updated 03:59 pm EST, Mon January 20, 2014
Cheaper shared plan to appeal to groups that do not require data
Verizon is increasing the range of its Share Everything group plan tomorrow, by offering a new additional lower tier. The new $20 option provides the same unlimited voice and unlimited SMS that the rest of the plans offer, except that the basic cost of the plan has been trimmed down from the $40 of the 500MB tier to $20 for a shared data allowance of 250MB.
The $20 is the cost of the plan itself, excluding devices. Just like the higher tiers, CNET reports that having a single smartphone on the plan would increase the cost by $40 to $60, or alternatively by adding a feature phone or a basic handset for $30, making the total cost $50. Considering the lack of data, paying $10 or $20 to add a tablet or wireless LTE hotspot to the plan would be relatively pointless.
Though the new tier could be seen as unnecessary, due to the average smartphone user needing far more than 250MB of data allowance per month without getting charged the $15 fee for an extra 200MB allocation, it would still be beneficial to some users. A group that does not use data at all would collectively save $20 per month by using the cheaper plan over the current lowest tier.
By comparison, AT&T's Mobile Share plan currently has a 300MB allocation in its cheapest $20 tier, with relatively similar features and costs for adding individual devices to the plan as Verizon offers. Sprint's 'Framily' plan, with 1GB of data as well as unlimited calls and texts, costs $55 for a single person but lowers the cost per-person by $5 for each additional member of the group, with a lower limit of $25 per person.