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Verizon: Shared Data Plans Coming “Mid-Year” – 5% of Customers are Using 4G LTE

Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo spoke at the Deutsche Bank Media and Telecommunications Conference on Monday and provided a few extra details that we had not yet heard on the shared or family data front. Having long been rumored to go live some time this year, Shammo was a bit more specific during his time, saying that we will see “something launched mid-year this year, from us.”

He then talked about how this won’t initially go live for everyone the day they announce it, but that it will be a “4G play” which we are assuming means that LTE customers will have the option to go with shared data first. Clearly this makes sense, as Verizon has already decided to limit the number of non-4G phones that enter their stores going forward. With an expecting 4G LTE nationwide completion rollout of “end of year 2013,” Big Red should try to incentivize LTE and smartphones, to try and rid the world of 3G and feature phones.

He did not going into pricing or specifics and I wish someone would already. This is one of those areas that no other company has moved into, so we really have no idea what to expect. Is it going to be 10GB for $100 with as many lines as you can add? Or is it going to be something completely different and more affordable? It’s anyone’s guess at this point.

On a semi-related note, Shammo also threw out some network numbers, claiming that only 5% of their customers are using their 4G LTE network, a network that covers over 200 million people. Verizon activated around 5.4 million LTE devices in 2011.

Via:  FierceWireless

Cheers pyroholtz!

  • Vince

    the reason so few are using 4g may be battery life. i use cdma and only turn on 4g when downloading or when i otherwise feel i need it and am close to a charger.

    • Keepingeyesopen

      Good point – 4G is a battery hog.

      Problem completely solved, however by Razr Maxx.  3300 mAh battery = 2-3 days of battery life, even with 4G.  Check it out.

  • gfacekilla01

    Sorry Verizon but I’m done with you and your greediness. I have cancelled the data plans on my xoom and my razr and converted both to regular $9.99 phones. I’m now the proud owner of an unlimited data clearspot 4g hotspot that costs $100 bucks for the device and $50 a month for the service, all with no stinking contract.

  • VZCustomer

    So not offering it for the remaining 95%?  Thanks VZ.  I have two phones to upgrade and *won’t* until I don’t have to pay for more individual data plans.

    • John Davids

      Um, that’s not what this article said. At all. It is coming this year, mid-year, and LTE customers will probably get the 1st round of offers. How are you taking that to mean no one but LTE customers get the option? Try reading before making idiotic comments.

      • VZCustomer

        Did I say they weren’t going to offer it non-LTE customers at all?  Learn to read yourself, pinhead.

  • Jacobgallegos1983

    When you say “Verizon activated around 5.4 million LTE devices in 2011” does that include the defective or returned devices? Because I don’t see it saying “New” LTE devices, so that number may actually screed.

  • KRS_Won

    Does this include mobile hotspots and usb modems?
    As a Mi-Fi owner I was disappointed to find out I couldn’t upgrade to a 4G model when it was time for my upgrade without dropping down to a 2gb plan (now Verizon only offers 5gb and 10gb plans.) I would much rather keep slower unlimited 3G than lose data for faster speeds.

  • Josh Flowers

    only 5% of people are using LTE because it’s down every month. We toggle over to 3G & forget to toggle back since it’s constantly struggling.


    (Thunderbolt user since day-1 release)

  • Maybe more people would use the 4G LTE network if the battery didnt suck balls.

  • KRS_Won

    Only 5% use LTE… on a side note only the top 5% use more than 2gb a month.

  • I currently have unlimited 4G data on my 5-line family plan for a total of $50/month. I want to see them top this. I doubt they could.

    • normmcgarry

      Does this mean $50 each? If not, please inform us how you are paying a total of $50. If not, I’m rocking 5-lines with unlimited data at $205/mo. 😉 

      • Nope, $10/line for unlimited each month. It was a special promo plan they pushed out in Nov 2010 called “Talk and Text Plus Data” and it stays grandfathered on the account. So, 1400 Minutes + Unlimited Texting + 10 F&F numbers + unlimited data = $225 each month AFTER taxes for all 5 lines.

        I don’t think Verizon can do anything that can touch that price, especially with the backwards progression they have been following lately.

      • CSharpAJ

        I have 3 lines with unlimited LTE for $29.97 a month total.  Verizon had a promotion called the Talk, Text, and Data promotion that gave people unlimited data for $9.99 a month.  This was only extended to certain people.  I think Droid Life had the email about this promo and many got it because of Droid Life even though they personally didn’t get the email. 

  • Flat_Stanley

    5% have spare batteries. 

    I’ve disabled 4G on my Galaxy Nexus because it seems unnecessary for what I use my phone for, and I want the battery to last as long as possible. Integrated CDMA/3g/4g chips will help this hopefully.

  • cooksta32676

    5 percent, just wait till the iphone 5 launches. The network will be dead.

    • Sp4rxx

       nah the phone first

  • slackerjoe

    They want everyone to go LTE but if it keeps going down, who wants it?

  • duke69111

    I guess if only 5% is using the 4g network, we can expect a huge slow down in data speeds sometime soon?  

  • mustbepbs

    Knowing Verizon, the buckets will be very expensive. Right now I’m paying 30 bucks a month on two lines for data, so unless they make a shared 4 GB bucket for 50 bucks or less, it’s useless.

    • I think Verizon won’t make it so easy for you to see through the math. The cheapest plan may look like shared 3Gb for $50.

  • Google

    The good news is nobody has to worry about using their bandwidth on Google+. The average user spends 3mins a months on Google+ compared to 7 hours on Facebook. Winning!

  • meowmeow

    5% lte huh… how many use data at all?

  • I still don’t even have 3G data. A minimum of $90 a month for 2GB of data? Ahhaha. No. This may come as a shock, Verizon, but I do need money for things that aren’t my cell phone. 

    • Smeckle

      No offense and glad you’re here, but if you don’t have a smartphone and apparently have no plans to get one anytime soon…why are you reading?

      • Just because I can’t afford one doesn’t mean I don’t want one, or don’t think they’re interesting. If people only read about what they were planning on buying very soon this site and many others wouldn’t have very many readers. 

        • John Davids

          Hmm, if you could show me where it said anywhere in this article that it will be $90 for 2GB I would love to see it. Oh wait, it doesn’t. 

          • VZCustomer

            Could be they were referring to the total cost of the phone?  Right now a shared family plan of $70 and minimum data plan for one phone is $30, for a total of $100 minimum for 2GB.  Individual plan is $40 + $30 = $70.  While I also don’t know where the $90 came from, I understood the intent of the post and it made sense.  Oh, wait, yours didn’t.

    • Bodhiballer

      Nonsense-  you are nothing more than a RPU drone plugged into their matrix-like power grid.  Now can I interest you in some Ringback Tones?

    • kixofmyg0t

       Like more skinny jeans?

      • normmcgarry


  • Fg2srt4

    im very interested in it the question is will current customers be able to change to it or will they make you sign some new contract

    • Smeckle


    • r0lct

      No other change to a plan, including to and from family requires a a new contract.  I think it would be safe to assume no.

    • Joh

      Changing your plan does not mean signing new contract

  • Bobby Jordan

    The biggest thing I get from this article is that Verizon’s current LTE network is widely underutilized and the speeds will be declining rapdily as more people are using it.

    Sounds awesome.

    • r0lct

      As long as they stay withing the advertised range it should be alright.

    • PC_Tool

      Optimist: The network is 5% full.

      Pessimist: The network is 95% empty.

      Engineer: The network has 95% more capacity than it should.

      • Sp4rxx

         Wouldn’t it just be fair to be a realist at that point?

        Realist – 5% full, 95% empty – PLENTY to go around!

        • PC_Tool

          Sure, but not nearly as entertaining.  😉

          • Noyfb

            I get 16mbps, 2 bars, at best, part of the time, i usually avg 12mbps.
             In St.Louis county, I’m half a mile away from the cell tower and in the middle of 2 stores that are both 2 miles from me. If my 4g lte gets slower its going to become 3g. I use speedtest.net app.

          • PC_Tool

            I get 31mbps in Eagan and 15-26 i New Prague (boonies).

            I get ~15 in Lakeville, unless I am indoors.


            Just like every other network….it varies wildly by location and surroundings.

  • Nexusman

    5% have good LTE coverage. the rest are in spotty areas

  • John


  • EC8CH

    “more affordable?”


    This… is….. VERIZON!

    • moelsen8

      yeah really, this won’t be worth the hassle of switching over to a family plan

    • David Verba

      Damn it! Was just going to post the same comment!

  • Nexussss

    I would love to share my Unlimited xD

    • mtkregs

      Yeah, I’m thinking this is more to entice you to a new plan and get you off of unlimited.

      • Dana S.

        Yup I’m assuming that is going to be the case… I hardly think they would let us keep our grandfathered unlimited data if we go with the new shared plans…

        • ddh819

          no way they’re gonna let you have real unlimited family plans. they tricked me into switching from my $5 txt plan to a $10 one when I went over the limit, i didn’t realize the $5 was not going to be available any more

          • Keepingeyesopen

            ddh819 – be aware that you can use Google Voice to do your text messaging (via wi-fi) and completely avoid any charge from Verizon.  GV also can be used for a better voicemail service.  Simply block text messaging with Verizon, sign up for Google Voice and give your GV number out to your friends for text messaging. Any say goodbye to Verizon’s outrageously overpriced text messaging charges.  Verizon really should offer free text messaging, since it saves bandwidth, compared to phone calls.

          • ddh819

            When GV can receive mms, i will switch. I do use it for vm by forwarding calls there.

    •  Not happening, dude.

    • Edwin M

      I wish.