Verizon has officially announced the impending launch of its shared data plans on June 28, and at first glance, they make look a little confusing:


The reality is much simpler (check out this PDF - it's better). The "Share Everything" plan, as it's called, starts out on the premise that you are required to choose unlimited voice and text messaging. Not bad.

Then, you're required to select a data plan based on your needs. If, for example, you have 2 subscribers on your line, 4GB is probably a good place to start. That sets your baseline bill at $70. Then, you calculate the total cost of the bill with the number of connected devices you'll be using on the network.

If you have two subscribers with a total of two smartphones, that's $40 apiece, and added to the $70 you'll pay for that 4GB data package, totals out at $150 per month. That $150 will get you unlimited voice, text/mms, and 4GB of shared data between you (that's not 4GB per person - it's 4GB total). Adding a tablet would cost you an additional $10 per month. A hotspot device (a Jetpack) would be $20. Got it? Verizon has also axed fees for using your phone or tablet as a mobile hotspot, and that functionality is now included (as supported) for free with any smartphone or tablet on your plan.

It's unclear if Verizon's old individual plans will be going the way of the dodo (they probably will - the pricing structure implies it), but it seems obvious that the current "Family Plans" will no longer be offered to new customers, and we already know Verizon is planning to kill off unlimited when existing customers upgrade. The natural pricing structure of its tiered data plans will practically force most customers to opt for the "Share Everything" plan, as it will probably be cheaper than the alternative of individual tiered data plans for each person on a multiline plan.

This, of course, has multiline subscribers angry. But at this point, we aren't expecting Verizon to change its stance on the issue. Shared data plans are here, and they're not going away. As a note, the individual plan equivalent of a "Share Everything" plan with 2GB of data as currently priced would be $120 at Verizon, on the new plans it's just $100 - so it's at least cheaper in that regard.

Verizon Wireless