If you have a smartphone on the Verizon Wireless network with Unlimited Data, your days are numbered. Numerous sources on the internet confirm this, and Verizon will be launching Shared Data plans to customers. This new data plan actually launches tomorrow, June 28th.
So, what is a Shared Data plan? Well, it is a plan that allows the consumption of data across multiple devices. When you sign up for this plan, you will receive unlimited minutes and messaging, and get a set amount of data, such as 1GB. The plan starts at $90, and goes on upwards from there. Of course, tethering will be an option without an extra charge, so that data can be “shared” across all of your devices via wi-fi hotspot. A good example of this would be 2 smartphones using unlimited minutes. By combining the data charges, the savings would be around $50 (huffingtonpost.com). However, there is an access fee for each device. Read about that here. To read a Q&A article about Shared Data, check out this local news article.
Shared Data not up your alley? Want to keep your unlimited data? Here’s how:
- Do nothing – keep using your phone for however long you want. Once you are out of contract, you can still use your services and pay your monthly bill. This only applies if you continue to use your phone and don’t upgrade it.
- Pay full MSRP – This is really the only way to “officially” get around the new plan structure. As long as you buy a phone at full retail price from VZW, you keep your data. I spoke with a Verizon Wireless representative and you can buy a 4G device and get unlimited 4G data, regardless of whether your current smartphone is a 3G or 4G model. Just pay the full non-subsidized price. Good to know.
- Buy a used phone – I plan on doing this, but you must always be careful. Regardless of condition,alwaysmake sure the phone you buy has a clean ESN. ESN is short for “Electronic Serial Number” and one that is reported stolen or has an unpaid bill will be blacklisted. Once that happens, you can’t activate it, so you’re stuck with a paperweight (or a pseudo-iPod touch). Verizon Wireless allows for self-activation via the My Verizon Wireless portal, but I am unsure of how LTE SIMs will work out, since they are supposedly “single use”.
- Upgrade today – you can upgrade now, but you only have today to take advantage of renewing your contract for 2 more years of unlimited data, and get the subsidized phone price.
Honestly, I am a bit worried about the future of mobile internet, if carriers continue to stuff their pockets further. Now of course, companies like Verizon are a business and want as much money as possible. And with mobile data usage on the rise, it’s no wonder you will get less for more. I think the main problem here is consumer unawareness – it’s how businesses make money. In a comment on Android Police, one user well put, “People don’t think about their storage in gigabytes, they think about how many songs, photos and videos they can put on their phone”. Which is true. Until more people become more technology savvy, carriers will nickel and dime the unaware.