Mobile

Verizon announces “Share Everything” plans — the future of mobile data (sort of)

As more and more of our devices get connected, the problem of figuring out how to manage mobile data and voice looms larger.

Taking a stab at simplifying this process, Verizon Wireless announced its Share Everything plans today, which will allow you to share a single pool of data, voice, and text messages across up to ten tablets, smartphones, and hotspots. Making things even more flexible, Verizon is also offering data-only plans, for when you just want to get a few tablets online, and basic-phone only plans.

The Share Everything plans will launch on June 28, which is also when Verizon will stop offering unlimited data plans for new phones. There have been rumblings that AT&T is working on offering similar shared plans, but Verizon is the first U.S. carrier to actually make them available.

Verizon’s Share Everything plans start at $50 for 1 gigabyte of data, plus unlimited voice and texts, and reach up to 10GB of data for $100. That may sound like a good start, but you also have to pay quite a bit per device: Smartphones cost $40 per device, basic phones cost $30, laptops and netbooks cost $20, and tablets cost $10.

If you’re planning to put all of the devices in your household into the Share Everything plan, the costs can scale quickly. Even worse, it’s not necessarily cheaper than juggling several individual plans. For example, putting together two smartphones and one basic phone on a 4GB shared data plan would cost you $180 per month.

Verizon already offers family plans that can end up being cheaper than its Share Everything plans, but they have lots of options and can be more confusing than the simpler pooled data plans. With Share Everything, you don’t have to worry about counting minutes or text messages, and it’s relatively simple to add new devices onto your data pool.

Simplicity will likely be Share Everything’s big selling point. It’ll be easier for Verizon employees to coax customers into larger plans — since they can clearly show how much each device is going to cost — and it could also help convince consumers to snap up connected tablets.

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