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Verizon prepares family data plans, but don’t expect good value

by Doug Drinkwater

June 12 2012

US carrier Verizon Wireless has announced its “Share Everything” family data plans for house-bound smartphones and tablets, but expensive price tags mean you’ll most likely stick to individual plans and WiFi-only tablets for a while yet.

Verizon’s plans will include shareable data, unlimited phone calls and unlimited text messages, and will allow for these features to be shared among up to ten Verizon Wireless devices. The packages will launch on June 28.

The sad fact is that these family plans are well over-priced at this point. Data costs an astounding $50 for 1GB (to be shared among devices), and goes up to $60 for 2GB, $70 for 4GB for $80 for 6GB. Those with deeper wallets can also go to $90 for 8GB or $100 for 10GB.

Users who approach their data limit will face a $10 upgrade for an additional 2GB of data, or will be forced to pay $15 for 1GB if they don't upgrade and exceed their data limit.

There’s also a monthly charge of $40 for a smartphone, and $10 per tablet, leading Verizon executives to even admit to CNET that some customers might end up paying more under these plans than they would via individual packages. That said the firm is adamant some will make benefits from such plans, notably those families where some members use less data.

The eventual hope must be that data pooling plans (among family members or co-workers) will be affordable enough to entice consumers to opt for a 3G or 4G tablet, rather than a WiFi-only model. Following in the wake of Verizon, AT&T is also expected to launch a family data plan of its own at some point in the year.

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