My thoughts on shared data from VZW [Opinion]

Posted: June 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

There has been a huge storm on the internet about Verizon and their shared data lately.  I am primarily a VZW subscriber but do have service with Sprint as well.  I think the data sizes are a little small but other than that the plan is decent for the average consumer which after-all is who VZW is aiming for.  All of the people like me that are building ROMs and tweaking where they can are going to have some regrets losing unlimited data.  Read on to see my data usage and how this new shared format will actually save me over $80 a month.

Here is what I currently have on my plan with VZW:

  • 3 Motorola RAZRs
  • 1 Galaxy Nexus
  • 1 Feature Phone
  • 1 Tablet
  • 1 Jetpack
  • 1 Home Phone Connection

Eight devices shared between 5 people.  My sister, mom, dad,  wife and myself all have phones.  My home phone is also through this account since Vonage was a joke at the time and I couldn’t wait to get off their plan.

Data usage is not that high on my account though,  I have a decent internet connection at home so that puts me into WiFi usage when I stream to my tablet or do anything that requires heavy data usage.  My wife and I both use Google Music and she also has a Galaxy Player 4.  We have both created play lists that we consider to be needed music and made those available offline.  My mom switched to the RAZR from a feature phone due to wanting apps and also the GPS was a big selling point.  Her data usage is currently extremely low, last month she used 123MB for example.

Using VZW’s website there is a tool that allows you to look at the last few month usage.  Here are the numbers that it showed and after some other checking these numbers are fairly consistent.  My line averages 900MB of data a month for the last 6 months.  When at work and home I am connected to WiFi and do not stream generally outside of work.  My highest usage was 1.7GB, so to get that average most months are a lot lower.  My wife averaged under 200MB of data, again she doesn’t stream heavily and uses it for work and personal email.  Two lines with unlimited data so far using less than 2GB on average a month.  My sister is out and about and uses Facebook a lot to upload pictures and generally just check in on it.  Her average was also around 900MB as well.  My mom’s phone usage was only around 60MB, she uses her phone mostly as a backup to pay her bills if her computer is not working or as mentioned earlier as a GPS since Garmin basically sucks.  Under 3GB for 4 smart phones, adding in the tablet and jetpack which I admit I don’t use as much as I thought I would when I got it takes me to about 4GB used on average every month over the last 6 months.

My data usage and phones I think reflects the common user.  My account also gives me a representation of different demographics.  I might be completely wrong or you amy not agree with my assessment but that is why this is an opinion piece.

With a 12% discount my bill runs $380 currently without the discount it is right around $400.  The new shared plans starts by choosing your data level.  I would not choose the 4GB plan because that is close but even at only $15/GB on overage it would be rare that I have more than a single GB overage charge.  Looking at the 6GB plan for $80 as a base is what I will probably go with.  I may just go with the 10GB right away as well since even that way is still cheaper.

One other thing the PDF detailed is that Tethering is no longer and added service via this line:

Mobile HotSpot is included on all capable
devices. Connect your device and share
your data allowance with multiple Wi-Fi–
enabled devices.

Cool, that means I could ditch the Jetpack since my wife will no longer need it when she takes her galaxy player somewhere.  HotSpot used to be $25/device so it is nice to see this go away.  Using the PDF I the numbers above my bill would now be $320 with the jetpack or $300 without it.  That is a savings of over $960 a year.  And it makes the bill easier to split across family members I think too.  For instance the $80 is covered for 7 connected devices so $80/7=$11.42 so we’ll go with $12 even.  Then you add the individual devices, my sister for example is going to go from paying $90 to only playing $52+tax and fees.  Fees are about $3 so with that and taxes $60 it rounds up to.  I am sure she will be thrilled to save $30 a month.  Granted she also has insurance on her line which I forgot about until now so that is $7 as well.  My Mom and Dad will go from paying $75, we were not making them split into the mintues previously, to still paying $75.  My sister and I covered the base plan and minutes cost previously and only made our parents pay the added fees that their lines added and this we will continue.  That makes $135 and only $30 saved of the total of $80 saving me and my wife around $50 a month.  Dumping the Jetpack saves me $70.  I can handle having $600 to $800 extra in my pocket every year.  That is a house payment for me.

The shared data plan may not be for everyone but if you have a lot of devices or a lot of people I honestly think most people will save money in the long run.  People with only 1 phone on their account are going to be hurt by this though.  Verizon currently shows the minimum shared plan at $90 with one phone.  I am willing to bet there will be single line plans made available or possibly the current plans will not change.  I don’t foresee going over on our data by more than 1GB ever and at $15 that is a small enough fee to not have to worry about it.

Verizon is going to stop subsidizing tablets as well.  I always liked the Jetpack and tablet options though because it allows me to not need insurance on my devices.  I can usually upgrade the tablet or HotSpot line whenever I need a new phone.  My sister carries insurance but she is a bit clumsy at times.  With 5 upgrades available in the next 6 months I am not worried about losing my unlimited data but looking forward to extra cash for the rest of the summer and getting the next big device that is not a Samsung Galaxy SIII, but that is a whole other story.

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