Do Verizon’s “Share Everything” Plans Actually Save You Money?

Do Verizon's "Share Everything" Plans Actually Save You Money?

Verizon recently debuted new “Share Everything” plans that combine unlimited texting and voice with shared data pools. Prices depend on how many devices are in use and how much data you want. But is it actually a good deal? I ran Verizon’s calculator to find out.

Here’s how our current bill breaks down:

Monthly access charges: $154.76

VZW and other charges: $4.88

Taxes, Gov’t surcharges and fees: 8.09

Total: $167.73

That’s for two iPhones, unlimited texting, 700 shared minutes, unlimited data (we are both grandfathered in thanks to our old smartphone plans), and a mobile hotspot on one of the devices. The new “Share everything” plan would cost $150 for free mobile hotspot, 4GB of shared data, and unlimited texting and voice calling. Effectively, we would “save” $4.00 or so on the monthly access charges, but go from a soft 5GB cap each on the unlimited data to 4GB between us. It’s sort of like we save $4 but lose 6GB. Somehow that’s not exactly a great deal!

Honestly, I have a hard time grasping where this saves much for anyone. In fact, I suspect that Verizon doesn’t want you to look too closely at these plans. Their calculator is quite helpful, but it glaringly ignores one major point; there is no way to compare the existing Verizon family plans to this new plan system. That’s why Verizon doesn’t want to tout your savings… because the only savings belong to… Verizon.

I am sure there is some combination of phones, tablets, FiOS subscriptions, and car ownership that gets you a better deal, but I suspect the majority of households will nominally break even on the bill, and, in the process, lose badly on the data allowance.

It gets worse. My understanding is that Verizon will no longer offer regular family plans. That means ANY changes to existing plans will require switching to the new Verizon plans. You know, the ones that work to Verizon’s advantage.

If you have Verizon, head to their calculator and let us know if you would “save” under the new plans! Meanwhile, I plan on sticking with my iPhone until Sarah and I are both out of contract, and then we will see what the cell phone plan landscape offers because anything is better than being forced into such a poor deal!

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About the Author

Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?

8 Comments on "Do Verizon’s “Share Everything” Plans Actually Save You Money?"

  1. For this to make sense you probably need to assume that unlimited data will come to a close within the next year or two – and that other cellular companies will adopt a similar model (I believe they will).

    If you factor in a tablet (or two) with shared data and tethering on every line the pricing starts to look a little better though I agree – this is at best maybe a savings of $10-$50/mo and it will produce the most savings for those people using little wireless data.

  2. I do think unlimited data will be gone by the time I need a new phone…but in that case I might as well ride out another year or so on my current contract. There’s no use in switching ahead of a forced conversion.
    And in a year, everyone in wireless might be in lockstep. It would be a raw deal for consumers, but it’s not unlikely.
    Sent from my iPod

  3. With five smartphones, only two have grandfathered unlimited data, it will save me about $50/mo on the 10GB share everything plan. That includes the 20% discount I get on the data portion from my wife’s company. Not a huge savings but now all of the iphones can tether and we can officially tether with the android phones.

  4. I’m coming at it from the opposite end of the spectrum. I use very little data and only have one phone. I want a smartphone for the features like a better quality camera. I go online from my laptop. I only use a few megabytes of data per month.

    The plans Verizon offers now are horrible for someone like me.

    I currently have a $30/month plan that Verizon no longer offers. When I stepped up to a smartphone two years ago, I was forced to buy a 150 MB/Month data plan for $15/month. My total bill is around $50 including tax.

    If I’m forced to switch to Share Everything, the cheapest option is DOUBLE my current plan. I would have to pay $40/month for “access,” then another $50 for 1 GB of data and unlimited calls and texts.

    My only viable option to avoid doubling my bill will be to switch to another carrier…Verizon is the only one where I can get a decent signal at my house, unfortunately…or switch back to a basic phone.

    And wouldn’t you know, if they’d held off on this junk for another couple of weeks, I could have upgraded to a new phone on July 9. They put this in place at the worst possible time.

  5. I have an old 450 minute plan for $40 per month. Text messages are $.10 each or I can add a texting plan for $10. I don’t text. I hardly use any minutes because most of my calls are nights and weekends which are free. My phone is 6 years old so it’s time to get a new phone. I ordered the new Samsung last week before Share Everything started so I could stay on the cheaper plan. I get to keep my voice plan and added the $30 for 2GB data plan. My old plan with the data will be $70 vs. Share Everything that would be $100.

  6. I don’t have Verizon for our cell phones, but I do keep looking at their plans to evaluate switching from AT&T. For us, a Share Everything 4GB plan for two iPhones would be $10 cheaper than Verizon’s 700 minute family plan with unlimited messaging and two data plans, which is what we would have gotten if we switched to Verizon.

    Annoyingly, it’s still $5 more than the sticker price of our current AT&T plan, and in actuality $18 more than our AT&T bill because the discount I have on the AT&T plan is better than the discount we could get from Verizon. It would be nice to have the ability to tether and the $10 charge for a tablet probably means I could break even having my iPad on the plan instead of signing up for a month of data here and there throughout the year.

    Of course, it’s always going to be in Verizon’s favor. And I really don’t like the pricing structure. Why should it cost $40 a month to have a smartphone on the plan? Logically, I feel like the price for data should be higher and the price per device should be lower. But that only gives them one ridiculous charge rather than raking it in on every line. It definitely seems like it’s particularly bad for those with just one smartphone, low texting, and/or especially low data usage.

  7. MDillenbeck | July 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

    I did not want to change plans – my phone was designed and featured Netflix playback over 4G when I bought it, and now if feels like they are trying to pull a bait-and-switch. (Look, this phone can stream movies and it only consumes about 1-2 GB per day if you do so… oh, we need to get rid of the unlimited plan, you shouldn’t be streaming movies on a phone anyway! Bandwidth hog!)

    Our existing plan is 3 smartphones with unlimited data/unlimited text/1400 minutes and one phone has hotspot enabled. For that same price, we could switch to the share everything and get 14 GB data/unlimited text/unlimited talk with all 4 devices allowed to hotspot/tether.

    If I add a 4th line (which we are considering doing), I could drop to 8 GB data and keep the same data (assuming smartphone access + visual voicemail + insurance) for the same price.

    It also sound like you can “flex” your data levels – so I could keep it at 8 GB most the time, and when travelling up it to 20 GB paying $10 per 2 GB… a better alternative to paying $15 per 1 GB overage charges. Even if the plan requires renewing, my wife has had her same number for over 15 years now and doesn’t want to risk it disappearing in a port, so we don’t mind if we have to give a new 2-year agreement to flex our data plan.

    Since 80% of the time I have access to wifi, I guess I don’t truly need unlimited data. The people who get burned are those who have 1 smartphone and several basic phones on a family plan – the cost for adding a basic phone is going from $10 to $30! Share everything is obviously designed for 1 data-hog in a larger family plan of smartphone users. Since I am thinking of upgrading to a Galaxy S III, the $450 saved on the phone might be worth getting rid of my unlimited data plan.

  8. Penny Wilson | October 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm |

    WIth the calculator, my bill would go up $17 a month

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