Verizon unveiled the highly anticipated shared data plans today. The new plans--called Share Everything--include unlimited voice and text along with a pool of data to be shared between up to 10 devices. At face value it's a welcome change, but let's break down the math a bit and see how it works out in the real world.
With the Share Everything plans you pay a fee for each device, and then add on a pool of data to share. Smartphones are $40 each, feature phones are $30 each, and you can add a tablet for only $10. Sharing 1GB of data costs $50 per month. Verizon will also offer 2GB for $60; 4 GB for $70; 6 GB for $80; 8 GB for $90 and 10 GB for $100. Beyond 10GB it will cost $10 for each additional 2GB of data.
As it stands right now, I have a shared family plan with Verizon with three smartphones. I also have a 4G "New iPad" that has its own separate Verizon data subscription. So, I'm paying for four separate data plans--each with their own allotment of bandwidth--even though none of the four actually uses its entire allotment.
My smartphones are on a 700-minute Nationwide Family Share plan with unlimited text messaging. The combination is about $100. Then, tack on $10 for the "line charge" for each smartphone, and another $30 for the 2GB data plan for each device--the smallest data package available. Toss on an extra $30 for the 2GB data plan for the iPad, and you have about $250 per month.
Now, let's look at how the math will work out under the new Share Everything plans. Each of my smartphones will be $40 and the iPad will add on $10, so the charges for the devices alone will be $130. If I purchased the same 8GB of data that I am currently paying for, it would add on $90 and bring my cost to $220.
So, with the Share Everything plan I will save $30 per month. But, that's not even really apples to apples, and I can still cut the cost further. It's not an even comparison because I'm also going from a shared pool of 700 minutes to an unlimited voice plan, and I don't really need 8GB of data.
I'm paying for 2GB data plans on each smartphone because that's what Verizon offers. But, two of my devices use a little over 1GB of data each month, and the third smartphone really only uses about 300MB. The iPad also only uses about 1GB of data. The beauty of pooled data is that I can save another $20 by dropping to a 4GB plan because that's all I really need.
Your mileage will vary depending on the number and types of devices you're using, what you're currently paying for, and how much voice and data you really need. But, for my family it seems that the new Verizon Share Everything plans work out in my favor, and will save me 20 percent under what I'm paying for my current Verizon plan.
The new plan will most likely benefit small businesses as well. Most users or devices don't really consume all of the data allocated in their respective plans, so pooling the data lets you cut costs by paying only for the data you're actually using.