Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Paul Sakuma | The Associated Press) AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. are the top-two yielders in the Dow, and also the biggest percentage gainers.
Oh My Tech!: New Verizon plan isn’t a deal for everyone

Service that multiple devices and users can share actually limits choices.

By Vince Horiuchi

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Jun 14 2012 06:36 pm • Last Updated Jun 15 2012 02:52 pm

Earlier this week, Verizon Wireless announced a major shift in pricing plans for its mobile phones. I’ve read a couple of news stories about what those new plans are but they were confusing to me. So I called Verizon to have someone explain the new prices.

I’m going to lay it out for you in a few simple words. Many of you are screwed.

At a glance

Verizon’s new prices for cellular service

You first must pay this amount for each device you add to the plan for unlimited voice and texting (up to 10 devices):

Smartphone » $40

Basic phone » $30

Laptop or mobile hotspot device » $20

Tablet » $10

If you want data, you then pay this additional amount per month. All devices on the plan can share this data:

1 gigabyte (GB) » $50

2GB » $60

4GB » $70

6GB » $80

8GB » $90

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

That’s because in some cases, when the new pricing plans take place at the end of this month, you will end up paying more for roughly the same service. Some might pay less. But in the end, what Verizon really takes away from us is choice.

Here’s how the plans work.

They are set up more like shared family plans, in which everything is unlimited voice minutes and texting that everyone on the account shares. There no longer will be "limited" plans in which you, say, have a limit of 450 minutes per month.

If you just use one phone, say a smartphone, it will first cost $40 a month for unlimited voice and texting. If you want to get data on top of that, you also have to pay $50 per month for 1 gigabyte, $60 for 2 gigs, $70 for 4 gigs, etc.

Now, if you want to add another phone to the plan, you must pay another $40 if it’s a smartphone or $30 for a basic featureless phone. The phones would then all share the unlimited texts and voice minutes, and share the bucket of data. So, for example, if you have three smartphones with 2GB of data, that would be $120 for the voice and text, and then $60 for the data that they would share.

When comparing to the old plans, customers on limited voice plans could pay at least $10 to $20 per month more for the new plans. Going to the new plans might be cheaper, however, for those people with unlimited voice and text plans already.

But if you’re like me, someone who doesn’t need unlimited voice minutes, the new plans are not an added value.

Customers can stay with their old pricing plans when Verizon changes over to the new prices later this month. But once you add another person in the family to the account with a new phone, that person has to buy one of the new plans. Again, customers are stuck with fewer choices.

story continues below
story continues below

If the company wants to add value and make us happy, lower the price of the data plans a little, especially now that data usage on mobile phones and tablets is growing with streaming movie and music services. Data usage will become even more popular when Apple allows FaceTime videoconferencing over cellular networks with its next iOS update in the fall (at present, you can only access FaceTime on a Wi-Fi connection).

Unfortunately, it’s been reported that the other cellular carriers will eventually go to a pricing structure similar to Verizon’s. But I’m afraid that services such as these — whether they be for mobile phones, cable TV or high-speed Internet — will only go up as they continue to nickel-and-dime us to death.

If you have a tech question for Vince, email him at ohmytech@sltrib.com, and he’ll try to answer it for his column in The Salt Lake Tribune or on its website. For an archive of past columns, go to www.sltrib.com/topics/ohmytech.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.