AT&T, to no one's surprise, announced it will offer Mobile Share plans beginning in late August. The plans, similar to the Share Everything plans Verizon Wireless introduced June 12, focus around a bucket a data that up to 10 devices can share. Traditionally, wireless contracts tie a single device to a data allotment.
The plans, AT&T said in a July 18 statement, are intended to give customers more control over how, where and on what device they use datawhich has become more important as people use more data devices. Current customers wont be required to switch to the new plans, though they can choose to do so without extending their contract.
AT&T additionally made clearlikely distinguishing itself from Verizon herethat customers eligible for an upgrade are not required to switch plans.
The Mobile Share plans ask that customers first choose how much data they plan to use a month; the price per gigabyte decreases with the more gigabytes chosen:
1GB is $40, plus $45 for each smartphone
4GB is $70, plus $40 for each smartphone
6GB is $90, plus $35 for each smartphone
10GB is $120, plus $30 for each smartphone
15GB is $160 plus $30 for each smartphone
20GB is $200, plus $30 for each smartphone
Additional gigabytes are $15 each.
Each basic or quick-messaging phone (non-smartphone) adds $30 a month to the plan; each laptop, LaptopConnect card or netbook can be tied to the plan for $20 each a month, and tablets and gaming devices can be added for $10 each per month.
Each Mobile Share plan includes unlimited talk and text, as well as tetheringthe ability to extend a devices connection to another deviceand offers subscribers access to AT&Ts more than 30,000 WiFi hotspots.
Using a Mobile Share plan, a couple with two smartphones and a tablet, say, who estimate that they need 4GB of data per month, would pay $90 plus $35 plus $35 plus $10a total of $170 per month.
Verizons Share Everything plans are slightly differentthe gigabyte pricing is set, as is the pricing per month per devicebut, ultimately, the plans are very competitive. Per month, Verizon charges $40 per smartphone, $30 per basic phone, $20 per Jetpack MiFi hotspot, USB hotspot, netbook and notebook, and $10 per tablet. Gigabyte pricing is 1 for $50, 2 for $60, 4 for $70, 6 for $80, 8 for $90, and 10 for $100, with higher allotments also available.
The couple above would also pay $170 per month with a Verizon plan.
A single user with only a smartphone, should he need only 1GB of data per month, would pay $85 on the AT&T plan and $90 a month with Verizon. Should he instead need 6GB a month, that would change to $125 on AT&T and $120 on Verizon. A family of four with four smartphones, needing a collective 20GB of data per month, on AT&T would pay $350 a month$200 for the data and $30 per smartphone; on Verizon, the tally would be $310$150 for 20GB and $40 per smartphone. If that family had five members with smartphones, however, the cost would change to $350 on both carriers.
Verizons introduction of its new plans was met with some resistanceas a Verizon spokesperson said was expecteddespite the carriers insistence that no one would be forced to move to the new plans.
For new customers, the story is a different one. The Verizon Wireless site now offers customers a choice of only Prepaid or Share Everything plans.
When did Verizon do away with its former individual plans?
Share Everything plans are individual plans, a Verizon spokesperson told eWEEK. She added that, despite the June 28 introduction of the Share Everything plans, existing Verizon Wireless customers can continue to use and purchase the Nationwide plans.