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(Ars Technica)   Verizon's new shared data plans may actually save families with multiple devices money, a flaw which will surely be rectified in a future update   (arstechnica.com) divider line 87
    More: Misc, Verizon, technical director, Ars Technica  
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2653 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Jun 2012 at 1:46 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-12 01:35:28 PM
Step 1: Sign everyone up for shared data plan.
Step 2: Change the fine print on a slip of paper included in paper bills, add limits and huge overage charges per device
Step 3: Profit

Verizon!
 
2012-06-12 01:54:03 PM
i47.photobucket.com
 
2012-06-12 01:58:06 PM

kingoomieiii: [i47.photobucket.com image 640x120]


Technically that $50 also includes unlimited talk and text, its only $10 more for 2GB
 
2012-06-12 01:59:44 PM
My account currently has one smartphone with 2GB per month, four dumb phones, unlimited texting for all, and three times more minutes of talk than we use. That costs me $165. Under the new plan, and dropping down to 1GB per month (I only average 0.6 GB and only exceeded 1.0 the first month I had the phone), under the new plan my monthly bill would be $210.
 
2012-06-12 02:01:40 PM

MindStalker: kingoomieiii: [i47.photobucket.com image 640x120]

Technically that $50 also includes unlimited talk and text, its only $10 more for 2GB


PLUS $40 PER SMARTPHONE ON THE PLAN

I CANNOT CONCEIVE HOW ANYONE WHO ISN'T ALREADY BEING RIPPED OFF COULD POSSIBLY SAVE MONEY
 
2012-06-12 02:09:45 PM
I'm glad to see the rise of prepaid plans getting advanced devices. I am on AT&T right now and was looking at changing carriers because I'm leaving my business paid line. But all of them seem to want to gauge me on monthly charges and fees.

So at the end of the month I'm going Straight Talk. the prepaid SIM works on any AT&T phone (no unlocking required), uses AT&T's towers and service (same speed and coverage), and only costs $45/month for unlimited* voice, text, and data.

*unlimited in the standard carrier sense of the word.
 
2012-06-12 02:09:51 PM

Wellon Dowd: My account currently has one smartphone with 2GB per month, four dumb phones, unlimited texting for all, and three times more minutes of talk than we use. That costs me $165. Under the new plan, and dropping down to 1GB per month (I only average 0.6 GB and only exceeded 1.0 the first month I had the phone), under the new plan my monthly bill would be $210.


Yeah, they are overcharging for dumb phones, if they knocked the dumb phones down to $20 they would be more in line with other carriers.
 
2012-06-12 02:11:12 PM

kingoomieiii: MindStalker: kingoomieiii: [i47.photobucket.com image 640x120]

Technically that $50 also includes unlimited talk and text, its only $10 more for 2GB

PLUS $40 PER SMARTPHONE ON THE PLAN

I CANNOT CONCEIVE HOW ANYONE WHO ISN'T ALREADY BEING RIPPED OFF COULD POSSIBLY SAVE MONEY


Note this is an unlimited talk/text plan, so that's basically in line with the $90 many carriers are charging for single line unlimited talk/text.
 
2012-06-12 02:13:50 PM
I've got unlimited data on 4G, wife doesn't have a smart phone. Adding a $30 data plan when she upgrades will be cheaper than getting as much data as I use. 9 GB last month alone since I stream HBO and I run a mobile hotspot with my rooted phone.
 
2012-06-12 02:14:12 PM
I'm with Verizon and have a calling plan and a data plan that I haven't changed since I got them. Neither one is available anymore. My data plan is unlimited (had it over two years) and my wife and I share 400 minutes of talk time (since 2000 or so). Not planning on changing until they make me.
 
2012-06-12 02:23:43 PM

MindStalker: Note this is an unlimited talk/text plan, so that's basically in line with the $90 many carriers are charging for single line unlimited talk/text.


Sprint offers a single unlimited talk/text plan for individual phones. $109.99 for smart phones... with unlimited data.
AT&T's "equivalent" plan is something like $129.99 (won't show me until I create an account and send them a birth certificate or something) for 3GB. On AT&T's terrible network.

Disclaimer: that's the pricing they show for my zip code. I assume it's all pretty much the same.
 
2012-06-12 02:23:52 PM
I like how "basic phones" are $30... F*ck that shiat, right now my mom has a $10 line on my plan and no texting.
 
2012-06-12 02:26:38 PM

Gig103: I like how "basic phones" are $30... F*ck that shiat, right now my mom has a $10 line on my plan and no texting.


Seriously. They could destroy their competition by charging like $5 for normal phones. It doesn't farking cost them anything. It's not like they're spending money to bolster the BASIC network.
 
2012-06-12 02:30:08 PM
I don't see how that plan would be any cheaper than the 4 phone plan I have now that costs me $200 per month

Just our 4 phones (2 smart, 2 plain) would cost us $140 without the data plan. A decent data plan would then toss us over the $200. I would lose my unlimited data plan on my phone too.

Guaranteed Subby, this will save very few people money. It will cost most people the same or more.
 
2012-06-12 02:31:10 PM
The telecoms want to have their cake and eat it too. They whine about data usage and want to treat it like a commodity, but they want to rip you off at every turn and make people who use less pay for more.

I don't see why I should have to pay for unlimited voice minutes just to share a data pool with other users on my family plan. Greedy farks.
 
2012-06-12 02:33:32 PM

MightyPez: So at the end of the month I'm going Straight Talk.


from what i've heard, if you stream any media over 3G (pandora, netflix, etc), they cancel your account.
 
2012-06-12 02:35:08 PM
I ran through a bunch of combinations and accounts with 3-10 devices can save a ton of money. If you already pay a lot for voice+text you will save even more. Remember, you are getting unlimited talk+text for $30 a line for feature phones and $40 a line for smartphones. That alone is a significant savings. The data side is a bit more complicated.
Two smartphones are already paying $60 for data and getting 4GB. To get the same, that price will go up $10. This might not be a good choice unless one device uses 3GB and the other uses very little.
However, three smartphones are paying $90 for data and getting 6GB. To get the same, that price will go down $10.
And it increases the savings faster as more smartphones are added.
Now this appears to be the key benefit. It currently costs $35/mo to get a tablet and have 3GB. Now you can add a tablet for $10/mo and maybe up the data by 2GB for another $10. That is a savings of $15/mo. Not too bad. You can stick10 devices on the account, so the deal gets better and better as you add data devices.... as long as nobody is a heavy user. Heck, you could probably even handle a heavy user. My wife uses her smartphone constantly and rarely uses over 1GB. Of course she doesn't constantly stream audio or video, but wireless really isn't the best choice for that anyway. Intermittent, sure, but not constantly.
 
2012-06-12 02:36:28 PM
Hmm, so my basic phone plan will cost me $50 for data THAT I CANNOT USE?! Well, I now have a great reason to switch carriers. DIAF, Verizon.
 
2012-06-12 02:36:43 PM

Tax Boy: MightyPez: So at the end of the month I'm going Straight Talk.

from what i've heard, if you stream any media over 3G (pandora, netflix, etc), they cancel your account.


That's the thing with the internet: a whole lot of unsubstantiated rumors. I tested this particular one by streaming an episode of Downton Abbey on Netflix with my test phone. No problems. I hear some people yell any streaming gets you instantly kicked off while other have said they were able to pull 6GB without so much as a warning. The truth, I'm sure, is somewhere in the middle.
 
2012-06-12 02:40:19 PM

kingoomieiii: MindStalker: kingoomieiii: [i47.photobucket.com image 640x120]

Technically that $50 also includes unlimited talk and text, its only $10 more for 2GB

PLUS $40 PER SMARTPHONE ON THE PLAN

I CANNOT CONCEIVE HOW ANYONE WHO ISN'T ALREADY BEING RIPPED OFF COULD POSSIBLY SAVE MONEY


It's highway robbery, sure, but how else are you going to get two smartphones on a plan for significantly cheaper? Even Sprint is pushing $200 for an Everything Family plan.
 
2012-06-12 02:41:43 PM

Mr_Juche: Hmm, so my basic phone plan will cost me $50 for data THAT I CANNOT USE?! Well, I now have a great reason to switch carriers. DIAF, Verizon.


I am pretty sure these plans are for customers that have more than one data device. However, if you already have a couple/few data devices you can add your little feature phone for $30 and get to sip a little data from the pool as well as enjoy unlimited talk and text. You sure as hell have never been able to get unlimited talk and text on a feature phone from Verizon for $30 before.
 
2012-06-12 02:51:45 PM

Mr_Juche: Hmm, so my basic phone plan will cost me $50 for data THAT I CANNOT USE?! Well, I now have a great reason to switch carriers. DIAF, Verizon.


Umm, they aren't forcing you to this plan, this is their unlimited family plan options listings. There are a ton of other plans they have.
 
2012-06-12 02:52:40 PM
I currently pay $100 for three handsets to share 1400 minutes, $20 for two little text plans, $30 for data (because one is a smartphone), and $35 for a tablet which uses 1 out of 3GB/mo. So $185 before taxes are added and my business discount is subtracted.

If I moved to this I would pay $110 for a smartphone, two feature phones, and a tablet. I would also pick the 4GB plan and pay $70 for data. A total of $180, saving $5 a month and removing the voice and text caps.

Now that isn't a big savings, but if I changed one feature phone to a smartphone when Galaxy S3 comes out I would have had to pay $30 more under my existing plan, but I could raise the data plan by 4GB (up to 8GB) and save another $5/mo going with the new plan.

So it would work for me. Anyone with 3 or more lines that actually talks and texts should see a big win. If you can adjust to less data, you can save even more. I was buying 8GB with the new plan, even though the tablet and smartphones in my household rarely if ever go over 1GB/mo. Could probably save another $20/mo dropping to a lower data plan.

Now lets see what AT&T does differently...
 
2012-06-12 02:53:11 PM
I was going to ask why Verizon was going to charge $40 for a smartphone and $30 for a regular phone, but then I saw the $10 for a tablet and it clicked.

Regular phone, no data, basically. Tablet, no voice service, $30 + $10 = $40.

To me, it seems like Verizon has realized the only thing people value, and they can make a profit on, is data services. Otherwise, everything else is just commodity services that people are no longer interested in paying extra for.
 
2012-06-12 03:01:07 PM

weiserfireman: I was going to ask why Verizon was going to charge $40 for a smartphone and $30 for a regular phone, but then I saw the $10 for a tablet and it clicked.

Regular phone, no data, basically. Tablet, no voice service, $30 + $10 = $40.

To me, it seems like Verizon has realized the only thing people value, and they can make a profit on, is data services. Otherwise, everything else is just commodity services that people are no longer interested in paying extra for.


Actually, feature phones can use data. They just don't use very much, so having a feature phone becomes a bit better because you don't hesitate to use the data features because they are so minimal they don't really do much to the shared pool. So downloading games, music, or checking the weather become almost free for feature phones under this plan. They previously required a mini-data feature that cost $5-10/mo which I really didn't want to pay. So there is a hidden benefit.
 
2012-06-12 03:22:57 PM
Doing the math on this I would end up paying a bit less than I do now for myself and my wife on the death star network

$50 - 2 smartphones with 2gb each data
$30 - Unlimited SMS, MMS
$79 - Something like 900 mminutes to split
Comes out to $160/month

If i was satisfied with total 4GB I could do $70+40+40=$150

Roughly the same basically, and I would actually get more data, since I'm the one who does online crap on my phone more of the 2 of us.

Though I can see how people would be butthurt losing unlimited. I think we could conceivably cut our minutes down currently as well, since with in-network calling we never really end up touching our minutes.

Not switching providers until we're both up for renewal though, and I don't have a desire to switch for a new iphone until they run on 4g, so I guess I'm waiting until next summer.
 
2012-06-12 03:54:39 PM
Only tangentially related to the thread, but anyone who doesn't talk much on their phone should check out T-Mobile's $30 Monthly4G pay-as-you-go "plan". I get 100 talk minutes a month, and unlimited text and data (5GB at 4G).

So much better for me than any other plan out there, I really hope that kind of plan catches on with other companies, or at least that T-Mobile doesn't drop it.
 
2012-06-12 04:41:32 PM
I remember seeing this earlier on another site. Maybe it was wrong but the claim was that Verizon is shifting from individual 2GB plans for $30 each to a 2GB shared plan, for $60. In other words, if you have 2 2GB plans, now you'll pay the same amount for half the data for twice as much for the same amount of date. Those savings sure add up fast!
 
2012-06-12 04:44:40 PM
TFA says nothing about tethering. I wonder if there will be a $29.99 surcharge to use your phone as a hot spot.
 
2012-06-12 04:53:08 PM

mark_bert: TFA says nothing about tethering. I wonder if there will be a $29.99 surcharge to use your phone as a hot spot.


FTFA: "Such a person with share-everything would gain unlimited voice minutes and mobile hotspot capability for compatible smartphones and tablets"
 
2012-06-12 04:53:17 PM

kingoomieiii: [i47.photobucket.com image 640x120]


When I had GPRS for my trusty iPaq back in 2004, it was $25 for 5 MB.
 
2012-06-12 04:54:54 PM
I have one unlimited data smart phone for 90, it would put me up to 120 for a 1 GB plan when I use 4+ a month currently.
 
2012-06-12 04:56:01 PM

penguinfark: I'm with Verizon and have a calling plan and a data plan that I haven't changed since I got them. Neither one is available anymore. My data plan is unlimited (had it over two years) and my wife and I share 400 minutes of talk time (since 2000 or so). Not planning on changing until they make me.


That'll be when you want to go to 4G. Supposedly everyone with a "grandfathered" unlimited plan on Verizon (myself included) will be forced to go with a new contract when they upgrade. And good luck not upgrading...
 
2012-06-12 04:59:02 PM

Abner Doon: Only tangentially related to the thread, but anyone who doesn't talk much on their phone should check out T-Mobile's $30 Monthly4G pay-as-you-go "plan". I get 100 talk minutes a month, and unlimited text and data (5GB at 4G).

So much better for me than any other plan out there, I really hope that kind of plan catches on with other companies, or at least that T-Mobile doesn't drop it.


When I got it, the support people said it was "promotional," so it might not stick around. Also, I read T-Mobile is going to get iPhone-supporting radio frequencies soon, and we all know how iPhone users ruin these things for the rest of us--remember the days of unlimited data? But I'd still stay on it if they raised the price by as much as 50%.
 
2012-06-12 05:00:29 PM

Tobin_Lam: I remember seeing this earlier on another site. Maybe it was wrong but the claim was that Verizon is shifting from individual 2GB plans for $30 each to a 2GB shared plan, for $60. In other words, if you have 2 2GB plans, now you'll pay the same amount for half the data for twice as much for the same amount of date. Those savings sure add up fast!


No, they are rolling data shares out. Two devices sharing data may not make sense unless you are a light user (typical users use less than 1GB/mo, or so they claim). But once you hit three data devices the savings for the same exact amount of data (that can be shared) starts appearing. Tablets and netbooks can save a lot too.
But you don't have to switch. This is just a new option. I'm sure you will hear all about it when you get your next phone. I have two feature phones, a tablet, and a smartphone and it is about a wash price-wise, but I will get unlimited voice/text and I can start using data on the feature phones because I didn't want to pay $10 for a few megabytes. Now there is a pool, no worries. If I swap a feature for a smartphone (hello Galaxy S3!) I can save between $10 and $30 depending on the data plan I choose. The existing smartphone and tablet use a combined 2GB max per month. There are ways to benefit from this new plan though.
 
2012-06-12 05:07:21 PM
I have a verizon 4G phone and no other accoutrements.

I pay $117 a month and I have unlimited data, unlimited texting and if there is some call limit I sure as heck haven't ever hit it.

I currently use between 2 and 3 gigs a month although I have considered going higher than that (clipping the cable modem).

I get that some generic "base price" is now going to be $90 for me, but is that the whole bill, or the smart-phone part of it? And how much more will it cost to "upgrade" to the data levels I'm using???
 
2012-06-12 05:50:16 PM

Leeds: I have a verizon 4G phone and no other accoutrements.

I pay $117 a month and I have unlimited data, unlimited texting and if there is some call limit I sure as heck haven't ever hit it.

I currently use between 2 and 3 gigs a month although I have considered going higher than that (clipping the cable modem).

I get that some generic "base price" is now going to be $90 for me, but is that the whole bill, or the smart-phone part of it? And how much more will it cost to "upgrade" to the data levels I'm using???


Enjoy that unlimited data for now, because come contract time. It's going away. I dont care if you think you are grandfathered in. Your not.
 
2012-06-12 05:51:56 PM
I have unlimited Verizon 4G, and a brand new phone. Locked in for 2 more years unless they figure out a way to nail me.
 
2012-06-12 05:55:07 PM
My family is currently on a 700 minute family plan ($70 base) shared between 2 smartphones and 2 feature phones (extra $20). We have the unlimited messaging plan as well (extra $30). The smartphones have 2 GB of data on them each (extra $60). That totals up to $180 a month. The same setup on the new plan would cost $80 for the smartphones, $60 for the feature phones, and $70 for the data, or $210 a month. So basically, we'd be paying an extra $30 a month for unlimited voice minutes when we never go over our 700 minute allotment.

Fark you, Verizon.
 
2012-06-12 06:00:30 PM
Unlimited data, text, and 700 minutes talk on two phones 200 bucks with Verizon.

/Am happy enough with that.
 
2012-06-12 06:05:12 PM

redpanda2: Abner Doon: Only tangentially related to the thread, but anyone who doesn't talk much on their phone should check out T-Mobile's $30 Monthly4G pay-as-you-go "plan". I get 100 talk minutes a month, and unlimited text and data (5GB at 4G).

So much better for me than any other plan out there, I really hope that kind of plan catches on with other companies, or at least that T-Mobile doesn't drop it.

When I got it, the support people said it was "promotional," so it might not stick around. Also, I read T-Mobile is going to get iPhone-supporting radio frequencies soon, and we all know how iPhone users ruin these things for the rest of us--remember the days of unlimited data? But I'd still stay on it if they raised the price by as much as 50%.


Well, that's kind of worrying. I guess I'll just be happy while it's around though.
 
2012-06-12 06:05:14 PM

mentallo69: Leeds: I have a verizon 4G phone and no other accoutrements.

I pay $117 a month and I have unlimited data, unlimited texting and if there is some call limit I sure as heck haven't ever hit it.

I currently use between 2 and 3 gigs a month although I have considered going higher than that (clipping the cable modem).

I get that some generic "base price" is now going to be $90 for me, but is that the whole bill, or the smart-phone part of it? And how much more will it cost to "upgrade" to the data levels I'm using???

Enjoy that unlimited data for now, because come contract time. It's going away. I dont care if you think you are grandfathered in. Your not.


I'll be renewing my unlimited data plan no problem....but thanks for your concern.

"Verizon issued a clarification to The New York Times today, noting that the loss of grandfathered unlimited plans will be limited to those customers purchasing new subsidized devices for use on the carrier. Users who do not upgrade their devices or who choose to upgrade at unsubsidized prices will be able to keep their unlimited data plans. Still, the change would appear to be set to affect the majority of Verizon's current unlimited data customers, as most customers are interested in regular handset upgrades at subsidized prices."

Link
 
2012-06-12 06:07:37 PM

hbomb1129: Users who do not upgrade their devices or who choose to upgrade at unsubsidized prices will be able to keep their unlimited data plans


The kicker, where I worry anyway, is if you buy a phone on eBay and not from Verizon, is that an 'upgrade'?
 
2012-06-12 06:13:32 PM

Gig103: hbomb1129: Users who do not upgrade their devices or who choose to upgrade at unsubsidized prices will be able to keep their unlimited data plans

The kicker, where I worry anyway, is if you buy a phone on eBay and not from Verizon, is that an 'upgrade'?


I know on AT&T it was. I had a grandfathered in plan (not unlimited data; other stuff), and when I went to activate a different phone they automatically switched me to something totally different with no notice. Super special company, that one, hopefully Verizon is less dickish.
 
2012-06-12 06:18:34 PM

Gig103: hbomb1129: Users who do not upgrade their devices or who choose to upgrade at unsubsidized prices will be able to keep their unlimited data plans

The kicker, where I worry anyway, is if you buy a phone on eBay and not from Verizon, is that an 'upgrade'?


I don't believe so. That would just be switching your device. You can do that at anytime during your contract without penalty.

Link
 
2012-06-12 06:23:29 PM

Abner Doon: Gig103: hbomb1129: Users who do not upgrade their devices or who choose to upgrade at unsubsidized prices will be able to keep their unlimited data plans

The kicker, where I worry anyway, is if you buy a phone on eBay and not from Verizon, is that an 'upgrade'?

I know on AT&T it was. I had a grandfathered in plan (not unlimited data; other stuff), and when I went to activate a different phone they automatically switched me to something totally different with no notice. Super special company, that one, hopefully Verizon is less dickish.


Wow, that's douchey. Now I feel like maybe I need to get clarification from Verizon specifically as I would hate for that to be the case. It hasn't been an issue in the past but then again changes without notice are not uncommon.
 
2012-06-12 07:15:24 PM
My Verizon plan is expiring this Fall, so I was pricing smartphone plans recently and was appalled at the costs. Then I found out that Virgin Mobile, which uses the Sprint network, has no-contract plans. $35/month for 300 minutes, unlimited messaging, "unlimited" data (full speed for 2.5 GB, then throttled). They've signed up with Apple and at the end of June they're going to have iPhone plans as well, for $30/month. 300 minutes is plenty for me, since I don't use it much for talking. The catch: I'll have to buy the phone at full price, which is expensive (I think the iPhones are going to be @650) but overall will still be a lot less than what I'd pay over a new two-year contract. Here's a NYT article about it.
 
2012-06-12 07:28:29 PM

xterraadam: I have unlimited Verizon 4G, and a brand new phone. Locked in for 2 more years unless they figure out a way to nail me.


This. I'm good through the tail end of 2013, but this pricing structure... given my ~3GB/mo usage, it would be an extra $40/yr for no improvement of any kind. I'm assuming they have some non-"share everything" plans. Well, I hope.
 
2012-06-12 07:31:20 PM
Hmm, my family phone bill is about $55 a month for all of our phones. Of course we use them as phones, not as toys to dick around with when we're bored. We have many different forms of computers to do that with with truly unlimited service. That bill plus our phone bill is still way less than some of these plans. My philosophy is usually you can't biatch about getting ripped off if it's not something you really need anyway.
 
2012-06-12 08:16:36 PM
Three different plans
300Mb for $15 on a Focus(3G)
3Gb for $35 on a Nokia Lumia 900(4G LTE)
Unlimited for $10 on a Moto Atrixx(4G)
/Have no clue why At&t gave us a $10 offer for unlimited on the Atrixx just a month ago
 
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