Dec 07 AT 1:43 PM Edgar Cervantes 59 Comments

Verizon could bring shared family data plans in 2012


One of the biggest concerns for smartphone early adopters is that extra data fee popping up in monthly bills. Smartphones have become easily accessible, with options varying from free to $300 devices, but those fees are what people do not like to see. A great alternative carriers have been looking at is shared family data plans. Such offerings should break the boundaries that stop consumers from purchasing a smartphone, and Verizon seems to be planning shared data plans for next year.

Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam has spoken up at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, mentioning that shared data plans is something Big Red has been considering. And these data plans might be showing up next year, in 2012.

I think in 2012 we will see it.

We have been working on this for a couple of years. Getting to one bill and getting to account-level pricing is our goal.Lowell McAdamVerizon Communications

Now that we have moved into tiered data plans, it only seems fair that the limited gigabytes be used as pleased. It is already possible to share family minutes, as well as texts for some carriers. As we move on to a smartphone friendly world, the same should apply to data. There is no doubt that extra fees have been stopping customers from purchasing devices.

Newcomers are not the only ones backing off. As technology consumers/enthusiasts, we are also interested in tablets, USB internet dongles, WiFi hotspot devices, and even laptops. Would we want to pay $30+ for each one of these devices, though? Of course not. Shared data plans would allow us to get rid of such limitations, allowing us to use our purchased gigabytes as we best see fit.

What do you guys think? Would you use more internet devices if family data plans were available? Do you think people would be less hesitant to purchase a smartphone/internet device?

Via: Fierce Wireless

Source: UBS Webcast

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • Bryan Stoner

    YYYYEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My heart is racing with excitement while reading this!!!!! This just made my day!!!!!! XDDDD

    • halo0

      Are you serious? You realize that Verizon will not release this feature without figuring out a way fleece you and everyone else out of as many dollars as possible, don’t you? This will be exactly like their BS tiered data charges, where if you want a lower threshold you pay many many times more for the same data. Or you will be forced to pay fees for each device using data, to the point where it will be a toss-up as to whether you’d save any money at all over just paying the $30 per device. It will happen, count on it.

      • Bryan Stoner


        • Sean the Electrofreak

          Maybe he is… but is he wrong? Probably not.

          • tjwwm0m

            Nope. Not wrong. I think Verizon’s number 1 goal is to be the most expensive carrier on the planet. I think they have the best network by far, but my family can’t handle their prices. With AT&T attempting to further downgrade competition and innovation in cell service, we’ll eventually end up with a land line rotary phone. Those still call 911, right?

    • pikahatonjon

      first carrier to introduce shared family data plan will have my money! we’ve had shared minutes and shared texting plans for so long. its hard to believe we dont have shared data plans yet >>

  • nwilliam3

    This would be huge as long as they don’t jack the prices way up for it. I know a lot of people who are avoiding smartphones solely because it would cost too much to have multiple data plans.

    • kazahani

      Umm, it’s Verizon. Of course they will jack the price.

  • Futureboy

    This is a great step in the right direction. Data is data and the end user should be able to use it as they see fit. Expanding to family plans is great. Opening up to tethering without the added fees would be awesome.

    • WarDrake

      Yes, tethering unblocked would be great, since it’s kind of a life saver in many situations.


    im kind of on the fence.. depending on prices and cap.. Have to wait and see what they look like before I give my final decision. I can already see me yelling at my Daughter cause she used 4 gb of a 5gb family cap! lol

    • Futureboy

      If you think about it, they really have to bring it in at a price that’s under their current data charge per line for this to be any benefit to anyone. So that’s a win.
      If you already have multiple lines, each with data you’ll come out ahead.
      If you have multiple lines and haven’t added data to all them because of the cost, this is definitely an additional option which I’m sure will be welcomed. This is where it could pay off for Verizon with more people signing up for the data plans.
      As long as they throttle instead of charging for overages, I don’t see how this can be anything but positive.

      • Futureboy

        clarification: the price they set for the family plan has to be less than the combined cost for the data plans for this to be any benefit to anyone.

        (as originally written, it sounded like I was saying the family plan had to be priced less than the cost of an individual plan – which would just be silly)

    • Andy_jr

      That’s a good point, BiGMERF – I hadn’t thought of that!

    • ajonrichards

      Conversely, this could also help my family out, as I am the data hog. My wife, who is rocking a nicer smartphone than me, barely uses 300 MB a month. Her text messaging numbers are out of this world, though.

  • thekaz

    I agree.. I’d have to see the details.. right now, my wife and I each have grandfathered in $30/month unlimited data plans… if I need to go to a $70/month data plan in order to get my cap high enough….

    • iamXiV92a

      I too have my grandfathered $30/month Unlimited Data – Would be awesome if we could keep it, and drop the “option” from other lines. It won’t happen like that, but one can dream, right?

  • mavensage

    Depending on the pricing this could be just the thing to stop my family from switching carriers. I may also be able to get a 4G tablet next time if this happens.

  • jakymiwm

    That would be great!

  • fwtx

    no thanks, itll be like when youre out to dinner and someone says, “hey lets all get something different and share them all!” and i’m that guy thats thinking, no i paid for what i wanted for myself and im going to use it all myself.

  • James Conley

    Now I can share an account with the GF.

  • seven2k

    They need to release that GNxs. But shared plans is great!

  • psipher

    Place your bets.
    Which will we see first….Shared Data Plans or Galaxy Nexus?

  • ndub21

    I am all for this. I have hoped this type of family data plan would come out for a while. It never made sense to me why families could share minutes and texts, but not data. Also, it really ticks me off that I have 2GB of data, but if I want to tether to my phone, it costs me $20/month extra. I should be able to use the 2GB however I want. Hopefully AT&T and other carriers will move to that.

  • Matt Yearian

    Seems like a very good idea as long as the caps are reasonable.

    • Andy_jr

      I agree – I would like to see this happen. As for caps, I don’t see any reason the caps should be different for one phone vs. several, but the carriers probably see it differently.

  • Rgbarret

    I have to agree. Reasonable data plan prices are keeping a ton of people out of the smart phone market. Let us share the data and hopefully save a little money in the process.

  • Elliot Powell

    OK Here’s an idea, Bring back the unlimited data plan, make it a shared plan but charge like $10 more a month per added user/device

  • mvndaai

    i am glad that ICS has that data control feature so this might be a possibility now. I wonder if they will let you set limits per person like T Mobile has with minutes.

  • honourbound68

    this is definitely the way to go as long as the price is competitive.

  • K_Benson

    Shared would be great !

  • Marc’us H.

    I think just giving a bucket of minutes & data is the better way to go for family plans, EXCEPT for when little Johnny and Daisy go crazy on their smartphones and your carrier nails you for overages at $XX.XX per MB overage. Where there’s a will, theirs a way. They want their money more than you need your phone.

  • tpulu

    This is promising, I’d love to have a family data plan. Having four separate data plans sucks lol. My kids are doing pretty good on not coming close to their data caps, because I have them use wifi whenever they can. So looking forward to a family data plan though.

  • stenzor

    The family data plans we have here in Canada are pretty horrific.. I hope you guys get something better

  • mikesuds

    This would make things much easier. Can we just have some decent pricing structures please???

  • ramenchef

    Now if only carriers would allow you to have smartphones without data plans. But that would never happen.

  • Brandy4777

    My son desperately wants a smartphone and I keep telling him no. I’m not sure if this would convince me though. I would hate to give up my grandfathered unlimited plan just to get screwed over with the shared plan.

  • andrew9bernard

    This mixed with phones now being able to adjust and limit the data use could work out really well for families. I know that our account with 4 phones and 4 data plans is pretty pricey per month. Would gladly take a reduction (only if we can keep our unlimited data)!!!

  • levelm

    This has been my number one gripe… period! Having to pay for a separate data plan for each individual on my family is ridiculous — especially considering most of my family members don’t even use 1GB worth of data. It’s preposterous and should be illegal.

  • AndyE

    If this goes into effect, in a couple years we will be wondering how we ever did it differently.

  • oddball

    If the point comes where I lose my unlimited data (and we know it will) this will work for my family just fine. My wife uses less than a quarter gb and I use 1-1.5gb. A reasonably priced tiered plan would work fine for us. If Verizon cut my overall cost (which I don’t expect to happen) I would be happy to go to it.

  • spattigilli

    This is good news for many I guess, this is the same reason, I stopped getting a second smartphone. Good that Verizon is trying to look from a customer perspective.

  • sylar

    I’m sure they will find some way to get everyone’s money all the same. Like $30 for one GB for a whole family.

  • donger

    let’s see them prices, Verizon!

  • Hazadriel

    Would love this if I got to keep my unlimited data and it saves me money.

  • tequilya

    Please, please, let Verizon do this in a manner that is moderately useful. I expect they’ll continue their typical course however…

    If my memory serves me, their current tiers let you drop the price for some phones by 33% ($20 instead of $30) at the expense of cutting the data cap by 90% (200MB instead of 2000MB), I’m afraid that is just too steep a cut to justify saving $10.

    With the current tier pricing in mind, I expect Verizon to offer us something like the ability to share our 2GB limit with family members for $20 per line instead of each line getting 2GB for $30 each. Yeah, can save a few bucks, but is it worth the risk and headache of figuring out who’s at fault when the family plan has an overage?

  • humidity

    I would absolutely love to see this happen in the near future!

  • Ilyse Rose

    I think this is a step in a good direction, that’s for sure. Data plan pricing is outrageous.

  • antfelici

    It’s about time

  • Clint Haynes

    Thank FSM I managed to get our family on that ‘secret’ unlimited data plan – $9/mo.

  • dpleus

    Let’s see what they come up with for pricing and data tiers. We are definitely in a place where shared data is well past its time. My parents just got their first smartphones, and they were reluctant to get an Android device, because they didn’t want to pay for individual data plans. Hopefully this will happen, and we will be able to save money on data access rates.

  • Mitch Sears

    I just want to get free tethering. I mean, seriously. I’m paying for the data, I should be able use it as I please.

  • Sean BillyMaysHere


  • bolski

    Unlimited, not shared. We have unlimited texting, although it’s not shared, but to pay one price for data would be nice.

    It all depends on how much it will cost, though. I’m already paying over $140 a month for four lines with an employer discount.

  • Glen Bramlitt

    This will only benefit those on the tiered data plans or who pay for data packets. My wife and I pay $30/month each extra for unlimited data plans. That’s $60 for unlimited data on two devices. I doubt this shared family data plan will come close to that. So, what’s good for one will not be good for all.

  • supercaliber64

    With unlimited data on both of our accounts I don’t see VZW making it attractive enough to lose unlimited

  • Todd Thedell

    Now THAT is a step in the right directions.

  • bob

    It would be prefect for someone like me. We have two of our four lines with unlimited data. Probably dont need it to be unlimited. We arent streaming music all day or anything. SO we have two early teen kids who both are dying for an iPhone. So that would be $120 extra per month just for data plans right now. If they offered a family data plan with like 6GB for $75 or something, I would be all for it.