Verizon: Family Data Plans Coming in 2012

Though Verizon Wireless executives have hinted about family data plans, or shared data plans, in the past, CEO Lowell McAdam has finally gone on record to give the initiative a launch timeline sometime in 2012. Under family data plans, users with multiple data-hungry devices–including tablets, embedded computers and notebooks, netbooks, USB modems, MiFi and mobile hotspot devices–would be able to combine and pool a single data plan where multiple devices can share the data allotment.

This way, purchasing, for example, a 5 GB monthly data plan will allow users to seamlessly use Verizon’s 3G or 4G mobile broadband network between their computers, notebooks, netbooks, and tablets without having to purchase separate plans for each individual devices as is the norm currently.

By combining and pooling data, Verizon will hope that consumers purchase more devices as it lowers the cost of ownership, much like how family voice minutes and family plans work currently.

McAdam has not given specifics about how the family data plans would work, and if the company will engage with contracts and long-term service agreements to lock users into into their plans with each individual data device and in turn offer them a subsidized pricing model, similar to cell phones and smartphones today.

McAdams made his announcement at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, saying “We have been working on this for a couple of years. Getting to one bill and getting to account-level pricing is our goal.”

Rivals Sprint Nextel and AT&T Mobility have both hinted that they are looking at similar models.

Pooled data plans may help spur even further smartphone and data-only device adoption in the U.S. by consumers who may find today’s device-specific data plans cost prohibitive.

Via: Fierce Wireless