Verizon shakes up wireless pricing
The 'phone company' era ends as the carrier ditches its voice plans in favor of a new sharing model that encourages subscribers to hook up tablets, laptops and more.
The age of "phone companies" is officially over.
The wireless arm of Verizon (VZ) has long understood the mobile revolution. And as a result, it is dropping nearly all of its voice plans and shifting to data-focused subscriptions that allow multiple devices, including smartphones, laptops and tablets.
It's a wise move for the nation's largest cellphone company -- if you can even call Verizon that anymore -- and a change that competitor AT&T (T) likely will replicate very soon.
Here are the details on the Verizon changes, which take effect June 28:
Pricing schemes focus on data usage and allow consumers to share bandwidth across up to 10 gadgets. Dubbed Share Everything, the plans will include unlimited phone calls and texting and start at $90 per month for just one smartphone and 1 gigabyte of data, with additional charges for devices and usage as consumers do more with their electronics.
Verizon is billing the Share Everything prices as a boon to consumers who don’t use a lot of data, as they are cheaper than current plans with unlimited calling and texting.
However, those of you who still use an old phone primarily for voice will see some sticker shock if you opt into this plan.
A very basic $40-per-month plan will remain in place for users of "dumb" phones who don’t consume any data. But other than that, it’s the $90 data plan and up.
Obviously, the new pricing is a huge plus to folks with multiple devices, since the fees for getting separate data plans for every tablet or laptop can really add up.
AT&T has already said it's looking at introducing shared-data plans soon. Just a few days ago, it called data-only plans inevitable, so while Verizon seems to have beat AT&T to the punch, you can expect its top rival to follow suit.
This is a huge change for the major telecom companies, and it closely follows a move in the past year to end unlimited data plans as superusers of mobile devices have clogged up networks.
So what does this mean for consumers? The good news is folks with a lot of personal electronics are going to get a break -- both in the logistics of billing, with a shared account for all their gadgets, and on pricing. For instance, Verizon will stop charging extra to allow you to use your smartphone as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.
And just paying for the data instead of footing a fee for access to Verizon networks might finally encourage folks to get their Kindle Fire or iPad hooked up anywhere instead of relying only on Wi-Fi. That ultimately could place much more stress on Verizon's network, so capacity is key if demand does rise sharply.
But more importantly, this move is a signal that the old era of phones as we know it is officially over. These days, mobile devices can do so much more than just allow you to talk to someone, so Verizon is smart to evolve with the electronics industry and focus on data first.
It's amazing to think that 15 years ago less than 5% of people in the world had a cell phone. Now mobile conversations have become all but an afterthought.
More from InvestorPlace.com
- AT&T's New High Says It All About This Market
- 5 REITs Under $10 With Huge Dividends
- Is Facebook a Bargain at $26?
Sounds like a way to zing customers with more fees to me! Anyone want to bet that the average cell bill goes up a bit?
Everytime I see a special plan, I remember signing on and then recieving a bill for alot more than I agreed to. When I called to discuss the bill, they always had some kind of explanation. It is never as it seems.
People really have no idea how much a year they would save if they ditched their data phones. Having a tablet with WiFi, and using it when there is service around is all you really need. $360, $480?? per year. Now drop your extended basic cable plan to just basic for another $400 savings a year, and then tell your cable company you cannot afford the $50 a month for DSL anymore and they will find a less expensive plan for you and save you another $240 a year. We are totaling a cool $1000 a year savings here, and I am talking an easy 1000.
Most people who don't need to be, are too wired. All they do is stare at their phones all day. Live life a little, talk to someone. Get up from that TV at night and do something productive with family. We simply are being sold on things we can easily live without.
can't buy what you can't afford.
Verizon only makes changes that benefits Verizon. A minority of their customers will benefit. The majority won't...
still overpriced! The phones are made overseas where it cost little to make....I never mind someone making a living...hate supporting those making a 'killing.'
I remember the day to have a phone bill WITH long distance amounted to $60 a month!...that was a "shoot me! I just robbed my family" moment. Now folks wouldn't blink twice at it. How can folks talk about having it rough financially and fork over $100 or more a month for telephone privileges & extras?
By the way, was it just me, or did this article sound like a big VZ commercial? LOL!
Anytime Verizon has a price that ends with the phrase "and up" expect it to be more on the "and up" end of the scale. I've been with Verizon since before they were Verizon (GTE) and have threatened to go to another carrier many times. I will be watching this closely to see what all the carries will come up with and to see Verizon's final roll out and pricing.
"Dubbed Share Everything, the plans will include unlimited phone calls and texting and start at $90 per month"
Cheaper for people who don't use that much data?
Smart Phones with unlimited text and voice just used to be 60-70 bucks for people who didn't want to use data. No they're saying it will be 90 bucks even if they use no internet data?
"That ultimately could place much more stress on Verizon's network, so capacity is key if demand does rise sharply."
Uh....so they are releasing a program that will encourage people *cough cough* force them to use the networks instead of free wi-fi while limiting them to 1GB of data. WTF. 1GB is nothing.
$90.00/mo. & Verizon THINKS that's a REASONABLE, AFFORDABLE charge?????
Sounds like new plan, same ol' RIP OFF Verizon to me... AT&T to follow suit... Hmmmm, somehow that don't surprise me either but then I always knew I had to have a GOOD REASON for NOT doing business with EITHER of them!
Personally I think EVERYBODY should just SELL OFF any shares of stock in both these companies... THEY DESERVE TO TANK BIG TIME!
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
These hot movers could rise by double digits in coming months.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.