At long last, the shared data plan is here! This day has been a long time coming, but it's still a huge disappointment, as expected.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) has taken the wraps off its new Share Everything offering, allowing subscribers to now simply pay for a big bucket of data that multiple devices can tap into for additional (and excessively high) access fees. AT&T (NYSE: T ) will likely follow suit any day now. Both of the larger carriers have already axed their unlimited data plans and the move toward shared data was an inevitable certainty.
Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S ) plans on keeping its unlimited offering for the foreseeable future as a competitive advantage to hopefully set itself apart from its red and blue rivals.
Anyone who thought the change had a good chance of lowering his or her monthly bill has another think coming. It's not as if Ma Bell or Big Red is averse to money. On the contrary, I'm fairly certain they prefer more rather than less.
Here's the Verizon pricing breakdown:
You'll notice that the minutes and texting categories are unlimited, regardless of how much you need. That's naturally Verizon's response to the inevitable shift toward data for everything, which puts pressure on carrier cash cows like voice minutes and SMS texting.
Most people don't even approach needing that level of usage, but instead of offering something in line with what subscribers actually need, why not force them into pricier unlimited plans? AT&T did this recently when it made its only texting plan a $20 all-you-can-text affair, eliminating lower pricing and usage tiers and squeezing more dollars out of those 100-texts-per-month users.
As it stands, the pricing structure will probably help little to no one, while being framed as offering better flexibility and choice. Who would have expected Verizon to actually come out with a plan that benefited most people?
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