For months now Verizon has said it has plans to change its plan offerings this summer. Instead of going with the old model, which had users paying for bucks of minutes, messages, and data, Verizon would change things and allow users to share pools of minutes. They came through with that announcement today, and as expected there are ups and downs to the new plans.
The overall gist is that families and multi-device users could end up saving, while individuals with a single smartphone will almost certainly suffer. While the shared data pools are the most distinctive part of this plan, given consumers’ moves towards data-based services, there is another twist.
All plans will include unlimited minutes and messaging. This is a huge turn from the industry’s reliance on legacy voice and messaging services as a profit center. Verizon, it appears, recognizes the data-driven future. Here is the new fee schedule for plans:
$30: Feature phone
$20: Hot spot, USB modem, notebook, or netbook
$10: Tablet Data pools
Unfortunately, the new plans penalize individual line users. Currently an individual user can get 450 minutes, unlimited messages, and 2GB of data for $80 per month. Under the new plan the same user would have to spend $90 just to get 1GB of data. To get the same 2GB she would have to pay $100 per month. Thankfully for them, Verizon is not currently forcing anyone to switch, even with a phone upgrade. Families will certainly benefit.
Two users sharing 4GB of data would pay $150 per month, or $5 less each the old individual plans. Three users sharing 6GB of data make out even better, since their bill would total $200 per month, or under $70 per month each. Bigger families, particularly those that have non-smartphone users, will see savings on their monthly bills as well. Adding tablets has also become much more attractive. Previously, a tablet cost $30 per month for 2GB of data. Customers can now pay $10 per month to add the tablet, and then another $10 to add 2GB of data. That’s $20 per month, and it brings even more data to the total pool.
Devices other than the tablet can use that data, which is even better, since Verizon is no longer charging additional fees to tether smartphones. While the new plans aren’t for everyone, they stand to save Verizon customers money in the long run. But more than that, they’re about changing the wireless environment. Minutes and messages are slowly fading away. Data is the future. By creating plans that focus on data, Verizon is paving the way.