Have apps like Apple’s iMessage made carriers revisit how they charge their customers for voice, text, and data plans? Verizon seems to have heard the bell toll, as they have announced a new plan that allows customers to get rid of tiered voice minutes and text plans, and also lets them share data allotments among multiple devices.
Verizon Wireless on Tuesday announced its new “Share Everything” plan, allowing customers to share data allotments across multiple devices. Starting June 28, individuals and families will be able to buy one data plan encompassing all of their smartphones, feature phones, tablets, netbooks, USB modems and Mi-Fi devices.
Unfortunately, it mean some customers, mainly those on low-priced plans without multiple devices, are going to be paying more.
In its revised pricing plans, Verizon has shown the door to tiered voice and texting plans. All plans will now have unlimited voice and texting. The monthly data allotment will be the only variable customers can use to adjust their monthly bill.
How it works: A user with say, an iPhone and an iPad, would be able to choose a monthly data allotment, let’s say 4GB a month, every download on both those devices would count against the shared 4GB limit. A family, with multiple devices, could share an 8GB a month plan, and share it across all their devices.
Currently each device comes with it’s own data plan, that can’t be shared with anything or anyone else on the plan. Rival carriers are expected to fall in line and offer similar plans.
Verizon says customers have been asking for a plan like this, as they went over the limit on one device, but were under it on another. Carriers have allowed family plan users to share voice minutes across multiple phones, but this will be the first time data has been shareable.
Lest you think Verizon is doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, rest assured, this convenience will come with a higher price tag. The lowest possible monthly bill for a Verizon Wireless smartphone customer will be $90, which includes unlimited voice, texts and 1GB of data. Today, Verizon’s lowest-priced smartphone plan is $70, consisting of 450 voice minutes, no texts and 2GB of data.
New customers will be required to choose from one of the new plans, however Verizon said existing customers will be able to hang onto their current plans when they upgrade, for now. Be warned, the company has broken its promises in the past.
It’s possible that Verizon has seen the popularity of iMessage from Apple, and heard the bell toll for it’s texting plans. iMessage allows iPhone users to send messages to each other without going through the normal texting “channels”. The popularity of other apps such as Skype possibly also led to Verizon’s decision.