4G data plan.
If you are well within your current monthly voice minute allowance, with or without the inclusion of the “Friends and Family” numbers, Free Night and Weekend Minutes, and you are using less than 1GB to 2GB of data per month and do not expect your usage pattern to change and would like a subsidized Smartphone when your current agreement renews, then you will most likely save money by switching to the Verizon Wireless Share Everything Plan. However, if you have recently discovered NetFlix or YouTube or have decided to start to use your Smartphone as an MP3 Player and are starting to download a significant numbers of movies, videos, and music, stay with your unlimited data plans for as long as Verizon will let you do so.
All of your Smartphones, Tablets, and Cellular Data Cards are already on a Tiered Data Usage Plan: This is the much simpler case. Most people will immediately save because all voice minutes and texts are unlimited and all data usage across up to ten of your devices is combined in to one data tier. No longer will you be paying for data you do not use. Right now, many customers have a Smartphone – which has a tiered data plan, and a MiFi or JetPack (for WiFi to Cellular Data Access) for their WiFi Tablet or WiFi capable notebook computer. (Or, in some cases they have their Smartphone enabled as a HotSpot instead of using a MiFi/JetPack and are already sharing the monthly data allowance of their Smartphone – which is not considered in this example but would not significantly affect the math.) Since the new Verizon Share Everything Plan includes Smartphone HotSpot capability for free, the Smartphone can replace the MiFi, JetPack, and/or Cellular Data Card for your WiFi devices that need access to the Cellular Data Network. Instead of maintaining two separate 2GB tiered data plans at $30/month each, with the new Verizon Share Everything Plan, you could have just one 2GB plan for both devices. This does assume that one of the two devices sits idle most of the time and that the total data usage of both devices is presently under 2GB/month. Even if you select the exact same amount of data at 4GB for $60/month, at first it appears there is no benefit – until you add in the fact that now all voice minutes and texts for your Smartphone are unlimited. Even if you were a mid-level voice plan, presently at $90/month for 900 minutes, the new cost for the Monthly Line Access would drop to $40.
Here is the math for a customer with One Smartphone with 900 minutes, 1000 Text Messaging Plan and a 2GB Tiered Data Plan, along with a MiFi/JetPack also with a 2GB Tiered Data Plan:
Smartphone Voice Plan w/900 Peak Minutes at $90/month, 1000 Texts at $10/month, 2GB Data at $30/month and MiFi/JetPack with 2GB Data at $30 Month – Total of $160 exclusive of Taxes and Fees.
The same exact configuration under the new Verizon Share Everything Plan would be:
Smartphone Monthly Line Access at $40 with Unlimited Voice and Text Messaging, MiFi JetPack Monthly Line Access at $20 and a 4GB Shared Data Tier at $60 – Total of $120 AND a $40 Savings over your current plan.
You can save an additional $20/month if you use the Smartphone HotSpot capability of your Smartphone and retire the MiFi/JetPack.
IMPORTANT: The above example is based on the current voice and data plan pricing for relatively new subscribers based on information published on the Verizon Wireless web site as of June 14th, 2012. Many customers may have grandfathered Nationwide Access, Friends and Family, Family Share, or similar plans that had excellent promotional pricing that are still in effect. For example, at one time Verizon Wireless offered 250 Text Messages for $5/month. And some of the earlier versions of Family Share plans were $10 to $20 less expensive than the current offerings and had different buckets of voice minutes amounts. It is critical that you review your billing for at least the past six months to verify the usage patterns and actual number of voice minutes, text messages, and data used to make an educated decision if switching to the New Verizon Wireless Share Everything Plan makes good economic sense. This information along with additional tools to help you perform the analysis of your current Verizon Wireless usage on your account is all conveniently available at MyVerizon (Click here to access.) You can also contact Verizon Wireless via telephone at 800-922-0204 or by dialing *611 from your cell phone. Customer Service Representatives are available from 6am to 11pm Eastern Standard Time, Seven Days a Week, excluding major holidays.