Verizon is reportedly looking at allowing users to share data plans between devices, essentially opening the door to a family of users paying for a single data plan. The rumor comes from Engadget who have received an anonymous tip that the shared data plans could be implemented in the near future and that users would simply have to pay $9.99 per month for the privilege of sharing a single data plan. The fee would be on top of the amount that they would normally pay for their data.
How would this affect Apple users? Essentially, the policy, if implemented could allow users to share a data plan between the two iOS devices that use mobile data plans; the iPhone and a 3G iPad. There’s no indication in the story that this is what Verizon is looking at, but given that iPhone users are among the most prolific data consumers, it makes sense for them. But, how exactly would it work?
The best example of a shared data plan for iOS users would perhaps be a family plan where one parent pays for a data connection, perhaps with a 2GB allowance ($30). Normally, the other parent (with an iPad) and the two children (both with iPhones) would be on separate data plans but, under the new structure, they could be added to the first parent’s original plan for a $9.99 fee. This would mean that, assuming fair usage, each member of the family would get 500MB each and it would only cost around $40 per month. Not too bad, especially when 4 x 250MB plans from AT&T would run at $60.
Of course, the shared data structure wouldn’t affect the cost of the talk plan since this is the area where the premium used to pay for the cost of the handset is tagged on. But it could potentially work out cheaper, and allow for more generous data usage, if Verizon implemented this new structure fairly, and carefully.