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Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 03:41 pm PT (06:41 pm ET)

Verizon to launch shared data plans on June 28

America's largest wireless carrier by subscribers Verizon has announced that it will be initiating shared data plans later this month, making it the first of the "big-three" U.S. telecoms to offer such a program.

Verizon announced the new "Share Everything" option on Tuesday, which includes unlimited talk, text and tiered shared data plans for both smartphones and tablets as well as data-only plans, is slated to start on June 28.

Up to ten devices can share data under the new plan with varying pricing for device type. For example, line access for a smartphone like Apple's iPhone is $40 per month while a tablet adds on $10. Mobile hotspots are also included in the Share Anything plan and can be added for an additional $20 per month.

The carrier is introducing a number of new data tiers to its existing one-line offerings, and shared data users can now select one of six levels ranging from $50 per month for 1GB of bandwidth to $100 per month for 10GB. Data overage is still in place and looks to be $15 per gigabyte across the board but users can opt to up their data plans in 2GB intervals before reaching their limit.

As an example, Verizon offers a $180 access plan that includes two smartphones at $40 each, one feature phone at $30 and 4GB worth of shared data which carries a cost of $70 per month.

Data-only customers have four tiers to work with starting at $30 per month for 4GB and topping out at $60 per month for 10GB. Mobile hotspots and tablets with mobile hotspot functionality are included in this pricing model.

The new Share Anything plan is a step in the direction of what many believe is the future of wireless in the U.S. In an early June report, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said that his company was also working on rolling out a shared data plan, though that plan has been in the works for over a year.

Share Anything

Verizon's new Share Anything plan outlined on the company's website. | Source: Verizon


Verizon was recently the target of a media blitz when CFO Fran Shammo said "when [customers] migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share," which caused a fracas because many thought the company would forcibly move unlimited data users to more profitable tiered pricing. The issue was quickly clarified in a Verizon statement that said only customers who choose to take carrier subsidies when upgrading to another smartphone will be forced out of out of their unlimited plans. In either case, it is clear that the telecom is pushing for tiered pricing, a trend that has become increasingly popular as wireless providers acknowledge the profitability of soaring data use.