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 COMMENT
  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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