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Share Everything Plans Mean Sharing More of Your Bank Account [Opinion]

This weekend, I was fortunate enough to spend a ton of time with a big group of friends and family (30-50 people) thanks to a graduation celebration for my brother. During that time, smartphones and wireless service were brought up quite often (since that’s what I do for a living), leading to some interesting conversations around Verizon’s new Share Everything plans. What I gathered over the last 4 days, was that these plans benefit very few people, and that no one I talked to had suggested to Verizon that this become an option, as was suggested through their announcement. 

Family and Friends

This group of friends and family that was in Portland for the weekend is what I would consider to be average tech consumers. Almost all have some form of higher education, many have smartphones, some have feature phones, a few travel for work, most use computers on a daily basis, and almost all are starting to realize that their lives are made easier by using more technology. Being in the northwest, I’d say that 90% of them are Verizon subscribers and have been for a number of years. As you can imagine, when I started trying to pry thoughts out of them on these new shared data plans, they had some concerns.

“Customers Asked”

According to Big Red, “customers asked” for these new shared data plans. Did they really though? We don’t know who Verizon polled or where they got the idea that sharing data was something needed, but what I do know is that every single person I talked to this weekend, had certainly never thought of it. Not only that, but we also had to talk through the situation a couple of times in order  for them to fully grasp what it is that Big Red is trying to get them into, starting June 28.

Smoke Screen

As I sat with these friends and family this weekend, I had plenty of opportunities to talk through the benefits (if there are any) to these new Share Everything plans. I made it clear that if you switch to one, you would never have to worry about minutes and text messages anymore as they were being bumped up to “unlimited” status. While that sounded good at first, none of them were all that excited about this new “unlimited” status because they are all settled into their current plans which they are comfortable with and rarely run over on.

“Unlimited” is how Verizon is going to try to sell these though. If you look at Verizon’s own landing page for these new Share Everything plans, you will struggle to find benefits. The only thing that stands out is this “unlimited” stuff, which from what I can tell, means very little to most. As you can imagine and we have reported on, people are using less and less minutes and are sending fewer and fewer texts each year. Both of these categories used to be cash cows for carriers, but as data has become the new mobile technology force, profits from those areas have fallen and carriers are finding other ways to make up for it. Data is one of those new ways.

Up front, through the unlimited smoke screen, everything sounds like a positive. “No more overages!” “No more worrying!” “Send as many texts as you’d like!” However, it’s the final step, where you choose a data plan, that is going be the thorn in the side of many. While you may not have to worry about texts and minutes, you will be worrying about data usage. With the small amounts of data and sky high prices that make up these tiers, along with the ever-growing number of data hog apps and services, you should be more worried now than ever.

Bottom Line

After talking through similar points this weekend, we finally got down to actual pricing and whether or not my friends and family would benefit from Share Everything. I was able to walk through their current setup and help them figure out their bill based on shared data tiers.

To give you an example, many of these were couples who had 1 smartphone and 1 feature phone. Their minute plans usually sat around the 600 minute mark, sometimes pushing towards 900. They had the one data plan, no plans for a hot spot and no need to connect a tablet. I would put their average bill at anywhere from $90 to $120. Once I was told how much they currently pay, I broke out the costs under these new Share Everything plans ($30 per feature phone, $40 per smartphone), which ended up being more than they are currently paying in every scenario.

If some of them took their 1 feature phone and 1 smartphone and added on a 1GB data package to share between them, they would be starting out at $120. Since almost no one can make it on 1GB of data (Verizon even claims that the average user uses 2GB), they would have to bump up to 2 or 4 or 6GB, which would then take their bills to $130, $140 and $150.

At one point, I tried to sell a couple on trading in their 1 feature phone for a smartphone because even if they weren’t big data users, their partner who may be, would benefit from having extra data. And then we got back into pricing and with data tiers starting at $50 for 1GB, it then made no sense.

I Don’t Get It

Seriously, I don’t get it. Do carriers think we’re all this stupid? For new customers, it is my understanding that all will be forced into a shared plan. For current though, it’s much different. If you take an upgrade after June 28, you can choose whether to go onto a solo tier or take the family onto a Share Everything plan. Every single current customer should take the solo tier in this situation. You can get 2GB of data for $30 on the solo, but when on the shared plan, it would cost you $60 for that much data that you would then have to share with other people. Think about that for a second. Verizon is charging share plans double for the same exact amount of data.

 An Expensive Future

I tried and tried over the last couple of weeks to find benefits to Share Everything, and unfortunately, I have come up empty. From what I can tell, the only people to benefit, would be those that talk like champs and text with the best of them yet use little to no data. How many of those people do you know? In some cases, it would also benefit large families who have multiple smartphone lines. At least 75% of Droid Life readers said that under these plans, their bill would be higher. In some cases, drastically higher. I think we all understand, as with any major corporate move, that this wasn’t going to benefit the consumer in the end. I just feel for my friends and family (the average tech consumer), who are going to be left with some very difficult decisions in the near future.

  • P356a

    There will be some scenerios where this plan may benefit customers but theye few and far between, that being said here is my situation. I have a1400 min plan, unlimited text,two smartphones with unlimited data, also two basic phones for a total of 4 lines. With the current plan I pay approx. $179 with a corporate discount. I want to add another line for my 9 year old,a basic phone, on current plan I would pay 9.99 for that line, on the new plan I would pay $30. Lets say I would get him a smartphone instead,i would pay $40 more per month (9.99+30.00) on both plans, but on my existing plan my son would get his own 2gb a month not share the 2gb I pay $60 for and already share with my wife. So lets get this straight, verizon would charge me $40 more to add a smartphone but give me no more data on the new plan?I’ll stick with my existing plan as long as I can, just another example of corporate greed at it’s finest.

  • Stuart Eshleman

    It’s outrageous to charge twice as much for the same data when you have twice as many people (at least) using the same amount. If anything, the data should be cheaper than on a solo plan.

  • George264

    But like, if you already have Unlimited Call and Text on 3 phones, this would be great. Especially before it was 299, and with this 220. And I save 80.

  • Yeah, I’m mad.

    Whatever morons begged for shared everything should be castrated. If they already have children, them as well. If I want to buy a subsidized phone, it’s going to cost me an extra $110 a month…all because some stupid f*ck cant fathom making whomever he’s “sharing” his cell phone bill pay their fair share.

  • jaxxmjd

    I agree 100% that the new pricing is FUBAR. This is obviously an excuse to make another money grab and increase profits. Fine, whatever; welcome to capitalism. But the pricing should at least make sense.

    Realistically, the price per line should be consistent among all devices and should be relatively low (ideally no more than $10 per device) or perhaps even $0. What does Verizon care if you’re connecting a smartphone to their network versus a tablet? Ultimately, they’re providing data. 2GB provided to a smartphone is the same as 2GB provided to a tablet. Correspondingly, in order for Verizon to achieve profits at an acceptable level, the prices for the data plans would have to increase.

    Think of the data plan as a large drink. The drink itself should make up the bulk of the bill to the customer, not the number of straws that go into the drink.

  • FromMyViewpoint

    Everyone who is a VZW customer should immediately review the new rate plan and compare it to the current one. I did. I was shocked. The new rate plan will increase my monthly bill for the same VALUE I have now by 25%. This figure was confirmed by both a VZW representative and VZW’s own online calculation tool. Value, not minutes, texts or GBs—look at your usage (i.e., the value) you get from your plan.
    Go to the tool at http://www.verizonwireless.com… and calculate your new bill. I bet you will be unpleasantly surprised.
    I don’t dispute the obvious fact that the wireless business is changing at a rapid pace. And VZW’s PR mouthpiece says it well: “Customers asked, and today Verizon Wireless delivered an industry first,” Tami Erwin, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, said in the release. “Share Everything Plans are the new standard for wireless service.” I’m sure she is well paid for trying to put a positive face on this price gouging.
    When asked by Reuters about the trends in data and voice usage by customers, Ms. Erwin told us why VZW is taking this action.
    “On average Verizon Wireless customers use about 1 to 2 gigabytes of data on their mobile device, according to Erwin, who said that customers’ data usage keeps growing. She declined to comment on the trends for voice usage.” (http://news.yahoo.com/verizon-
    She declined to comments on voice usage trends because they are going down—way down! It is fine to charge for what customers are using, but to demand such a ridiculously large rate increase at one time is insulting and unethical.
    I’ve been a VZW customer for well over 20 years and have always defended the company based on their high quality network and service. Even when their inept executives were not able to cut a deal to be the iPhone’s launch carrier, I sat and patiently waited for the inevitable opening of the market. Now I find myself looking forward to shopping the market for a company who actually cares as much about customers as they do about shareholders. Are the two objectives mutually exclusive? I think not.
    If you call VZW they will say you can keep your current plan—until you need to replace a piece of equipment. Does equipment last forever? If you buy an average non-subsidized iPhone, keep it two years and use 1GB of data or less per month, it is the same as the 25% price gouge I outlined above.
    I’m sure a more savvy wireless provider will see the huge opportunity this debacle creates.

  • lp894

    So I just did some math….lets say you have 5 lines:

    lines 1&2 =119.98 for unlimited minutes.
    lines 3, 4, and 5, = 149.97 (@49.99 each) for unlimited minutes
    Total = 269.95
    Unlimited messaging = $30

    2gb of data each(which MOST ppl have the 2gb data option) = $150 ($30/line)

    Total = $269.95 + 30 + 150 = $449.95
    Even sharing 1400 minutes you’re looking at $90 plus $10/line for 3, 4, and 5
    Thats $120 for the 5 plus 30 + 50 which is still $300

    Each line = $40 for unlimited minutes and messaging
    Total = $200
    10gb Data(2 gb/line) = $100

    Total = $200 + $100 = $300. You’ve saved $149.95…or you’re at minimum breaking even.

    EVEN at 2 lines with the 5gb data option each and unlimited messaging on the old plans you’re looking at $249.95. On the NEW plans you’re looking at $80 for two lines unlimited plus $100 for 10gb of data….thats only $180.

    Where it DOESN’T come in handy, is if you’re currently on an unlimited data plan(as I am lol) and use more than 10gb/month(as i do lol). Even if you’re on the 700 minute plan for 2 lines, still with unlimited messaging and 2gb of data/line. That’s $159.99 where as on these new plans you’ll have unlimited minutes which puts you at $80 for both phones, plus $70 for 4gb of data (2gb/line) and that still saves you $9.99.

    Even in a situation if you have multiple lines(like 4 lines) with only 1 data line, the rest are feature phones with like…75mb of data or something and not unlimited minutes. we’ll say 1400 minutes between four lines. on the old plans thats 110 for the 4 lines minutes, 30 for texting, 30 for 2gb of data, and 30 for the other 3 lines having 75mb. thats still 200. on the new plans, it’s 130 for UNLIMITED minutes/texting on each line, and even if you had 4gb of data, you’re still looking at $200. if you have at least 2 gb of data with unlimited texting which is already $60 even with the 450 plan you’re total is still 99.99 and with the new plans it’s $40+60 which is still $100 and you end up with unlimited minutes).

    Now if, for example, you 450 minutes, 1000 texts, and no data plan because you just have a feature phone. Your bill is $50/month. On the new plans, you’re looking at $70. So that kinda sucks for ppl like him. Other than a situation like that though…I see no loss here. If you have at least a single line with 900 minutes…..then theres no loss. At worst, you’re breaking even