Share this Story

US Cellular to Introduce Shared Data Plans in Coming Weeks

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 10.21.19 AM

According to sources of ours, US Cellular will soon join the shared data plan party that AT&T and Verizon have been hosting since last year. Employees are currently being briefed on the benefits of shared data (if there are any) for not only the company, but US Cellular associates and customers. 

Like with Verizon and AT&T’s shared data plans, US Cellular is going to try and sell customers on the simplicity of their bills with one data pot. They’ll also talk about using data however you please (for tethering, tablets, phones, etc.), but we would be hesitant to believe this to be a benefit. We all know that with shared data plans, we have seen a dramatic increase in the price of data. While US Cellular has yet to release that info, less data at higher prices is the current industry trend.

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 10.14.09 AM

Nothing has been confirmed at this time, but we’re hearing talk of unlimited talk and text base plans with added on data packages (again, just like AT&T and Verizon are doing it). US Cellular may also let customers continue to keep their grandfathered unlimited data plans, but new customers would be forced into these new shared plans.

Launch could happen in late September.

As we have more, we’ll be sure to share it.

  • Adam Cale
  • Stephen Cox

    “Like with Verizon and AT&T’s shared data plans, US Cellular is going
    to try and sell customers on the simplicity of their bills with one
    data pot.”

    Um, simplicity of one data pot? I think it was more simple to manage one pot of minutes and unlimited data. But maybe that’s just me.

  • Kevin

    I really hope they let me keep my grandfathered unlimited data plan. The unlimited data is the reason I switched to us cellular.

    • Sydney

      I just talked with U.S. Cellular and asked them about my plan. They said we can keep our plan but if we ever switch to another plan we will not be able to go back. If we switch plans, we will not have to sign a 2 year agreement. I am only with U.S. Cellular because we have the unlimited data. Not the nationwide minutes but unlimited data. One U.S. Cellular rep told me to hang onto the package I have as long as I can. I’ve searched other carriers and if we switch now it will cost us more for less than we have now. I thought the $150+ was ridiculous for 2 people but that’s better than the $200+ it will cost us if we switch. The only one that saves us money is T-mobile but their service on the east coast is poor. I’m keeping my eye on T-mobile as I expect they will increase their service here eventually. True they will probably go with the ‘shared data’ but I’m hoping that will be years down the road so maybe we’ll have an alternative if/when U.S. Cellular decides to stop all grandfathered plans. I am not opposed to going back to a basic phone with just talk/text or even prepaid plans at this point. Prepaid smartphone plans actually can save us money but we have to buy new phones. When my contract is up in about a year, I’ll seriously be looking at the prepaid phones. People need to turn the table and dump the smart phones until the carriers quit abusing the consumers. Smart phones are not a necessity.

  • duke69111

    Well, i guess I won’t be switching to us cellular when my contract is up.

  • TheWenger

    All those listed under consumer benefits don’t really seem beneficial. Being able to “look forward to something” isn’t a tangible benefit.

  • Cgmartin33

    Any input on piggyback carriers? I am done with the VZW Nazis…I am up to $250 for 4 lines, lost my unlimited data and contracts end in October. This anti root thing they have going on is ridiculous…I have a Gnex as my main phone so I have some freedom (but the radios are horrible). What is the point of “Americas Largest Network” when I drop calls at home a quarter of a mile from an LTE tower? Yesterday was the last straw when I downloaded the NFL app to check scores and noticed that the app won’t open on a rooted device (I guarantee another VZW stipulation since we get Red zone). I am done…any input is greatly appreciated.

    • Just to note, it’s the NFL app itself that blocks root users, not Verizon.

      • cgmartin33

        I understand that it is the app doing the blocking…but the standard app doesn’t open, and the VZW version is blocked due to a rooted device (most likely because of live streaming of Redzone coverage). Coincidence or Verizon being greedy once more? All I am saying is that if they want to put VZ Nav and the rest of their Sh!tware on my phone… I should have the right to root and remove said Sh!tware to free up some resources on the phone that I paid for.

  • Lucky Armpit

    I can’t say I blame the companies for doing this… for years now, consumers have consumed (ha) much more data than than minutes. It only makes sense that they charge more for what everyone uses. They realized they stopped making money off talk and text but could further boost their profits by charging you for what you use most… data. You don’t think the fact that everyone has to check their Facebook accounts and Twitter feeds every 10 seconds went unnoticed, did you?

    I don’t like it either, trust me. Thankfully I’m not a heavy data user as Spousal Unit and I share a bucket of 5 GB and that’s more than enough for us.

  • Philip A. Kaiser

    “Greater engagement, decreased churn.” WTF, seriously?!

    • Philip A. Kaiser


      A machine or container in which butter is made by agitating milk or cream.Verb
      Agitate or turn (milk or cream) in a machine in order to produce butter.Synonyms

      • Philip A. Kaiser

        They are decreasing “stir” by taking away a benefit of their current plans. I think someone needs to get a Thesaurus and start reading more before they type this junk.

        • Churn is a term carriers use, it reflects the number of customers who sign up and then leave.

    • Zach B.

      Churn Rate is a business term used for subscription-based service models, also called attrition rate. It’s a ratio of loss of customers.

      • Philip A. Kaiser

        Being sarcastic of course, do they think taking people’s data away is gonna help that?

        • Zach B.

          Ah ha. I appreciate the sarcasm. I’ve heard business majors completely misuse the term, so I was being cautious…

          From a business standpoint, here is where I think they are getting that idea from…

          The one thing that shared data plans DO allow you to do that is nice, is exactly that. Share data, especially with tablets becoming the norm; tablet plans were always so expensive. That is how they will draw in more people and keep them hooked.

          US Cellular, at least in my region, has a so-so, but respectable network. People keep with them because they are very well known around here for being knowledgeable and having good customer support. With that reputation, that is where they think their churn rate will decrease, keeping who they have and getting a few more and locking them in with competitive plan features like shared data.

          That is what they think will happen anyways. In reality? They wanna pull a Verizon and squeeze more money out of their already small customer base, and I hope they shoot themselves in the foot doing it. I’ve always liked US Cellular… Not having the nationwide reliability of Verizon is the only reason I never switched.

    • More like, “We make it more difficult and expensive for customers to leave, so decreased churn”

  • Philip A. Kaiser

    Add another carrier to my list of “don’t bother” when my unlimited data goes away with Verizon.

    • U.S. Cellular actually offered (and maybe still does) unlimited data just a few months ago.

      • Timothy Sternig

        They were only offering 4g LTE unlimited data in select areas and you had to sign a 2yr agreement to get it. A new customer could walk in and get a new phone and the unlimited 4G LTE data plan, but existing customers would of had to sign a 2yr contract to get unlimited data and they would not get a phone. It was pretty bogus how they were doing it.

        • Interesting, I tried them out as a new customer and while their coverage was good, their roaming sucks and their LTE speeds were way worse than Verizon’s.

          • Timothy Sternig

            True indeed.

            Did you know that U.S. Cellular just sold off a good part of their data network to Sprint and in doing so they left all kinds of subscribers without a phone and/or service?

            In the Chicago area where their subscribers would be affected by the sale Sprint sent out letters to the affected subscribers stating that they were taking over U.S. Cellular’s network in their area and also told them that they would have to purchase new phones if the wanted to stay on with Sprint after the change over because their U.S. Cellular phones would not work once the network change was made.

            U.S. Cellular gave no forewarning of what was coming and a lot of people had just purchased S4s when they came out only to find out that they wouldn’t be able to use that phone when Sprint took over.

            Pretty crappy way to do business…

      • Kevin

        They were doing it about 9 months ago but then stopped the promotion in January or February.

  • Mathew Colburn

    Because this is just what everyone loves…

  • “Increased average revenue per account” – Doesn’t sound like it’s going to be better for the consumer

    • RedXander

      They need to take a page from T-Mobile’s book. T-Mobile is making less per consumer but have more consumers vs last year because of new initiatives that customer’s like. If only they had a comparable network in my area…

      • Philip A. Kaiser

        I have been closely eyeballing them as well. Thank goodness I have some good phones ties in with my VZW account because I can’t see upgrading anytime soon. Contacts are all up in December.

      • socarwolverine

        As someone who’s looking to swtich to Tmobile, my only worry is that once more people jump on, they’ll switcth to shared plans too.

        • starnovsky

          I think the idea of shared plans is not bad (like, for example I really liked Verizon’s family plan from before which had shared minutes), it’s the Verizon and AT&T pricing for them is bad.

          • Share plans wouldn’t be bad if they offered competitive prices. It’s absurd that the lowest data option is $50 and not only do you pay for the data package but you have to pay an additional fee per device so even if you had a small family (3 devices) that used barely no data you would be forced to pay $170 /month where before it would have been just you pay for how ever many minutes you need (most people use hardly any minutes to begin with), the text package and then the 2gb of data and it would all average out to about the same price BUT you would essentially have 6GB of data on the plan. To even have a comparable amount of data on the share everything plan you would be paying over $200!

    • kixofmyg0t

      That’s exactly the point of shared data plans. It doesn’t make it “better for the consumer”, it’s just a way to suck more money out of them.

    • Tyler Durden


      • starnovsky

        The correct way of increasing revenue per customer in a long therm is giving customer a better value than competition, not sucking him dry (it only works in short term).

        • James Hill

          That doesn’t mean the people running US cellular have consciences .

      • michael arazan

        Too Bad Capitalism now a days means More for less, for the consumer.

        Companies offering unlimited and other price points then decide that’s too good for their customers and jack up prices and take away everything that brought them customers to begin with.

        Then this trait of no competition, every company playing follow the leader with back room deals of no competition because they can milk their customers more.

        Why fight each other when the customers are who they want to screw.

  • KleenDroid

    Amazing (only in a bad way)