(By Mani) Attention all the postpaid customers of Verizon, Inc.
). The country's leading wireless carrier has announced its new "Share Everything" plan that allows customers to share data across multiple devices – a first in the industry.
In other words, Verizon is putting an end to the unlimited data plans and urges their 93 million consumers to share their data cap with their families.
The shared data plan, which will be available from June 28, could soon become the norm of the industry as other carriers such as AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T) are contemplating this idea as the network bandwidth is pressured by unlimited data plans.
It is not a mystery that Verizon launched "share everything" plan exclusively for families. Carriers have lured customers by sharing voice and text messaging plans with family as these plans help a group of individuals tied to a single carrier. However, now Verizon has gone a step further by facilitating the sharing of data, hoping that the new strategy would add another element of stickiness to its customer base.
Verizon's plans, which range from $50 to $100, include unlimited voice and texts, a single pool of data to share with 1 to 10 lines on an account and Mobile Hotspot. This suggests that the monthly data allotment and the number of devices they choose to connect would decide a customer's monthly bill.
For $50, one will get 1GB of data, plus unlimited voice and texts, and the tariff reach up to 10GB of data for $100. That may sound cheap, but here is another catch. Users have to pay $40 per new subsidized smartphone every month, while basic phones cost $30, laptops, USB modems, and netbooks cost $20, and tablets cost $10.
These data plans would benefit those who have more connected devices such as tablets to get maximum benefits of the plans. Some customers have been demanding these plans as they end up exceeding their data limit on one device but were under it on another forcing them to pay more.
Although, this convenience comes at a cost. The cheapest possible monthly bill for a Verizon Wireless smartphone customer will now become $90, which includes unlimited voice, texts, 1 GB of data and $40 for phone. Currently, Verizon's cheapest smartphone plan is $70, offering 450 voice minutes, no texts and 2 GB of data.
Under the new plan, customers who is about to cross the data cap get an alert and can pay $10 for 2GB of additional data. Those who ignore the alert and surpass the limit are charged $15 for 1GB of additional data.
On the other hand, the latest plans could be a blow for an individual customer who was enjoying unlimited data on a single device. Such customers would be forced to pay more. After June 28, customers who take a subsidy when upgrading to a new phone must forego their unlimited plan and switch to a new tiered data plans.
For users with only one smartphone, "Share Everything" prices are lower than the current plans on the basis of unlimited calling and texting but higher than plans with limited calling and texting.
Currently, an individual with a plan of 450 voice minutes, 1,000 text messages, and 2GB of data pays $80 a month. Under the new plan, he would be paying $100 for unlimited voice and text messages. In other words, the individual customer will shell $20 more.