Only Families with Big Talkers Benefit from New Verizon Plans
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
June 12 2012 03:57 PM ET
CREDIT: Shutterstock: holbox
Verizon today (June 12) announced its "Share Everything Plans" that let family members or an individual with multiple devices share a data allotment. The plans include unlimited talk and text, but data tops out at 10 GB, which can be split among as many as 10 devices.
The new plan becomes available on June 28. While it makes for a simple plan, you may not save on your phone bill.
If you already have Verizon service, should you switch from your family plan to a shared data plan?
The new plans will save your family money only if you're already on an unlimited talk and text family plan. (If your kids are more into texting and Facebook, it may not be a good deal.)
Let's break it down to see how much you do or don't save:
Compared with Verizon's unlimited family plans, which aren't going away, you'd save about $22 on talking and texting, as well as $5 on data. That works out to about $88 a month for a family of four. However, you'll break even at 1,400 shared minutes. If you don't need unlimited minutes, you're probably better off sticking with your family plan.
A family using four smartphones could easily bump up against the 10 GB maximum, so adding another device like the family iPad would be out of the question (keep it on Wi-Fi). And if you've got a data hog among you, that person could end up wiping out the 10 GB maximum allotment long before the end of the month, causing a family squabble.
Most individuals need at least 2.5 GB of data to stream music and watch video, along with the ordinary email, sending photos and posting to Facebook. A family of four heavy smartphone users would need the maximum 10 GB of data. Each month, you'd pay $40 per smartphone line and $100 for shared data — a total of $260 a month (plus all those taxes and fees).
If you aren't already a Verizon customer, the shared plans won't give you much of a reason to switch. AT&T is expected to release its shared plans later this year, which could be a little better because its data prices are currently a bit lower. [Smartphone Data Plans: Ultimate Guide ]
But if you want to save big, consider a prepaid provider such as Virgin Mobile that offers no-contract individual smartphone plans (including the iPhone starting June 29) with 2.5GB of data, unlimited talk and text for $50 a month (if you set up automatic monthly payments). A family of four could save $60 a month after eight months, when they've saved enough to pay off the extra cost of the unsubsidized phones. [Buying Virgin Mobile iPhone Like Signing 8-Month Contract ]