Chances are you knew this was coming. Verizon officially announced yesterday their new Share Everything plan. It is a simplified plan that gives you unlimited minutes, and messages for up to 10 devices, as well as mobile hotspot with no extra fee. However, it also ends unlimited data as an option on new contracts and subsidized upgrades. So, is this a good thing, or a bad thing for the customer? Like all good questions, the answer is it depends.
I love the simplicity. You get unlimited minutes and messages for all your devices, but have to pay for a limited bucket of data that is shared across your devices.It breaks down to:
- 1 GB $50
- 2 GB $60
- 4 GB $70
- 6 GB $80
- 8 GB $90
- 10 GB $100
So basically $50 for the first GB, $10 for the second and $10 for every 2 GB after that. That is just the service, then you have to pay a line access fee for each device.
- Smartphone $40
- Basic Phone $30
- Jetpack/Netbook/Notebook/USB $20
- Tablet $10
The painful small print in this is the overage charge. If you go over your data limit on a given month, you get charged $15 for each GB. Discounting the added cost from 1-2 GB, that is three times the cost of adding 2 GB to go to the next level. This seems exceedingly punitive to me. Verizon has a calculator to help you figure out the best plan. The Share Everything Calculator let’s you enter your devices and get a recommendation.
I looked at my account. I am cheap. I use little talk hours and no messaging (I get texts through Google Voice). Therefore my cost is $39.99 for 450 minutes, and $29.99 for unlimited data. A total of $69.98. Looking at my usage, I have actually never gone over 2GB. My max in the last 6 months is 1.4 GB. I don’t want to discount the likelihood that I may exceed this with a 4G phone, but a 2GB plan probably has zero impact on me (of course the overage charge would feel like an axe to me).
Going with Share Anything, I would spend $40 + $60 for a total of $100. That is a $30.02 increase. However, I would also be getting unlimited voice (no value to me but a $30 add-on on my account), unlimited messaging (marginal value but a $20 add-on on my account) and would have mobile hotspot (something I could use and a $20 add-on). So for $100 I am getting what would cost me $139.98 in today’s world. IF I wanted the added features. Of course I would lose unlimited data. I could also add a tablet to my account for only $10 (though I would need to consider the data impact), and I could add a second phone, with unlimited voice/messaging for only $40.
Before June 28th, I can get a subsidized upgrade to my phone, and keep my current plan, which would have no impact on my phone bill. I would have 18 months to decide if I want to buy my next phone at full price, or lose my unlimited plan.
After June 28th, I can keep everything the same if I do not take advantage of a subsidized phone. If I take advantage of a subsidized phone, I can keep my minutes plan, and convert my data plan to 2GB plan for $30. A total impact of 12 cents a year + plus any data overages I might incur. Or I could move to the Share Anything plan that works for me.
Welcome to the 21st century. Mobile phones are about data now, not voice minutes. When the cell phone companies added data to their phone systems it was just that, an add-on. The idea of unlimited data made a lot of sense to them. Now it is data first, and voice is not as important. Verizon will not be offering minute plans to new customers after the 28th.
I wish the unlimited data plans would continue, but if you really look at the situation rationally, they can’t. Also, if you look at your actual usage, you may realize that with an unlimited data plan, you have been subsidizing other heavy users.
For me, I will likely pull the trigger on the Galaxy SIII before the June 28th deadline. This will give me a full 18 months to assess the impact of the plan. However, I could actually see myself moving to the Share Anything plan before that if I finally break down and get a tablet with 4G access, or add my wife to my plan. We will see. It’s not the end of the world, heck, it’s not even the end of unlimited data on Verizon (you just can’t take advantage of discounted phones after the 28th). I don’t like it, but I understand it.
Here is the news release.