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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



  1. Steve

    02/07/2012 at 7:36 am

    I’m curious if this will also carry over to hotspot devices like the Mi-Fi? That would be wonderful! :)

  2. Anonymous

    02/08/2012 at 2:22 pm

    I may switch if this happens.

  3. Anonymous

    02/08/2012 at 2:49 pm

    Just priced it out. I use 4000 minutes a month on average, but I only pay for a 1,600 minute plan thanks to Sprint’s unlimited mobile to mobile. We also have unlimited data and texts. Five lines, $203 on average. If I were to try and replicate that on a Verizon plan, assuming I could get 20% off through an employer, I’m still looking at $325.95 per month, assuming they offer double data to just pick up 10GB for the whole family. Our largest month with five lines was 7GB total. I have two Clear lines for $50 a month, also unlimited, add that into our $203 from Sprint and that’s still about $73 cheaper. How does Verizon do business?!? In reality I would want 20GB with Verizon (I’m unlimited on Sprint after all), and I’d be looking at over $355 a month. That’s almost 75% more expensive. Let’s put that a different way. Invest at 2.5% annual interest, and the difference is $47,125 after twenty years. Someone could retire nearly $50k richer just by using Sprint instead of Verizon. These are crazy prices!

    • Dawnforsgren

      02/21/2012 at 6:12 am

      I am a current Verizon user and our bill sky rocketed after adding an iphone for my daughter.  By the time they pro rated and added and subtracted, it cost me double for getting her device, plus everything else. My husband and I are on a tight budget and now that we updated our devices to the new and improved from the All tell flip phones (which the bill was around $150), everything has doubled.  That is something we are aware of, but at the same time, thought buying our ‘smart phones’ through Verizon would be the smart thing to do.  If they just had a shared data plan, that would possibly elimate some of the extra expenses we cannot afford at this time.   I agree, these are crazy prices.

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