Verizon Wireless' Share Everything plans are stirring controversy. While the plans could offer savings to families and groups, one editorial questions whether these plans set a dangerous precedent.
Verizon Wireless' Share Everything
plans will not become an official offer until June 28, but some consumers are
already upsetjust as Verizon expected.
"We knew the unlimited news
would be perceived negatively, so we weren't surprised," Steve Mesnick,
Verizon's head of marketing, told Computerworld
, according to a June 14
Mesnick added, "We're allowing
the existing customer base to have a choice. ... we're not forcing anyone to move
to new plans."
The Verizon plans are partially
motivated by the growing trends of increased data use and tablet ownership. According
to June data from Comscore, one in four smartphone owners now uses tablets, and
those tablet users are nearly three times more likely to watch video than
The new Share Everything Plans have two components
user, or users, choose how much data they'd like access to each month (options
start at 1GB for $50 and exceed 10GB for $100) and then which devices to
attach. Smartphones are $40 each a month, tablets are $10, basic phones are $30
and data-only devices, such as Jetpacks and USB dongles, are $20 each a month.
Unlimited texting and voice minutes are included, and all devices can access
Mobile Hotspot options. An account can accommodate up to 10 mobile devices,
each with a straw in the same data bucket.
To some, the pricing seems a far cry
from adding $30 a month for data access. But for families or small businesses,
or even individuals with multiple devices, Verizon says the plans will offer
savings, as well as peace of mind.
Eddie Hold, a vice president at
analysis firm NPD Group, says a family of three, each with a smartphone and
collectively not needing more than 6GB of data a month, can save at least $20 a
"The pricing of data, at first
blush, appears expensive. ... However, one must remember that the data is now
shared, which provides more value, and must also be considered in the greater
scheme of the voice and messaging components," Hold wrote in a June 12 blog post
While Mesnick insists the plans are
optional, Verizon Communication CFO Fran Shammo, speaking at a JP Morgan
conference May 16, told the audience, according to official transcripts, that
much of Verizon's base is on 3G unlimited plans, but as they upgrade to 4G,
"they will have to come off of unlimited and go into a data-share
With people connecting more devices,
such as Apple iPads, to data networks, said Shammo, "It really won't be
important anymore what the revenue per customer is. It is going to be revenue
The Los Angeles Times
, in a June 14 editorial,
noted that regulators need to consider what could happen, should the industry
follow Verizon's lead. AT&T has already suggested it will
"For now, at least, consumers
who don't like Verizon's new plans can choose from among several
alternatives," said the editorial. (Sprint's marketing team would be
smart, during these contentious days, to loudly remind the country that it's
the only top-four carrier to offer an unlimited data plan, and for $80 a month.
Though analysts say that, too, will eventually come to an end.)
"Meanwhile," the editorial
continued, "the onus is on Washington to make the airwaves available for a
vigorously competitive wireless broadband market so that consumers, not
carriers, control the pace of the mobile revolution."
NPD's Hold said that if AT&T
wants to offer similar plans, it will need to act, if not just speak up, soon.
"The reaction should be judged
in a matter of days, not weeks, and if the carrier is truly prepared, we'll see
a response before the weekend," wrote Hold.