VZW unveils new shared data plans
Verizon Wireless promised shared data plans this summer, and now it’s delivered with today’s announcement of its new "Share Everything Plans."
The new plans include unlimited voice minutes; unlimited text, video and picture messaging; and a single data allowance for up to 10 devices. In addition, Verizon will throw in Mobile Hotspot service on all devices in Share Everything Plans at no additional charge.
The new plans feature a per-month line access fee that varies by device, as well as a monthly allotment of data, Verizon said.
Line access fees start at $40 for smartphones; $30 for a basic phone; $20 for Jetpacks, USBs, notebooks and netbooks; and $10 for cellular tablets. Data remains in line with existing pricing structures, starting at $50 for 1 GB and progressing up to $100 for 10 GB of shared data.
The new plans could be a mixed bag depending on the customer. For instance, those customers currently on Family Plans with a $9.99-per-month feature phone line will now be paying $30 per month for that same phone on the Share Everything Plans.
"Some customers will go up, some customers will go down and some will stay the same," Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said in an interview with Wireless Week.
Customers still on unlimited plans will have to give them up if they make the switch to the new plans. All customers who upgrade to a new device in the future will also be bumped to the shared plans.
The Share Everything Plans debut on June 28 and will be available to new and existing customers who want to move to the new plans.
Verizon Wireless has been telegraphing the move to shared data plans in remarks by executives at investor conferences and earnings calls. Tami Erwin, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, said that Verizon did quite a bit of research before crafting the new plans, which are an industry first among the major carriers.
“Share Everything Plans are the outcome of that research," Erwin said. "They cover every device Verizon Wireless offers, from basic phones to smartphones, from tablets to Jetpacks and more. Share Everything Plans represent a tremendous shift in how customers think about wireless service.”
At a recent investor conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said the move to shared data plans will effectively end the use of the ARPU metric for judging growth, as carriers will increasingly be looking at accounts that contain multiple devices and users.
Shammo pitched the new plans as a "win-win" for customers, as well as Verizon, saying that Verizon would not see a "huge revenue dilution," nor would there be a short-term slowdown in revenue due to migration to the new plans.
Meanwhile, AT&T has been vocal about its enthusiasm for new data pricing models. In remarks at a recent investor conference, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega confirmed that AT&T will also be moving to shared data plans in the near future.
Craig Moffet, an analyst with Bernstein Research, called the move by Verizon to shared data “the most profound change to pricing the telecom industry has seen in twenty years.”
“We believe that Verizon's Share Everything Plans will eventually become ubiquitous, as new customers will be required to take these plans and existing customers make the transition over to the 4G LTE network,” Moffet wrote in comments today.