Earlier this week, AT&T announced that it will launch its own shared data plans on August 23. Unlike Verizon, the company listed two plans offering more than 10 GB of data: 15 GB @ $160 + $30 for each smartphone, and 20 GB @ $200 + $30 for each smartphone. Verizon currently lists six Share Everything plans spanning 1 GB to 10 GB only.
"Need more than 10 GB of data? Add 2 GB for $10/month by logging in to My Verizon," the website reads.
Brenda Raney, a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, recently told Computerworld that the Big Red has actually offered five additional tiers since June, only they're mainly acquired through customer service via phone, or at Verizon's brick-and-mortar storefronts. The company doesn't list these tiers online because "the majority of customers use under 2 GB a month."
These hidden tiers are actually based on the 2 GB for $10 disclaimer: 12 GB for $110 a month, 14 GB for $120 a month, 16 GB for $130 a month, 18 GB for $140 a month and 20 GB for $150 a month. Verizon's Unlimited Talk & Text with 10 GB of shared data has a base price of $100 before adding phones.
Based on those numbers, Verizon's 20 GB monthly plan is $50 less than what AT&T plans to offer for its 20 GB tier later this month. However Verizon customers wanting a subscription to one of the higher tiers will need to make an arrangement with customer service to make the allotment -- whether it's just 2 GB or the full 10 GB -- as part of a monthly plan.
Unlike AT&T, Verizon doesn't offer discounts on smartphone fees in the higher tiers: it's a standard $40 for smartphones, $30 for basic phones, $20 for USB modems and $10 for tablets across the board. On AT&T's plans, smartphone fees range for $45 to $30 each -- basic phones are a flat $30, USB modems are $20 and tablets are $10. Does it make a difference? Let's compare:
10 GB of data ($100) + 2 Smartphones ($80) + 1 Tablet ($10) = $190 before taxes and surcharges
10 GB of data ($120) + 2 Smartphones ($60) + 1 Tablet ($10) = $190 before taxes and surcharges.
Here's where the price difference rears its head:
20 GB of data ($150) + 2 Smartphones ($80) + 1 Tablet ($10) = $240 before taxes and surcharges
20 GB of data ($200) + 2 Smartphones ($60) + 1 Tablet ($10) = $270 before taxes and surcharges.
So why would anyone need this much data? As Verizon points out, users generally consume only around 2 GB per month. However downloading a full-length HD movie eats up more than 3 GB of data on a single device. Now tack on four additional devices downloading the same movie, and you have 15 GB already used up.
Of course, that's why we love Wi-Fi so much.