Moon River

Seems that folks aren't all that excited about Verizon's new Share Everything plans. I'm shocked. Change isn't exactly welcome in these parts. That's partially because we just don't like change, and partially because the changes don't always work in our favor. 

Why are we surprised?

I look at smartphone plans like I look at casinos. I'm going to get taken. I know this. From the moment I walk in the door, I know that I'm going to be handing over more money than I like. With casinos, I pretend I'm paying for service. I'm paying to play roulette or blackjack. I sit back, relax, have a little fun. (And, on occasion, I actually win something.) But I set a limit for myself. I know I'm going to lose something, but I try to minimize my losses. Same goes for my smartphone plans.

But let's forget about Verizon for a minute. This is bigger than Big Red.

We're all getting fleeced.

My wife has an iPhone on AT&T. I'm using the HTC One X.  We've got 550 voice minutes on our plan, which we've never come anywhere close to using. But, AT&T's got that great deal where unused minutes roll over. How awesome is that! Now I can pass on minutes I never use from month to month. Never mind that I'll still never use them -- they roll over! Thanks, AT&T!

At last check, we'd used 156 minutes out of a possible 4,226 minutes. Am I getting my money's worth? Hell, no. Makes me feel like I need to make more calls. But I don't have a choice. That's the lowest plan you can get with our phones.

Then there's data. The wife uses less than a gigabyte of data a month on her $30 unlimited plan. Even I don't use much more than that, thanks to being in what we like to call a Wifi-rich environment. Never mind when I travel. My average usage just isn't as high as I like to think it is. But I've got the 5-gigabyte, $50-a-month plan so that I can tether when necessary. Will I use it? Probably not a whole lot. But I'm paying for it, and I'm playing right into the carrier's hands.

All in all, we're paying around $150 a month for these two phones. Are we costing AT&T that much money in data and voice usage? Absolutely not. We're not using our allotted voice minutes. And we're nowhere near our data allowance.

So are we getting screwed? Sure. A lot of us are. The carriers go out of their way to provide plans that at first glance look like they're a good deal. Rollover minutes? Sweet! I can get a 5-gigabyte plan with tethering for $50? Not bad! Oh, wait. I don't actually use anywhere near 5 gigabytes of data. But I do want the tethering. Shame I can't get that separately. So, I'll bend over and pay the $50.

And this is how the carriers act like casinos. They give the fleeting appearance that you're getting a good deal when, in fact, many of us are overpaying for what we're using. We've got to take at least a little responsibility here. (But don't mistake that for me blessing the practice.) We can see the plans. They're really not that difficult to understand. We, as consumers, need to be careful to not pay for more food than we're ever going to eat. But when the carriers only offer dessert with the purchase of a more expensive entree, you're going to dig deeper into your wallet. A la carte pricing is the holy grail of the mobile space. And it's never going to happen. Ever. For some folks, some families, shared plans and deep buckets of data can actually save money. But make no mistake -- these are the minorities, just like winners in a casino. Make no mistake: The carriers are not in this business to not make money.

There are options. The Straight Talk plans are a real possibility. Prepaid devices are getting better every year. (Though I doubt they'll ever catch up to their parent carriers, but then again why would they?)

I'm not sure we're ever going to win this game and only pay for what we use. That's a worthy goal, but the cards are stacked high against us. For now, the best we can do is to maximize our usage and minimize our losses. Check your data usage, and adjust your plan accordingly.

 

Reader comments

Editorial: Don't act surprised when new data plans sting a little

205 Comments

I thought that photo was bad until I read your comment Atlas...

(Sadly, you're right!)

Thanks for a good laugh this morning!

man o man my gut hurts after reading your comment.... so true

verizon should partner with KY jelly and include a packet with every verizon bill.

How can we let these carriers know that we're not happy about this? Who do we contact? We need to voice ourselves, but I'm afraid it'll be a losing battle.

You're doing it right now. In our comments. In our forums. They read this stuff, believe it or not. :)

I'd also suggest finding their contact information and letting them know through those channels.

Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back. AT&T and Verizon marketing and management spend zero time reading this blog. Or any other.

As long as people pay their monthly bills the carriers have absolutely zero incentive to change their practices or prices.

They all whine about bandwidth shortages (while sitting on un-deployed bandwidth licenses), and use that as an excuse to jack up prices. Yet when was the last time you weren't able to make a call (other than sitting in a stadium with 40,000 of your closest friends). Bandwidth shortage is a myth.

They won't change this till people start downgrading your plans, or dropping them, or bitching to congress.

And where is the Bring Your Own Device discount? Why is Phil paying the same rate using an off-contract phone as his wife is using an on-contract iPhone?

Its not going to change, and posting here won't help a bit.

Why are prepaid markets so strong around the world and so weak here in the States? As well as why do we have to pay so much more for service and get so much less in return then they do overseas? And how do we go about changing the culture of mobile communications so that its not so much a rip off.

Prepaid doesn't go over well in the US because to do it right you have to BYOP. And Americans are addicted to carrier supplied phones.

It doesn't work because of built in carrier barriers to portability. (CDMA should have long ago died a quiet death, but VZW clings to it because its a customer trap).

You can't change the culture until you make it possible for people who travel to get the same service everywhere.

You need these things to happen to change the culture:

1) Government mandated inter-operability. (Death to CDMA, all GSM and LTE bands built into every phone certified for sale in the US).
2) Carrier locked phones should be illegal. Contract or no contract. Finland, Singapore and Israel do it right.
3) Carrier subsidies should be separately billed, and not cranked into the monthly price of service.

I can't wait till Google gets back in the Handset market and tablet market with web site sales. I believe they can make a go of it, if they approach it in a bigger way and carry many different models of non-carrier locked phones.

We should not be buying phones from carriers any more than we should be buying Cars from Exxon and Shell.

Worth repeating again & again, PREPAID PREPAID PREPAID. (research Tmobile Prepaid, Straight Talk, Simple Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Boost). Sometimes it saves money even taking account of termination fees (e.g. $80+/mo vs $40/mo, saving $240+ in 6 months). It's a bit more work, but right now you can't save money without some effort.

Also to add to that when you do this research and decide to jump ship from what ever carrier you use:
Port your number to: Google Voice, Google Voice, Google voice
Free text messaging probably won't matter for most since many of the prepaid plans are unlimited anyway, but you can call from your computer if you are low on minutes, all the customization are awesome and the best part: It is extremely easy to switch carriers when you decide to jump ship another time as all you have to do is point google voice to your new number, no more porting.

Next time I switch carriers it will be no muss no fuss and no number porting.

I always wondered how the service was for these. Do they use all the same towers. For instance Tmobile prepaid will be as good for cell service (both call and 3g) as regular Tmobile service. Yes, Tmobile service is terrible...just using as an example. How do the others compare; Virgin Mobile, Boost, Straight talk

I've never had problems with Tmobile Prepaid or Virgin Mobile (uses Sprint towers). Sometimes signals depend on the handset too (some have better antennas) Call drops happen mostly when moving from tower to tower during a call.

BTW, Straight Talk uses AT&T network, Virgin & Boost uses Sprint, Simple Mobile uses Tmobile network.

The big thing that stops off contract purchase is the inoperability between the carriers. I paid full price for my one x, but I can't use it with any other carrier except maybe strait talk or on edge with T-Mobile. If phones were compatible with all carriers then you would see a different ballgame.

The big thing that stops off contract purchase is the inoperability between the carriers. I paid full price for my one x, but I can't use it with any other carrier except maybe strait talk or on edge with T-Mobile. If phones were compatible with all carriers then you would see a different ballgame.

Hi icebike! I agree with you, I`m from the Palestinian Territory, which is the Israelis network, there is no contract and no over paying customer there at all, the people are free to do what ever they please to do with their phone, if they don`t like this carrier, they just take the sim card and put new sim card into the phone.
But in here we all paying for the phones and no freedom to use it as we please, even tho after our agreement with the carrier is over.

Regarding carrier subsidies: My T-Mobile plan is service only which saves me $20 a month. I make separate monthly payments for my hardware, or pay nothing if I BMOD. This seems to be a new plan offering, and I really like it.

First of all, don't expect the government (FCC) to mandate interoperability. They were the ones who set up this competitive system to foster development. Well, maybe to foster profit. And as far as our addiction to getting handsets from the carriers, it's precisely because we know that we can't take the handset to another carrier. That single fact effectively decreases the value of the phone and our willingness to pay full cost.

The system was designed badly and the tendency of the carriers to manipulate the system in order to maximize profit isn't going to change anytime soon. All this keeps the US from being a large cellular market and keeps us a Balkanized collection of small markets and therefore the last to see new technologies. Everything hits the European market before us. And we pay even more for the "priviledge".

You switch to another carrier, don't get attached to one, jump to the one that meets your needs for the lowest money each month instead of feeling like you're FORCED to sign a new contract and upgrade to these plans.

That only works if you go no-contract, month to month, and bring your own phone. Its painful and expensive to be switching carriers all the time, and usually impossible because the handsets aren't all that transportable between carriers.

I just preordered the S3 and got unlimited so for now I'm lucky. I may have to leave in about 2 years when my contract comes up.

There has to be a way to get in touch with someone about these things, but of course they make that process difficult too. As consumers, I feel like we're being screwed over by not just Verizon, but a lot of other corporations.

I understand that as a consumer, you have to do your research and decide what's best for you, but in this day in age, you just don't have too many options. It's a take it or leave it deal and it sucks.

The only way we can truly have our voices heard is by refraining from doing business with them. I'm *really* close to that point myself.

My wife and I have a family plan with 2 smart phones and 2 dumb phones. My phone is currently an extra $10 a month line charge plus $15 for 150 megs of data (I'm virtually always in wifi range, so I have no need for much cellular data. My wife's phone is the primary phone with $30 unlimited data, and her parent's phones are $10 each for the line charge, sharing our minutes.

Unless I'm mistaken, we're currently paying $45 for data between our phones, and that's more than enough. But that'll be increasing by $5 for far less data overall. My $10 a month line charge will go up to $40, and her parent's will go up to $30 each.

So in total, Verizon's new pricing will cost us $75 more a month, for less data and unlimited minutes/text, which we'll never use anyway since we never come anywhere near our current minute/text limits.

Great, Verizon, thank you. You're about to loose a family plan.

Honestly, I'm very close to buying a used dumb phone and ditching a smartphone all together. This has reached the level of abuse on the part of the carriers, Verizon in particular.

Ditto. The math just DOESN'T make sense for my smart phone, plus my wife's. No way am I putting up with this. Heck, in this economy, we dumped Netflix for their $7/mo increase in charges.

Lucky for me, we've both been out of contract for a few months! Sprint or T-Mobile, here we come! I'm going to check out those prepaid options as well.

We ditched Netflix too (for streaming). And we're also coming up on the end of our contracts, so this is the time to switch. We'll probably go with T-Mobile for now, lock ourselves into the same service we're getting now for pretty much the same price and then evaluate the market in 2 years.

What we're paying now is the absolute most I'm willing to spend, and even at that, these smartphones are honestly a luxury, and one I'm sure I could live without.

I think the only real way to get some respect out of the carriers is by leaving them. I personally plan on going prepaid in August (when my Sprint contract ends.)I won't be able to get the latest high end device, but the $60(between my wife and I) a month I will save should appease me. I do understand that these companies are out to make money.
However, I feel like they can make great profit margins without gouging the customer. They could set up plans where people pay $50-$60 a month and still make a killing I'm sure.

The only recourse the little guy has is the way in which he determines to spend his dollars. If Verizon and the other big guys see there subscription numbers drop significantly, they would be forced to cater to the people's wishes.

"I do understand that these companies are out to make money. However, I feel like they can make great profit margins without gouging the customer."

It's not that they're not making great profit margins, they are already, but too increase shareholder value, they want to remain a "growth company", and that means growing the profits by more and more, year after year. So it's not enough to make already absurd profits this year, they have to make that AND THEN MORE next year. And the year after, EVEN MORE. That's what's behind these new plans - the market is approaching saturation, and when that happens, profits will stop increasing. The only way they can keep them going up is by increasing prices for existing subscribers.

Welcome to capitalism and the free market.

Our only recourse is to not spend our money. Do I *NEED* a smartphone? Nope. It's a luxury I'm willing to pay for at current prices, but not at a single dollar more.

But I'm just a drop in the bucket. Nothing will change until large numbers band together and vote with their wallets.

I don't think the casino analogy conveys the point, Phil. For years, I've been eating at a restaurant where I ordered the same buffet plate every month. Every month I paid $25 for my meal. I ate as much as I wanted, even though it was usually very little, but I was comforted by being able to grab seconds. I knew it was an expensive order, but I never complained.
Yesterday, I walked in there and was told that the buffet was discontinued. My only other meal options were a very small portioned appetizer for the same price, or a more expensive order that I had to share with the rest of my table.
Tell me why I should continue eating at this restaurant.

Great analogy!

I understand why Vzw is going this route, and I really don't blame them. But, enough of their customer base is made up of power-users who do NOT benefit from this, and are likely to complain loudly (potential PR nightmare), I don't see why Vzw is not also introducing a plan geared towards a user with just 1 (or even 2) line(s).

I am a grandfathered unlimited data user, and I rarely use more than 3 or 4 gb of data per month (much more via wi-fi), but would actually be willing to negotiate my unlimited status if there were more options geared towards the power user. But this crap? I will buy unsubsidized phones and be on the lookout for other carrier options.

Vzw is worse than EA....

"I don't see why Vzw is not also introducing a plan geared towards a user with just 1 (or even 2) line(s)."

They are. Sprint "unlimited" data for 2 phones on a family plan is $190. Verizon is offering 2 phones with unlimited calling and text plus 10gig of data for $180. If you're using less than 5gig/month, that's a good deal.

HERE'S THE IMPORTANT PART >> If you're using MORE than 5gig/month, Verizon does not want you as their customer. You are the tiny, annoying minority and Verizon wants you to go the hell away and bother some other carrier.

Why the quotes??? Sprint actually is unlimited data. And it's unlimited data for 2 lines for $130/month with 1500 talk minutes (which you will never use unless you use your phone for work)and $190 for unlimited talk and data but who needs that? (again, unless you use your phone for work)

The more than 5 gig/month statement is not necessarily true. The data limits listed are the average ones. The plans can scale out to 30 gigs a month continuing th pattern of $10 gets you another 2 gigs.

They still have their single line prices. I believe it's the same as what they offer now, 2 gigs for $30. At least that's what I understand from this comment on their website: "You're not required to move to Share Everything but if you do, unlimited data will not be retained on your line. As a Verizon Wireless customer you have choices when you upgrade at discounted pricing. You can choose from a standalone data package starting at $30 for 2GB or a Share Everything Plan. If keeping unlimited is important to you, you can choose to upgrade and pay full retail price for the phone."

Find that on the share everything page on the bottom if you click "I have an unlimited data plan on my account. Do I need to change it?"

"You're not required to move to Share Everything"

But it's just a matter of time before they force everyone into these new plans, just as they're forcing everyone out of unlimited data right now.

We're all looking at a rate hike eventually, regardless of how much of the services (voice/text/data) you need or use. They're selling these new plans on the perceived value of unlimited voice/text, which the overwhelming majority don't need, and raping us on data.

Can you imagine the whole smartphone market ever taking off if data was initially priced at $50 a month for 1 gig, on top of a $40 a month line charge? No, it wouldn't have. And the only way we'll fight this is by showing the carriers that pricing such as this will turn people away more than it'll increase their profits.

that restaurant is under no obligation to offer you an all you can eat buffet, the sense of entitlement some people have

It's not really a sense of entitlement, but disappointment. My analogy - I liked going to this diner that offered a $2.99 breakfast special, then price went to $3.99. I now go to a different diner that offers the same $2.99 special, and found out it was better, the service was better, and the experience was better. I spoke with my feet and my dollars,and never go back to the old diner.

Explain to me how it is entitlement?
Verizon introduced unlimited data. They forced people to buy into it with smartphones, with no other options. They marketed as limitless, I purchased it as limitless, and I want it limitless.
The sense of actual intelligence some people have...

You can have it as unlimited for the duration of your contract. In the grown-up world, that's how things work. You weren't sold unlimited until the sun burns out. You were sold unlimited for two years. It's called a contract.

Obviously. The issue at hand isn't contract length, the issue is the blatant money grab. Yes, yes, "go elsewhere." Then the other people go "but everything is the same! Might as well stay."
This is a single front on a large fight between carriers and customers. The longer we take it, the more we lose.

i dont lose anything with sprint, im offered great service at a great price and my butt hole is still a virgin....unlike verizon customers that have had there brains fu*ked out through there ass.

Yep, some verizon CSR jumped out of an alley, pointed a gun at you, and forced you to buy a smartphone with a $30/mo data plan. The horror. I am surprised you are composed enough to even think about contracts any more, given the trauma you went through.

:rolleyes:

Don't be a fool. Unlimited data was the only option, there was no "2GB for..." tiers back then. Your sarcasm did nothing for your argument, and the failed emoticon was worse.

Gas also used to be 1.25 a gallon but is hardly that these days. Just because you may have paid a price for a service or product doesn't mean it will always be offered at that price. And lets be clear...you were NEVER FORCED to buy anything...you always have the option of not paying them a dime. You are not entitled to a cell phone. It's simple if you WANT it then you pay for it but don't act like you have to have it or are entitled to have it.

Some of these uniformed reponses are painful to read but this one just takes the cake.

Gas trades on a free market. You can argue the free market isn't entirely free, but it's certainly less regulated than mobile phone contract costs. Gas is the price people are willing to pay for oil + costs of refining. If demand slips or the USD strengthens gas goes down. The same is not true for mobile minutes/data.

Second you are missing the very obvious point here, which is there is no real evidence the price of the service costs more now than it did last year or 2 years ago, when you paid a lot less and got a lot more.

In fact, this is the only technology where it seems costs are rising over time. TVs, laptops, smartphones, data pipes into your home, DVDs, desktops, digital music, video games, most software, tablets, whatever. They all get better, more powerful, more feature rich, and cost less and less over time.

A fool and their money are soon parted, I'm sure Verizon or ATT is happy to take yours.

If by "entitlement" you mean "desire for a fair deal" then yes. In the case of the restaurant there are plenty of options unless you are in the middle of nowhere. In the case of phone carriers in the US there is no actual choice. The phone carriers in the US are an effective cartel, there are the four nationwide carriers who are pretty much equal in price and what they offer and as such none of them have a great reason to compete with each other seriously. I'd be willing to bet that all of the carriers could cut the prices on everything significantly and still make a profit, but they don't want to because they wouldn't be making as much profit. This is exactly why we need government regulation.

That's right, all you can eat does NOT mean all you can eat.

Typically, one sign at the front of the restaurant says "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." (Subject to illegal discrimination, the buffet can refuse to let you even approach the buffet.)

There's also signs around the actual buffet and/or on the menu that say words to the effect "All you can eat means reasonable portions" or "All you can eat is limited to two trips to the buffet" or "What you can fit on to two dinner plates."

In wireless, everyone by now should know that unlimited data does not really mean unlimited usage.

And ALL carriers include in their Terms of Service that data plans are subject to reasonable usage ("reasonable" as determined by the carrier), the carrier reserves the right to modify or suspend your plan, and the term that few people know about, the carrier can cancel your plan with no notice and for no reason.

We have most if not all of us have seen the "Right to refuse service" sign.

I personally have never seen a sign on a buffet or on a menu that tells me I can only have two plates on an all-you-can eat buffet.

But you are correct on your point, wireless unlimited is not unlimited. It is about the fine print. Unlimited is only a marketing term with "*" or some other symbol telling you to read the fine print. Never trust what the sales person says. You have to read what you sign.

Obviously, IN reality There are plenty more restaurants to choose from with the better offerings... However, this analogy to cell phone plans is not valid, because there ARE ONLY 5 major US carriers (and that's including US Cellular!), whereas there are thousands of restaurants, and dozens within a smaller radius.
So in order for your argument to hold ground, you need to say something like "the other restaurant offers worse food compared to my VZW eatery.
Sprint4food is absolutely horrendous but it's the only place left with a buffet.
Tmobileyumyum has pretty cheap food, but it's also pretty bad and sometimes I won't even get my order (coverage analogy).
at&treats is pricy and often I won't get my order. But when I do, it tastes really good
I really don't know about that other place, us cellular

*no I didn't say anything bad about us cellular because I'm using them. I'm on AT&T

This is why I've been looking at Simple Mobile. $60 a month for unlimited everything with 4G (well, pseudo 4G). Bring whatever GSM phone you want and go. That $400 GN from Google is tempting for their service.

FYI, Simple Mobile is a T-Mobile reseller. So if cell/data network is a concern, look at T-Mobile's network to get an idea.

My biggest beef is that these plans should be getting *cheaper* as time goes on, not more expensive.

If things keep going in the direction they are headed, in about 4 years we will have to pay $150 per 50MB of data.

This is ridiculous.

-Suntan

Also the very real problem of frequency shortage needs to be considered. People complain that phone companies aren't developing the ranges they ahve, but that's false. If the current trend continues all available frequencies for commerical cellular devices will be consumed near or before 2015. Right now the only way to stem the tide is by increasing price.

So High demand and finite supply equals price increase...

If I remember correctly, we had to pay $30 *per hour* for a 14.4kbps landline dialup connection to Compuserve back in the day. If prices for data should increase as more people start using more of it, how is it that I’m now paying $30 *a month* for 18Mbps landline service?

-Suntan

This industry is unique. A ton of infrastructure that is rapidly expanding, and a ton of people to support said infrastructure. Towers are not going to be less expensive to build anytime soon. People who build and support those towers are not going to take pay cuts anytime soon, and you cant outsource this stuff unfortunately.

Currently, Verizon is the best and people are paying them because they are the best. Why would they decrease prices? I wouldn't decrease the price of a product i sell if people are paying for it. When they do stop paying for it, prices will go down. If/when Sprint and AT&T step up to become solid competitors, you might see Verizon's prices go down.

If you guys are right, Verizon will price it self out of the competition. I'd bet that will not happen anytime soon.

ya because verizon customers are blinded. they are sheeple, that are told that they have the best network hurp durp... and they will argue with alot of hurp and derps on why they are the best. sheeple best describes a verizon user and iphone users for that matter. they dont know facts and cant argue that well with verizons di*k in there mouths. haha just saying

From first hand experience and traveling with school and work out to the boonies. Myself, and one other girl who I travel with (both on verizon) are often the last ones standing when others are hunting for signals. I understand in most metropolitan centers one carrier vs another is short of indistinguishable, but go get lost in the woods of Alabama, Wisconsin, or Oregon, that's when I value my networks coverage.

And even then comparable plans between the big carriers are really within ten dollars of each other, even with verizon's new pricing policy They're still within ten dollars of their old plans for reasonable usage, as well as those of their competitors.

with sprint I can roam on all those areas for free. when im out in the boonies and dont have sprint service, i have the same bars on verizon that my verizon friends have and i dont pay out the ass for the coverage.... but they do... and when i go into a sprint store, i dont have to sign in and give a blood sample to talk to someone. Its like walking into a Russia when i step into a verizon store. overpriced and over hyped.

I'm going to point to broadband (lacking any numbers on either side). They're pretty much exactly the same, both have had a huge increase in users and a huge increase in amount of data being used by each individual person, with the exact same infrastructure problems you mentioned. I'm currently paying $30/month for 15mbps download speeds where as about five years ago my parents where paying about the same for a 1.5 mbps connection. Yes, building new towers costs money and will not go down in price anytime soon, but as time goes on the new technology should be better at the same/lower price meaning a tower from 2012 should be able to provide more bandwidth to more people then a 2002 tower.

The only thing that will stop this nonsense is competition. The problem is that the competitors seem content to follow Verizon with the gouging, but just do it slightly less.

If corporate customers can do this, it is a steal. We have 7 phones (6 smart) and pay about $700 a month with only 3 with hotspot. Now with this pricing we would be at $370 (10GB), hell for shits and giggles I will add 4 GB more for $30. I think the picture above would be VZW bending over the table.

let me translate.... hurp durp durp durp hurp to the durp 700 hurp for the derp durp by the durp verizon hurp durp durp.

Well a lot of people (including me) will pick a phone and then see what plan they can get, not the other way round, so you pay for your shiny new One X not the minutes you never use.

I could've stuck with my old phone, or gone for something less flashy but i wanted the latest gadget and so i'm paying £30 when i could be paying £15.

I made it easy for them :)

Actually, I looked at coverage then plans then phones. Was with Sprint but went from 4 bars to 0 bars in about two years (measured in my home). There may not be a lot of options for some people.

This is really bad for many like me. My current plan will go up $50 and I would lose unlimited data. The only customers who will benefit from this are one's with 3+ smartphones, or those paying for premium features like unlimited voice/txt and personal hotspot. We even have a employee discount on our plan and Verizon just isn't worth the cost anymore after this plan.

After 15+ years as a customer (PrimeCo for the first few), looks like our family will be leaving Verizon.

I'm right there with you. I've been with Verizon for 18 years (when you consider my time with GTE before Verizon purchased them) and for the first time I'm seriously considering leaving. It's really not even a consideration honestly. If this is how they feel about their customers IN ADDITION to charging $300 for their new phones then I'll take my business elsewhere. Unfortunately all of them are bad, it's just trying not to get screwed over.

Yep. Even with a 20% employee discount they are starting to be uncompetitive.

*IF* you valued all of the aspects of their "take-it-or-leave-it" plan it might be a good deal. What I mean is, if you regularly talked on your phones for 2 to 3 hours a day *every day* and you texted thousands of texts *and* you tended to hotspot some computers (but not actually use much data at all while doing it) then this could be compelling.

I'm guessing that isn't the way most people use their phones and so this plays right into VZWs hands. It's no wonder that VZW will let you switch to this plan without any other changes to your contract...

-Suntan

I keep weighing my options and the only logical thing which is probably what Verizon figures people will do (instead of leaving) is do an upgrade now. I am going to pre-order a Galaxy S III (which does let you keep your current plan even though it ships after the new plan goes into effect). And then I will keep my current phone as a backup or sell it eventually. That way I will be locked in for about 2 years on all 4 lines (2 smartphones 1 w/ unlimted@23 w/ discount 1 w/ 4GB@30 +2 feature phones). Then if they decide to offer a more fair non unlimited voice plan for those who do not talk that much or text than I will have options.

+1
Verizon is so far ahead with LTE I just can't justify leaving. This is what is also stopping me from waiting for the nexii phones that are supposed to drop in November; I'm not leaving VZ until another US carrier has a comparable LTE network and that could be some time.

I'm taking the upgrade on both my lines and sticking with unlimited data.

2 phones, 250 talk minutes used each month and 2-4 GB of data each month but during NFL season I jump to 8-9. The 6GB shared plan would be the same as what I'm paying now but I know I'd be paying overages in the fall.

Someone please build a credible LTE network, better yet two of you(ATT and Sprint) so we can have some price competition.

I like the banning CDMA idea above, not tenable but it would be great. How about we do and HDTV style deal where you have to have VOLTE by say 2014 and GSM and CDMA just go away.

T-Mobile announced today that their LTE service will be LTE-Advanced. Might be perfect timing for many Verizon customers to switch in 2 years (should be available every major area by then)

At the same time my gut tells me Verizon will have more feasible Share Everything options by then to suit more customers needs and most of us complaining will have already upgraded and moved on to the new "plans"

Your 3+ phones customer comment isn't accurate, at least not in my case. I have 3 phones on my account. 1440 minutes (which I never use), texting, and unlimited 4G data on 2 phones, with the third phone phone on a 4GB (double the data promotion) plan. To get the 10gb per month plan on my account would make my bill go up about $20/mo if I did the analysis correctly. Those with much less data need for all the phones might do better, though.

correct, it is more based on need. I have only 700 minutes and 0 txt plans on my 4 lines so my need for unlimited voice/txt is even less.

I disagree as well.
This new structure is for family plans where most of the family are low consumption data users. For example, putting your mom and dad, or grandparents on your family plan who are the ones that typically use less than 200MB/mo. Or for the family w a teenager so the parents are right outside that age group of significant data consumption

Im on a 5 Family Plan with unlimited and discounted Data among siblings and significant others all between 20-30 yrs old. Under this new structure, our bill will jump 130$/mo. So this means I'm buying all devices at full retail from now on for all 5 lines.

Assuming a 300$ subsidy on a new device every 18.mo for each of the 5 lines, if i did my math right, that breaks down to about 84$/mo to replenish our aging device. Still saving 40+$

This was exactly happening to me. I had over 2000 rollover minutes but never used them. Broke off contract and moved to prepaid. 45 a month (unlimited everything) plus a Galaxy Nexus will still give me savings after 12 months.

All I know is this is going to kill my use of Google Music & Pandora. I do zero tethering but use Pandora/Google Music religiously at work every day and I average about 4 gigs a month. My wife uses Pandora only while at work and she's usually around 1.5-2 gigs a month. Right now we're paying $140 through verizon for both phones with unlimited lines. When I look at these new plans I'm going to be screwed!

Additionally, while I used to rent the occasional movie from Google Play while at the airport you can bet this will kill any future activity from me. You stream a couple movies to your phone at 720p and see what that does to your data for that month!

But you can PIN your music with Google Music while on wifi, and stop streaming it.

(Its is actually a misconception that Google Music is a streamer, its not its a fetch-ahead caching player. Anything you played often or recently will be in cache, and you can listen in airplane mode if you want.)

Pandora, not so much.

Then why use google music at all? I might as well just load the files on my phone and play them from there. The whole idea behind it is to save space on my phone.

Free data hugh? Yea...NO! That data was paid for, just not by you. Just a oversight of business practices that will evidentially change.

In before someone else says it. They're going to tell you to use WiFi at airports and at work.

The flaw in this is that WiFi, all the while, is usually available. It's quite often more of a burden than a blessing. Especially when you take 4G LTE into the mix. Every airport I've been to in the past 5-6 years has had WiFi throughout the terminals, problem is it usually costs money, and regardless.. it's usually so slow and unusable because so many other people are jamming up bandwidth with their phones/tablets/wifi-enabled devices.

I am having the hardest time understanding why Verizon, and other carriers soon to follow, are giving us better and better networks, that are easier and cheaper to maintain, yet are still gouging us for ever penny they can. We continue to pay it because we're loyal to their service. I know for myself personally, AT&T nor T-Mobile is an option where I live and work. 3G doesn't exist with GSM carriers, so I'm stuck with VZW, Sprint, or any of the various CDMA based MVNOs out there. I'd go to straight talk, but I love my Galaxy Nexus too much to do so.

Did you even bother reading his post or mine? When did we ever bring AIRPORT into it? He is talking about WORK. I use WIFI ALL DAY LONG. How is it a burden?

Actually it still is a burden for me. My employer has wifi available, but has some stupid timer setup to boot you out every hour, requiring you to re-enter a username and password (displayed as plain text on the default wifi landing page - how dumb is that?) every hour. It is such a PITA that I gave up and just leave wifi turned off at work.

That does not mean it is a burden to use. It's not the WIFI's fault that your employer does that. I use wifi, regardless where, it doe not cause me anguish or make my daily activities oppressive or worrisome. My whole point is BURDEN should not have been used, makes it look WIFI is not working as intended.

Realistically I'm sure most everyone agrees that tiered pricing is the future of mobile data.Unlimited data plans are holdovers from when phones used mobile WAP browsers and Blackberries ruled the Earth.But these proposed data tiers(especially VZW's now) are an abomination.Most people,unless they're on a Feature Phone or Blackberry,are going to use more than 1GB a month.Especially on LTE. I rarely stream video or music and I use between 3-4 GBs a month.Not everyone is in a "WiFi enriched" enviroment.And it's not like VZW runs it's own WiFi Network like AT&T or T-Mobile do.All we're asking for are more/better tiered data options.

Straight Talk, Simple Mobile ($40/mo unlimited everything), Tmobile prepaid ($30/mo 5GB data + 100 min or 1500 min/text + 30 MB), Virgin Mobile ($35/mo 300 min + unlimited data) are all where the real competition is happening. The big four carriers are like old dinosaurs, sucking money to support all the marketing and infrastructure costs. Smaller more nimble companies adapt to the market place and demands of customers (using the same model as the rest of the world). Sure they don't provide roaming coverage, family nights & minutes, free mobile to mobile, but you're much more likely to get better overall value. Do a bit of research and one can easily purchase a slightly older model smartphone for $200 or less NO CONTRACT.

The problem is there is NO GOOD PREPAID OPTIONS on the Verizon network. They've got us over a barrel. While I understand Unlimited is going away these new plans are terrible. They're forcing everyone to take unlimited voice (don't need/use many minutes), unlimited (no text plan at all currently) and gouging us on the data ($50 for the first GB - you've got to be kidding - at least the old tiered plans were only $30). I'm a light user, on Wifi most days and still use 1-1.5 GB a month, no texts, and 700 minutes on a family plan for $88 all in (with a corporate discount). If they force these plans I may have to look at ATT (or ATT MVNOs) if ATT doesn't just follow suit. There is no competition in a lot of places around the country.

Phil, great article, thank you. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who's concerned with the ever growing prices of the plans, minutes and data. One other option to let the carriers know it's not OK to constantly raise the prices would be to not buy the service, but that's a very hard (if not impossible) thing to do. I choose to pay full price for my phones as I'm clinging to my T-mobile G1 unlim data plan. My wife has a Nexus S (also paid full price) with no data plan at all. Inevitably, one day t-mobile will get me off that plan. It will be a sad day...

I hear ya ... 

Here's another pie in the sky idea: Utilities will pay you for giving energy back to the grid, say if you have solar. How's about I get a discount on my bill for using Wifi whenever possible. :)

Bad analogy.

If you supply energy from solar, the utility's total capacity increases, and they can sell this additional capacity to others or wheel it anywhere on the national grid.

If you use your wifi, the carrier's capacity is not increased.

I pay about $88 a month (w/ taxes and whatnot) between my wife and I on Sprint (iPhone 4S and EVO LTE, respectively). We have a discount on the main plan and there's six lines on the account. Never get close to our shared minutes (unlimited mobile to mobile), and have TRULY unlimited data. Yes the network isn't as good and yes LTE isn't rolled out yet, but I am saving hundreds of dollars a year. For some that may not matter as much, but I'm lovin' it.

agree 100% i'm content w/ sprint's prices and coverage. I know it's not the greatest and I know it's not the fastest but for the price i'm ok with that. I'm ok w/ unlimited data, i just don't know why people are ok w/ getting freaked in the butt by these other carriers.

The extra $50 a month I pay to be on the best network is a drop in the bucket compared to how much I could lose being on a bad network like Sprint. If you miss a call or a text from your high school girlfriend you lose nothing, if I miss a call from an important client I could lose more money than I pay VZ in half a year. That's why we're ok with being "freaked in the butt" by the best carriers. Because the service they provide is worth far more than they charge for it. For God's sakes, are they're NO business courses in high schools and colleges anymore?

sprint blows, yes. in many places i did not get reception with my old sprint phone, i get reception with verizon. i have yet to find a place where it is the other way around.

not to mention the amazing 700kbps down/100kbps up speeds of wimax (in that 5'x5' area where it actually works) or the 150kbps down/30kbps up of their 3g.

although my calls are not as critical as yours, the reason i left sprint to go with verizon was because even though i knew i would be paying more, i would at least be paying for something that worked. with sprint, i often felt like i was throwing my money away and not getting much in return. at least with verizon, my stuff works.

How in the world do you have 6 phones on a sprint account and only pay $88/month?

I have 4 and pay about $180 after taxes on sprint - that's only 2 smartphones and 2 semi-smart phones.

am i the only one that is going to benefit from this change?

my current plan (vzw):

$80 - base sharing plan
$10 - phone 1 line charge
$10 - phone 2 line charge
$30 - phone 1 unlimited data
$30 - phone 2 unlimited data
$20 - tablet 1gb data
-----
$180.

both the wife and i spend the majority of our time in places with wifi (home or work). we have never even come close to 2gb combined.

new shared plan:

$40 - phone 1
$40 - phone 2
$10 - tablet
$70 - 4gb data (to be safe)
-----
$160.

i end up saving 20 bucks. i could save $30 if i was for sure we would never go over 2gb (which history says we havent).

PLUS now i get free tethering with the two phones. or i could add on a data card for my laptop and it would be the same as before. sounds like a pretty decent deal for my family.

It's only advantagous the more devices you have. For a single individual with just a smartphone and wants 2GB of data, the price has gone up from $80 to $100. Thing is, I barely use 100 minutes a month, and text messages don't matter to me with iMessage or WhatsApp. We are getting fleeced.

I'm right there with you. For the average consumer this is a much better deal (especially for the majority of people that use their plans RESPONSIBLY). What is going to be great for my family, is that my wife is a VZW corporate employee, so I get a HUGE discount.

You just gave yourself the reason this will be bad. Tethering is now free so more people will use it and wait till you see how much your data will jump when that happens.

This is correct. You will save, because you don't have any basic phones on your plan. A basic phone use to cost only an extra $10 a month. Under this plan it would cost $30 a month extra.

So basically, a device that probably uses few texts or data will cost $20 more per month on a family plan.

So pretty much anyone with a least one basic phone on the family plan is not going to see a huge benefit from switching from a traditional Family plan.

I think I'll stick with my current plan until they bust unlimited data for good. I realize these plans are the future & everybody will have them. Buy when you sign a contact you are playing with house money & the dealer has a marked deck. And when I say house money, I'm referring to the house payment size of the monthly bills we are spiraling into with fewer worthwhile incentives.

Glad I switched over to prepaid. No fees, sometimes no taxes, several carriers/plans/prices to choose from. Also add no overages unless you want them by adding extra funds to your account. Research...it might just save you money.

It's times like these I really wish Google had bought up all that "white space" spectrum and opened up a nation-wide free data network. They were going to do that, right? Then they got really cozy with ... Verizon and squashed the plan? Could have all been speculative rumor, but it was my fantasy.

It's times like these you give and give and give ...

I wish that VZW had:

1) A MUCH cheaper plan with much less data capped or even self-imposed throttle so for someone like me that only uses data for the occasional Google Maps directions/info and maybe some IM or email now and then could save a bit of coin and just restrict one's usage. I used WM smartphones for years on VZW without a data plan and it worked out just fine imo.

2) Offer an unlimited plan for an inflated price. Make it out of reach for most, but just the fact that its there sets the bar and puts the other plans in perspective. Although, with LTE some people might find they no longer need home internet if they had unlimited 4G with tethering.

No, Google wasn't going to do that.

That was never the plan. The plan was to force the price of the licenses high enough to trigger special lease clauses which required the carriers to open their networks.

It worked. The 700mhz band was sold with these open-network provisions in place. The carriers answer: we ain't deploying anything on 700mhz. They are sitting on the licenses, while they try to get those provisions removed.

Ah, thanks. I only had cursory knowledge of the deal at the time and I'm probably regurgitating speculation (read: wishful thinking) of some random technorati podcaster.

Once again, the message from Phil at Android Central is: "If you are unhappy, you are acting like a child. You are going to get screwed, just accept it. Just close your eyes and let it happen. This is how its supposed to be. Never complain. All the things you are unhappy about are delusions of your own making, anyway. None of this is new, which preempts any right to be unhappy about it."

When I saw the article title, retweeted by @Droid, I knew exactly what website the article was on and exactly who wrote it: Phil Nickinson of Android Central. I thought perhaps it was time to explain why I stopped reading Android Central a year ago. It's these "all is well, quit your bitching, these people know what they are doing, you are in good hands whether you know it or not" lectures that constantly condescend the consumer. As someone who works in marketing and PR, if I could leverage a proxy that would appear impartial but really just serve my interests to placate upset customers, I couldn't design it more perfect than how AC treats its reader.

I know you are a journalist, with an honest-to-goodness journalism background. I don't think you are a shill, or a mouthpiece, Phil. But it really, really SOUNDS like you are. That is what I found so frustrating I stopped reading here. I think it's probably just an easy-going (REEEEALLY easy-going) personality that makes you so willing to accept whatever treatment a company gives its customers. There are not only countless examples of it, you go so far as to make endless apologies for whatever wrong a company commits. There is probably no better example than the Carrier IQ fiasco. It was always blame-shifting ("you aren't the customer, the carriers are"), rationalizing ("they need to improve their network") and excuses ("listen these guys are really smart, i've talked with them"). Carrier IQ, as mentioned, is just one example. The same tone will be found when it comes to any issue with mobile or Android which people (rightfully) get upset over. You won't see me arguing that a vocal minority of the outraged don't see reality clearly and have an aneurysm at the drop of a hat over things that are silly, but I'm telling you that as a person that feels they are an informed consumer, editorials like these are belittling. Seriously, go back and read through your editorials over the past few years, and see how many of them fall in the vein of (as far as how it appears to YOU) "calm down, stop complaining". Then put yourself in the shoes of your readers who only see that their concerns don't deserve to be raised and that no company, be it a carrier, an OEM, or Google, is absolutely wrong and we are just suffering from some lack of perspective or misunderstanding.

That's why I don't read AC anymore, except for one exception: the nuts-and-bolts insight from Jerry, which is also the only reason I listen to the podcast (where I can also get some good spectrum talk from Mickey). That is the one differentiating thing AC has that keeps a small amount of my attention. I think AC does a lot of things right (I really like Android A-Z) and thought it would be valuable to explain why you (have already) pretty much lost this reader.

Just my 2 cents. Best regards.

Well said. Also AC always has to point out - "Like WE TOLD YOU XXX time ago". Sounds like they are always those idiots who say "FIRST" when responding to a post as the first person.

Info travels so quick in the android arena that no one gives a shit who broke the story or who said what first. Really annoying that Phil has to point out he said it first - or reported it first. SMFH.

FINALLY!
WELL PUT SIR!
I am digitally clapping now.
I couldn't put my finger on why I was feeling discontented with Android Central until I saw this post! I thought I was probably the only one.

Be Seeing You Cabbie.

Agreed.

With the readership and page hits that AC claims, they should be carrying our water to the manufacturers and carriers, instead of feeding us pablum right out of marketing department of those companies.

The free phones, and getting flown around to company event makes it impossible for AC to criticize any more.

"That's why I don't read AC anymore".
But based on a retweet you decided to bestow your vast knowledge on us.... and let us know how terrible AC is. TROLLLLLOLOLOOLOLO.

Right on.

I also hate it when children scream TROLL at any post they disagree with.

If you can't defeat any of the points made, just scream troll and you've "Won the Internet".

I hate when people giving criticism are bad at taking it. I also hate when people assume the internet is completely made up of children.

O BTW I WONZ TEH INTERNETZ!

Where does anyone in these replies take any criticism badly? You yelled troll, but it was not a troll post. Personally I think AC is one of the BEST news and Forum sites there is. I was a moderator at AF for years. I have said this in our MOD Form that we need to be innovative just like AC. AC is well done and controlled well. I just get a little upset when I see Phil and Jerry act like they are Android Gods and have to make it known they dropped a story or said I told you so, repeatedly. Personally, Droidlife drops better info on a regular basis.

Is my post trolling?

Time for the regional carriers to step up. I don't travel for business so if a carrier had solid coverage in my town where I spend 90% of my time and reliable roaming coverage elseware I would consider it. Might have to wait a little longer for new phones to hit them but I don't know if it is worth paying the premium the big guys are asking for. I am encouraged that US Cellular is getting the SG III in July.

You would think that if they are going to raise the prices, as it sounds like is going to happen to most of you on here, they would at least unthrottle (is that a word?) your data. So, not only will most of you on here pay more, your data is still throttled. Sounds like a win/win for Verizon.

I've ordered a GS3 and have been "promised" my unlimited plan is locked in. If Verizon pulls rug out from under me on this, I'll probably cancel order and investigate prepaid options.

I too pre-ordered the S3 on June 6th but I now notice that my CC has not been charged even though I authorized the payment. What this tells me is they will wait and chare me when they ship the phone (July 9th there abouts) thus meaning they are screwing me out of getting in before the 28th of June.

I am going to call Verizon and see what the deal is.

From what I have been told the terms you are agreeing to when you pre order the S3 are the terms. They cannot change until you agree to different terms (like when you upgrade again after the 6/28 or you change your plan options (minutes, txt, data, features etc). Basically when you get your new phone you can just turn it on and it activates. You don't even have to call and agree to any terms. You agree to them when you order the phone not when you receive it or your card gets charged.

Yeah I just got off the phone with Verizon and they said nothing will change for me when I get the SIII so I guess that is good news since I was able to upgrade in Feb of this year but held off on the GNEX and hoped the SIII would be out soon.

Just did my pre-order.. between a lot of people doing the same thing to get one more upgrade in before the change and Verizon wanting to get people on the new plans I wouldn't be surprised to see if the pre-orders "sell out" soon.

Phil, it honestly sounds like you need to lower your data services, and do a couple calcs on what happens if you go to lower data plan and once every so often go over. What happens if you drop your tether plan and get a tether app? Maybe it's my corp plan, but I've not had trouble doing this, and the plan doesn't appear to be managed any differently than single person plans; same interfaces/choices, etc.

Yeah, I took a long hard look at 'em this spring. 

If I didn't want to have the tethering, I'd gladly drop it down some more. And that's why I mean by "acceptable losses" here. I know I'm paying for more than I'm using. And it sucks. But we've only got so many plan options to work with here.

Gimme a la carte any day of the week.

I use a lot of data last month just over 6gb on the road a lot Sprint works out great for me just hope it stays unlimited forever

Phil,

While in essence, I agree with the sentiment of your arguement, I do think you're creating a false dilemma that comes off overly-apologetic.

No one is asking to pay for exactly what they receive. No one is expecting Verizon to do business without trying to make a profit, or even without trying to increase their profits. Anyone who is complaining about these things doesn't have a valid complaint, for the reasons you cite. But rationality is only for the rational, and equilibrium isn't created without heuristic reaction. It's not your job to call us out for being a-rational, it's a choice, and in this case, I see no ethical compulsion to make such a choice.

Your argument does not justify the recklessness and disrespect with which Verizon is conducting business. The trick is to keep customers, at the very least, pacified, if not satisfied.

If you went to a casino, and were told that all of a sudden there were 5 extra numbers on the roulette wheel, but instead of increasing the payouts to justify the longer odds, all payouts would actually be reduced by 10% as well, would you still play? If all of a sudden you went to a blackjack table and a dealer bust equaled a push, would that added risk justify your enjoyment? What if the casino next door wasn't doing these things? If the casino next door started doing these things, what's to stop another casino from opening up that didn't? Who would make more money? The casino with the larger profit margin per customer, or the one with the larger volume? This is basic market economics. There's no reason if we think one casino is crossing the line we should write it off as "business is business". We should take our business elsewhere.

I waited and bought an HTC Thunderbolt last spring as my first smart phone. I was told at that time I would get grandfathered into an unlimited data plan for future upgrades, but wanted to wait for an LTE phone. Now, before my first upgrade is even ready, I not only can't keep my unlimited data without paying full price for a phone, but if I do want a subsidized phone I have to pay more for less service! Even more than the pratical implications, the psychological implications of treating customers this way is astounding.

You have no obligation to pacify consumers for Verizon. When they're doing something that the people who understand the "business is business" argument can't even justify, they deserve the overreaction they're going to get from everyone else. It's like white blood cells attacking an infection. Business is business, but it also can't be business without business. Why should we force a market equilibrium? As consumers, we have a say in market dynamics, and when a company makes as blatantly disrespectful move as Verizon is making here, the onus is on us, as consumers, to exercize that say.

I haven no problem with Verizon trying to make a buck. I do have a problem with them all but completely disregarding their consumer base.

You're right. And you'll also notice I barely talked about Verizon at all.

Every carrier is looking to maximize ARPU. Our job is to maximize our value, whether that's by changing your plan or changing your carrier. (If you know of another way to do it, I'm all ears.)

Sure, but you also wouldn't have written this article if not prompted by the backlash from Verizon's recent announcement, so even if you didn't literally write the word "Verizon" 15 times in the article, it's still obviously a crucial element of your subject.

Cultural backlash is not a meaningless tool. Just because Verizon pays groups of people to make the best decisions, that doesn't mean they have an 100% efficient think tank impervious to heuristic biases. Financial backlash is certainly more potent, but when financial backlash is coupled with cultural backlash, the financial backlash is going to seem more potent.

I think you're missing an important point. What Verizon is doing, IMO, is throwing bleach in the gene pool. They want the heavy data users to leave. They don't want to continue subsidizing phones and data for those who are using huge amounts of data. They want to cater to those with multiple devices.

As I said somewhere else, this is a win-win for them, not only do they get rid of a vocal and data sucking minority, it now becomes a problem for a competitor. If you look at it that way it's not "astounding", it's good business sense.

Sprint will eventually have to follow suite, they can't bring LTE online and provide unlimited LTE data for people to use to replace their home internet connection with. They'll go tiered or they'll cap and throttle. And as the heaviest data users flock to the no contract carriers, you can expect to see their prices go up too.

The people at Verizon aren't idiots, they're just bean counters, and they feel by doing this they'll make more beans.

That's an interesting point, and in a way sounds plausible, but I don't entirely buy it. Even if true, it's incredibly risky. As a short term move, shedding the data-heavy community might seem viable, but even if that group is a minority of consumers, it has a significant influence on public perception. And even more, its a growing community comprised almost exclusively of youth. Is that really a group that it's wise for Verizon to alienate? Maybe it is, but at best it's a pretty significant risk. Other companies might follow suit, but where those companies zig, others are going to zag, and instead of shun the data-heavy consumership, cater to it. They may not retain unlimited data, but if everyone else is alienating the data heavy community, they won't have to, they'll just have to offer better deals than the competition. Like the example above, they'll be the standard roulette table making less money per spin than the one with 10 extra numbers and 10% smaller payout. If technological and techno-cultural growth continues at anything close to the rate it's at now, sooner or later the higher volume is going to trump the higher profit-per-spin.

The effects are multiplied for those of us that live in states where the cell phone tax is above 20%. I'm not kidding.

It's sad when you have a 21% employee discount and you're still paying more than the "sticker price" of the plan.

Verizon adding $50 to the bill for some of us is actually adding $60 to the bill.

Don't get me started on the taxes and fees. I might almost show some emotion. :)

(Seriously ... How many more of those could there be?)

Phil, has it been clarified whether Verizon is planning on discontinuing all of their current Individual and Family Plans and replacing them with the Share Everything Plans? The way people are reacting is as if they are upset because the new plans weren't tailored specifically to them, and there will be no other options.

If the current Individual and Family Plans will remain options, I don't see why the new shared data plan is that bad. The killer is the $30 access fee for basic phones. That will absolutely kill it for lots of families. I guess Verizon feels people with basic phones use up a ton of voice minutes? Must be because I don't see basic phone users using lots of data or texts.

But for a family of 2-3, all with smartphones, it's a pretty good option. They will pay less than today, gain unlimited minutes, gain hotspot, and if 1 or 2 of the family members doesn't use much data, the other lines gain those GBs.

just drop carrier and go prepaid virgin mobile is getting iphone4 and 4s and just got a couple of above decent smart phones to choose from if you want cheap $150 for lg optimus elite or expensive $300 for HTC 3D V that is only a year old

My plan will go up at least $20 when and if I up upgrade. A week into my cycle I'm already at 2gb. Luckily I'm good for the next year cause I just signed new contract when I got my gnex. But after that who's to say the other carriers won't follow suit and do the same thing. And if I buy a phone outright can Verizon cancel my plan and force to shared data because I'm no longer under contract. Either way I don't see it getting better.

As T-Mobile gets stronger from this ATT debacle, they will become a HUGE competitor. T-MO's Customer service is the best in the business, but they have to be to keep the customers happy. Oh yeah, don't forget, once your subsidized price is paid for on TMO, your price goes down on your monthly bill. Unlike the others who continue to charge for that subsidy long after the full price is paid for!

if VZW continues to raise prices with the, "we're the biggest and best" attitude, people will just start to switch. Kind of like Honda. You pay more for a Honda to get the quality, but as they cheapen up the car, is the price worth paying. You are not the only game in town VZW and the small guns are going to catch up, soon.

Yah. You keep dreaming that. The problem is Verizon, and I'm on Sprint, IS the biggest and the best, network wise. IF ATT wasn't an asshat and had a good network I would consider them.

AT&T may be asshat, but I have no complaints about their network. Much as people love to hate them, there are only a few cities in their coverage where they really suck.

The real world called, they'd like you to rejoin the rest of us. Customer service won't make business users switch. I don't give a rat's ass how polite or competent they are, all I care about is getting my calls, texts and other business communications for the entire area I travel. Good networks get that done while all the customer service in the world will do is apologize that you just lost that contract because you missed that call or were in a dead area.

Well for those of us not on Big Red, these plans actually make sense. I am paying for a 2GB data plan that my wife never uses....she barely reaches 1GB/Mo. I on the other hand can use between 2-4 GB/mo.

I like being able to share data as if we go over, it's just $10/mo, if it becomes chronic, then I can upgrade 2GB additional for the same $10.

And as it seems, it is unlimited voice and text for $40 per line. This is as good or better than the old T-Mobile unlimited plans. as it is I stand to pay $175 including taxes....that is a $25 saving from my current VZW+ATT bill, and about $35 from my VZW+T-MO bill...any way I slice it it works!

Seriously, it has come to the point where going prepaid is actually less expensive. If I wanted to match my prepaid plan with a postpaid plan (any carrier), I'll always end up paying a higher monthly cost for the privilege of having a carrier lock me in for two years. Even when you take into account the cost of buying a phone upfront, prepaid is still less expensive.

I do talk a lot on the phone so unlimited minutes make sense. While I rarely text anyone, I don't mind having unlimited messaging added for good measure, both talk and text for $50 on AT&T Go Phone, which would be $89 on postpaid with the same carrier. As for data, I use Wi-Fi while at home and at work so I can live with the data rollover. I've already piled up 1.6 GB, and still cheaper than the individual version of Phil's family plan including the mandatory data plan.

People have to shake off the preconceived ideas about prepaid and jump ship. Contracts are so last decade!

What this all comes down to is competition. There is none in this market. If you want fast you go Verizon. If you want mostly fast you go ATT. If you want cheap but slow you go Sprint. If you want sold phone choices and cheap you go T Mobile.

If Verizon was on equal footing with Verizon I honestly think prices and packages would fluctuate. But they don't and why? Bandwidth and spectrum. This is the make or break feature of any carrier and its why there is a huge barrier to entering this market.

I will beat this drum until the day I die but there NEEDS to be a national network. Period. I know there will be more then a few people screaming socialism. But imagine if the highway system in this nation was divided up among Ford, Toyota, Chevy, Dodge, and Honda and they only allowed their cars to run on it. Oh sure if another manufacturer wanted to run on their roads they could pay up and pass the costs onto you.

No roads are a national infrastructure. And I'm sorry bit so are airwaves. The DoD and any future released spectrum should go towards a national network setup by an outside company that isn't regulated by the gov, but from time to time there is government review and oversight. Think Amtrack. Carriers are free to use this bandwidth as long as they convert their towers over to play on this spectrum. If they gradually migrate x% of their spectrum over to this national network they get a subsidized discount on using this national network, which in turn expands the available bandwidth. Such a network would require a national effort along the lines of what it took to deploy coax in this country, but the long term benefits would be huge. At that point you have a national infrastructure that can be upgraded to the next latest and greatest tech by one company vs. piecemeal upgrades slowly upgrading company by company by company. Do you know what this would do to competition when bandwidth is no longer the factor? I can tell Verizon and their prices to shove it and go to Sprint and get just as fast of a network as Verizon.
Competition would come into play by cost of handsets, cost of plans, and customer service that doesn't suck butt. But the key point would be how you set it up. US government should NOT have authority over this company other then playing fair among the carriers. Cost would also have to be regulated (Insert plan X here.) And also outside influence from companies should be allowed. there needs to be a political firewall somehow from this company and the reach of the RIAA/MPAA/Crapcast's puppets in Washington. How? No idea.

Would it work? *scratches head* I think so if done right. The problem its with the current political landscape in Washington the senate couldn't agree on a bill to destroy an asteroid barreling its way towards Earth, let alone something of this magnitude. Because the above would completely and totally shake up the ISP and carrier landscape for good and you can bet they would fight tooth and nail over that.

Government review and oversight means government control, there's just no way out of it. They'll see it as source of power and take it, and once taken they'll never give it back.

And the government never fixes anything, they just break it worse then blame the private sector while demanding more government control. Hell, they can't fix the postal service, how in God's name do you (and I see that you don't really) expect them to fix cellular service?

All they'd do is flood it with regulation, demand it be provided free to children and minorities, then make it 3x as expensive for the rest of us as they're doing with health insurance. And if we're really unlucky, they'll mandate that we all have it and extract the payment from us with the threat of huge fines.

I can't wait to see the Nancy Pelosi show up on TV saying "We'll have to pass the Nationwide Cellular bill before we can tell you what's in it".

Let's keep government out of it as much as possible.

I think this might work for me. I currently have a smartphone, a dumbphone and a tablet. I pay 160 a month after corporate discount and have 2gb for phones and 4gb for tablet. This along with 700 mins shared. With the new plan I would pay 40(smartphone), 30(dumbphone), 10(tablet) and say I get the 10gb plan for 100...that would make a total of 180 before my corporate discount. So I would be paying around the same for unlimited talk/text and about 4gbs more. Is this correct?

The question I have is what would be the corporate discount. As in what would it apply to if you get a certain percentage off. I have not seen anything yet from VZW in regards to the corporate discount being available on these plans.

My mother and I are on the lowest "tier" family plan with Sprint. It includes unlimited data and 1500 shared minutes. I think the most we've ever used data-wise in the past 3 years is 1.5 GB in one month. Granted, with slow(ish) data speeds, you can't really use much in a month, but neither of us really mind. Then there's the minutes. Out of the 1500, the most we've used is 550 minutes or so in one month, and that was the month of my high school graduation about 3 years ago. Of course, we have our cell phones AND a landline, but even if we didn't have the landline, I'm sure we'd never use more than 750 minutes. I can't really complain, but I'd like to see an even lower tier on Sprint in regards to minutes (with an accompanying lower monthly bill of course).

Mobile data caps are the wrong answer, especially unregulated and un-auditable caps. They will stifle competition and crush innovation in the mobile space.

The right answer would be per-device speed limit plans (a.k.a. throttling), and a second set of controls the user has to set speed limits on individual applications and services on their device. Don't care about email? Give it a really slow speed. Like the web? Give it more of your pipe.

This also opens the door to peak and off peak data (just like minutes, remember?) so that your off peak data rates are higher. Rates would hopefully go up at the same price over time, like minutes, and as networks get managed better.

Of course the big problem for the carriers is: they'd have to guarantee some kind of speed in the first place. And they haaaaate that. Just ask the landline carriers and their famous "up to" speed pledges.

Oh and if you think data caps aren't so bad because you have wifi now, wait until the landline carriers slap them on your home and work internet access. Suddenly it will become much harder to breathe.

Verizon is like a drug dealers. They get you hooked, then they've got you.
They get people used to the idea of unlimited data, and encourage use of that data through cloud storage, automatic photo backup, streaming music, and video. Then, they get rid of unlimited and charge an outragious amount for just one GB of data.

If I ever wind up on a small data plan, I'd be concerned about the apps using background data and all the ads in apps and web sites.

This raises a good point.

If not all AT&T users are using their maximum allowed usage, shouldn't that equal out the ones who use more on an unlimited data option? If you only use 1GB of your 5GB plan, and I use 6GB of my unlimited plan, AT&T says I'm causing them a loss.

How screwed would they be if all users actually used their maximum allowed usage on capped plans? We need a report from AT&T which states that the total usage of their network resources is well above the maximum-granted usage of all capped data plans (with a reasonable margin to justify users paying for an unlimited plan and using more than their top tier capped plan) before I'll accept that users with unlimited data are causing any disruption at all.

I like how on T-Mobile, if you get the $50 a month plan, you get throttled after 100 MB, but if you pay $30 a month with less minutes and messages, you don't get throttled until after 5 GB.

Im willing to bet the people who run this site get free or "discounted" phone's, and the monthly bill is probably a write off due to running this site as a business.

Well said, Phil! I completely agree. My wife and I are also on the lowest AT&T voice plan. We each pay $30 for unlimited data. I've actually been using around 3 GB per month. My wife doesn't even hit 1 GB. However, we really wouldn't benefit from changing data plans as we don't tether and we have over 3,000 rollover minutes.

If we jumped ship to Verizon and used their shared data, we would either be paying the same or might be able to save $10 a month if I cut down my data usage.

So basically what you are saying is that VZW and the other carriers are giving us more of the stuff that we're not using, charging us more to get more of the stuff that we're already not using, and calling it "value". That's great. It would almost be excusable, but the problem with the carriers is that you can't actually use what they sell you. If you DO have the audacity to say "I'm going to fully use the service that I pay for" you get flagged as a problem user.

I called Verizon customer support to check on employer discount. The lady I got took my number so she could check with a Rep and get back to me. This is what she found out:

The employer discount (mine is 20%) will apply to all phone lines over $34.99 (so to each smartphone line that costs $40) and to the data package. Since I have 5 smartphones on my account and 2 of them only use minimal data a month the new plan should come out cheaper since all 5 lines are using under 10gb of data a month.

I'm in the same boat as you. If the employer discount is applied to the smartphone lines, this may come out about the same, if not a little cheaper. We don't use a lot of data between us, and if we can now call any phone, mobile or land line, without having to watch minutes, it may not be too bad. I was about ready to get the pitchfork out!

Verizon Wireless---we want are customers to use their smartphones on are really really fast and big network......... 10% of the time....

I have never posted a comment on here before but after reading this editorial I was so outraged at what I read I had to comment. Am I made at the carrier on this one, NO, this goes to the person writing it. The information here is just plan wrong in implying that it's the carriers screwing everyone over. Do you not realize why prices are they way they are? Do you know how much your smartphone actually costs? The whole reason plans cost what they do is so that the carrier can make up the massive amounts of money lost of each phone. The problem here is that we have become such a discount society and everyone thinks they should get something for nothing and its just plain killing our country.

Lets do the math real quick, we can take an iPhone which is a pretty standard price.

Phone Full Price $649, upgrade price $199.99.
That means you were sold the phone at a $450 discount!
Spread that across the 20 month upgrade time span and that means for each iPhone your paying an average of $22.50 per month just to pay for your discounted device.

Then there is overhead of having stores to assist you, call centers to deal with our your problems, warranty centers to deal with all device replacements, network repairs and enhancements, research & development and so on let alone allowing all the people who come together to make this happen to make a decent living to live.

People need to start understanding better what they are getting and how business works. If you want the best your going to have to pay for it because to run a business it costs money and in order to spend money you have to make it first.

Prior to this, you could add a smart phone to a plan for a $10 line charge plus a data plan that starts at $25 a month. That's $25 a month on top of whatever minute/text package someone has.

Using your logic justifying the new plan rates, one would have to conclude the carriers were all previously loosing MASSIVE amounts of money on every smart phone on their network, with the basic fees barely covering the subsidy cost, and the rest of the entire services essentially thrown in for free. This simply wasn't the case, as the carriers were all making massive profits under those plan prices.

It's no coincidence that this comes at the same time carriers are reporting fewer new on-contract phones. The market in the US is reaching saturation, where everyone who wants a smartphone has one. Verizon wants to show, not just stable profits, but increasing profits, and the only way they can do that is by getting existing customers to each pay more.

This is not about maintaining profit margins in the face of increasing costs, it's about continually increasing them. And that's fine, but it's also fine for people to reach a point and say the service simply isn't worth the cost anymore.

Don't play this off as greedy customers. It's a greedy corporation. Just do a Google search for "Verizon" and "profits". Almost every article is titled "Verizon profits more than double", "Verizon's profits more than triple", "Verizon reports record profits", interspersed with articles like "Verizon demands huge cuts to worker benefits, profits soar".

Your post would have us believe the carriers are struggling to cope with the increasing costs of providing services. This is clearly contradicted by their recent and increasing profit reporting.

Trying to choose between AT&T and Verizon Wireless is almost like picking a president.
You have two choices: democrat or republican. There is no other choice. (more precisely,
no third-party candidate has a remote chance of getting elected)

You don't like AT&T? Fine. Sign up with Verizon Wireless. Still not happy? Go to
T-Mobile or Sprint.(those two may not have signal in your part of the town). If all
four of those carriers want to stick it to you by charging whatever they want for
data plan, then you're really out of options.

No carrier is going to care if 100,000 or 200,000 customers jump ship for another
carrier. The number is just too small. If 1 millions customers leave, then it may
make a difference, but we all know that's never going to happen.

I know this is not what a lot of people want to hear, but here goes anyway. If you don't like what is offered, then invest some of your own money into a network, build it from the ground up and run it your way. People, these companies offer a service to us that we want and use, stop bashing them for making business decisions based on what the "majority" uses. They are not in business to screw people, otherwise they wouldn't still be in business. Do I like it? No. Will I jump ship because of it? No. I'm just saying that I don't mind forking over some of my hard earned money for a service that I cannot provide for myself.

you sir... are a retard. record profits and still raising prices = screwing people. this is verizons way of getting rid of its heavy users and people that tether alot... plain and simple. 4G speeds but limited data use.... those 2 statements should not be in the same sentence. do you think verizon, at&t or sprint pay per gb for data??? the answer is no... verizon is taking advantage of its customers plain and simple.

pay per GB? no. pay $10-15k/month or more for huge, redundant, low latency pipes to every tower? yes. do you think VZW's data connections are free? they are only half-owned by Verizon, after-all, and operate in far more regions than Verizon does, even assuming that Verizon services VZW towers when available. Same with AT&T. VZW has probably spent hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D, testing, deployment, and support for 4G and AT&T is doing the same now.

ya i know they dont pay per gb.... did you read my post... they dont pay per tb either they have unlimited through whom ever the buy it from.

"All in all, we're paying around $150 a month for these two phones. Are we costing AT&T that much money in data and voice usage? Absolutely not. We're not using our allotted voice minutes. And we're nowhere near our data allowance."

Im not a fan of how much i'm paying either, but that statement is completely ignorant. you are rarely ever just paying for the product or service itself, but the investment (time, money, and opportunity cost) it required to produce that good or deliver that service. You are paying AT&T much more than the cost per MB/minute/txt because it costs billions of dollars to deploy a high-speed, reliable, nation-wide cell network. Do you think towers magically appear, and with 500mbps data pipes plugged into them?

When you pay a plumber to fix a broken faucet and all he needs to replace is a $2 valve, do you feel ripped off for paying him $70-100 (assuming you couldnt have done it yourself)?

again, i really, really dont like VZW/ATT's plans (at all! thank god for my 1.5 years left of grandfathered 4G and free MHS apps) but to claim that you're not "costing" AT&T your bill's amount is ridiculous because actually you are probably pretty close when you include depreciation and amortization, research and development, salaries and benefits (especially when unions are involved), and the cost of running thousands of brick and mortar stores. Yes they probably have nice profit margins per plan, but it takes a lot of contracts to really see high margins (and high prices dont hurt, either, assuming it doesnt drive too many customers away).

Again, why defend wireless carriers with half accurate analogies.

You forgot to include the billions of dollars in 'stimulus', tax credits, and subsidies these companies receive each year to build and operate their networks. Oh wait - take billions in freebies from the government so you can pay out hefty dividends to your big shareholders and then whine about the costs of building and operating your network.

Find me any evidence from a neutral 3rd party which actually proves any of what you said.

This is plain and simple a rate hike to keep revenues and earnings growing when the overall market is topping out as the total # of mobile users has peaked and there is no profit coming from signing on new customers. Pretending this is anything but and defending Verizon's actions is foolish.

Wow. I guess Verizon is just not for me. I've never been able to justify the prices and now they're worse. I'll stick with my prepaid plans at (less than) half the price thank you very much. Seriously folks, vote with your wallet and stop paying these ridiculous rates.

I think we all agree that in order to use my phone a huge front end financial commitment and ongoing revenue stream is needed. For me it is how Verizon represented this most recent change. They would have us believe the majority of customers requested shared unlimited data. Using this forum as a sample size it would appear this shared data would benefit a small segment of smartphone users. If they're truly listening to their customers they would reconsider. Wishful thinking on my part.

I live in UK and I used to be envious of people in USA all the time because it seemed you got all the latest technology before us, and prices were always much better.
I find I am rarely envious any more, sure, you still got LTE first, but I have realised in the rush to get the tech first it's is often immature and far from perfect. Here in England I can switch between the five carriers just by swapping SIM and easily take my number with me. Although we don't have a la carte tariffs you can get close enough.

The USA got cable modem broadband first but now even in the small (800 houses) village I live in we have FTTC broadband so I get 40Mb down 5Mb up for £25 a month ($37 equiv).

About the only thing in the US which seems better value now is gas and food.