When America’s big carriers announced last year that shared data plans were coming, many celebrated. However, now that Verizon has launched shared data and AT&T has announced details, it has become clear that the the end result is a major price increase. Yes, everyone gets unlimited calling and texts, but in the age of the smartphone who cares?

At least as far as AT&T and Verizon are concerned (Sprint and T-Mobile have yet to step up), shared data is an opportunity to increase prices.

AT&T: Coming in late August

AT&T's proposed data plan pricing.
See also: AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson Is a Weasel

VERIZON: Current plans

Verizon's existing shared data plan pricing.

Yes, there are marginal differences between AT&T and Verizon’s plans, but it’s all window dressing.

Shared data is a price increase, period

Here’s a real world way to understand what shared data plans really mean — my family has two “dumb” phones and an iPhone with “unlimited” data and our total bill, including tax, with Verizon is $129.

Under Verizon’s new shared data plan, otherwise changing nothing, we would end up paying 2 x $30 (basic) + 1 x $40 (smartphone) + $60 (2GB data) for a pretax total of $160. With tax, the difference between new and old goes up to about $40 a month.

For what it’s worth, none of the Verizon or third-party Verizon reseller retail associates I pressed on the question, “Who would pay less?” could provide an example. Yes, shared data is a price increase.

Of course, Verizon says that with a shared everything plan we would enjoy unlimited text and calling, but we don’t text and never use the 700 shared minutes under our legacy plan. In nutshell, whether it’s AT&T or Verizion, shared data is all about paying more.

Yeah, it’s pretty easy to hate the phone company…

What’s your take?

  1. Shared data price increases are yet another reason to stay with my grandfathered AT&T $80 Unlimited Data iPhone plan and my $50 Verizon JetPack 5GB data plan. Neither Verizon nor AT&T have any chance of tempting me to pay more for the same thing by consolidating on one carrier. Under the new AT&T contract I would pay $25 more a month and under Verizon I would pay $20 more a month and the combined bill would arrive even earlier in the month.

    No deal.

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