Verizon, Sprint and AT&T examining the option for shared data plans

Verizon, Sprint and AT&T examining the option for shared data plans
Verizon, Sprint and AT&T's CEOs all said recently at various occasions, that they are looking into the possibility to introduce shared data plans, which can be used by more than one device. Verizon's new boss Daniel Mead said in an interview for the Wall Street Journal: "Describe it as account-level pricing". Mr Mead also added that Verizon is considering the introduction of metered data.

Sprint's head Dan Hesse mentioned in his Q&A session at the D: Dive into Mobile conference last week that the carrier is considering data plans that will cover more than one device. And, finally, at the same conference, we have AT&T's main man Glenn Lurie straight out declaring that they are taking a wait&see approach to see where data consumption is heading, so as to evaluate eventual family plans for data pricing. ""Family plans were born because there were three or four devices in the house. We're obviously looking like that. Maybe a bucket with four or five devices eating from it… We're looking to see where this will go.", AT&T's boss said.

It's really a no-brainer that things will be heading this way, we are just wondering why is it taking so long for carriers to realize the cash cow this might be. We now have voice and data traffic evened out, and in 2011 data will most likely overcome voice. Then the VoIP with HD voice services, which offer better talk quality, will be used by more and more people, so the carriers will probably jump on that bandwagon too, and that will shift the focus from voice to data completely.

Shared data plans will become as popular as family plans are now for those same reasons, just don't expect Verizon's measly 5GB or 10GB plans to survive at that cap (and that price) for long, when shared data is introduced. We are already hearing the nice little family scandals, after the head of the house felt the overage pains, because the offspring blew through the monthly allotment in one night.

source: PCWorld & WSJ



10. 02/2011 unregistered

$100 family plan add on feature for unlimited data for up to 5 phones... Similar to the $30 add on for talk and text with VZW now. Wait and see if it rolls out in Feb 2011.

9. Sellcell

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 16, 2010

Doug, what you say makes sense bout families going over a data due to kids using up so much data. On the other hand, due to the new 4G data networks being established this will not be an issue. You see the only reason they have caps on 3G networks is because there is not enough "data space" for everyone and if it were unlimited on 3G networks, the networks would become congested and speeds would slow down. Where as the new 4G networks have a lot more "data space." 4G isn't necassarly that much faster than 3G right now, there is just more room for data to download. It's kind of like comparing liquid moving through a 1" diameter pipe vs. a 10" diameter pipe. I believe in the next couple of years you will see very affordable unlimited plans and if there is not, well that's because the companies are looking to screw you over on your money.

12. Droid X Doug unregistered

Time will tell on the 4G capacity claim. Right now, Verizon is only doing a limited LTE roll-out with no LTE smartphones yet for sale. Data-capable smartphones (principally the iPhone) killed AT&T's network.

8. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

Yeah, it sounds great, but wait until it comes out. Watch how awful it will end up being.

7. devinr27

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 01, 2010

i am a teenager and i am so excited! My family has been talking about this for almost two years no. "Why wont AT&T have a family data plan?" finally they hopefully will and they will hopefully do it right. The rollover idea is great! i really hope they follow through

6. Droid X Doug unregistered

Shared data with a couple of teenagers will put the family member who is paying the bills into the poorhouse the moment the teenagers blow through the plan allotment. What might be better is some sort of roll-over concept where un-used data Gb are rolled to the next month. That would reward families who don't blow through the monthly data allocation as well as reduce the load on the carrier's data capacity. Giving even one teenager unlimited data for a fixed monthly amount is a plan to fail. AT&T already proved that concept pretty well.

5. Thump3rDX17

Posts: 2160; Member since: May 10, 2010

me and my family have three smartphones on out family share plan on Verizon and are soon to get a fourth, i'd kiss the ground a Verizon Wireless sits on if they do this right.

4. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

lol. the point is for smartphones. and its a long time comming. with some families having 3-5 smartphones on an account, it could be a real game changer. unlimited/high capped data for the family up to 5 lines for $100 bux? It will sell. basically buy 3 get 2 free.

3. notobvious unregistered

@obvious...obviously u r the dummy ...this is likely for any devices using data on an account..duh

2. obvious unregistered

this is shared for internet cards dummy....notice the 5 and 10 gb reference? not smartphones but internet cards....

11. CRICKETownz

Posts: 980; Member since: Oct 24, 2009

@obvious - way to pay attention to the article. The 5/10GB reference points to aircards/mifi's/netbooks as those are the only devices that fit that data tier. Not sure why this other guy is calling you a dummy, but obviously he is unknowingly dumb or ignorant to what Verizon currently offers. @Droid X Doug - if the family share data plans take shape as it stands now, it would be there is no way for a teenager to "blow thru" the plan allowance. Consumers would eat this up. Carriers win and the customer saves some cheddar cheese.

13. Droid X Doug unregistered

Meh. See the comment by Verizon's Daniel Mead about considering metered data plans.... Of course, if the limits are high to start with.... :-)

1. ibap

Posts: 873; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

And how is this different from Sprint's "Everything Data Family" plan?

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