Verizon's Share Everything and my phone bill

Yesterday Verizon announced its new "Share Everything" wireless plans. These plans roll out on June 28th. If you've got an unlimited data plan grandfathered in you can hold on to it, at least until you feel the urge to buy a new subsidized phone. Basically Verizon wants to get everyone on these new tiered plans and you can opt to switch over come the end of the month.

But should you? I was reading posts talking about what a great deal Share Everything was, and posts talking about what a rip-off it was. Time to get out my most recent Verizon Wireless bill and do the math myself.

So we have two lines on our account, unlimited data on both of them and ample minutes. My latest bill was $171.82.

That breaks down as follows:

Nationwide Talk Share 700: $45.20

(This is about 650 more minutes than we ever use, but it was the smallest plan they'd offer us.)

Her iPhone:

Line Access: $9.99

Email and unlimited web: $29.99

250 TXT messages: $5.00

Assorted surcharges and fees bring her phone to $50.71

My Galaxy Nexus:

Line Access: $9.99

Email and unlimited web: $29.99

250 TXT messages: $5.00

4G Smartphone hotspot: $30.00

Assorted surcharges and fees, minus a few small discounts from work, and my phone costs $75.91

As far as data use goes, she used virtually none (171,499 Kb – she works from home so is constantly bathed in WiFi) and I used about 1.7 GB. Still, when we travel she's always streaming Pandora or Songza while we drive; I think I'd feel comfortable with 4 GB of data between us.

So let's look at the Share Everything plans. I'm using the prices in this Verizon PDF for the following:

Fee for iPhone: $40

Fee for Nexus: $40

4 GB data: $70

The hotspot comes as part of the plan, as do the minutes and TXTs.

$150 before taxes and surcharges. I'm going to guesstimate about $12 for those, based on the bill I'm looking at, so $162 total. And maybe a much simpler phone bill as a perk.

Surprise! Share Everything is a little bit cheaper for us. I don't think it's enough cheaper to get me to give up my unlimited data though. I don't use a lot of data but I'm glad to know it's there if I do need it. I just spent a few days in the hospital and my phone and data plan were my only contact with the outside world (this usage isn't reflected on the bill I'm looking at). That's the beauty of unlimited data. You don't always need it, but it's there when you do.

So is Share Everything a good deal? I'd say it really depends. I feel like I'm a textbook case for when it works in the consumer's favor (the mobile hotspot was the big determining factor for it being a money-saver for us, but I do use that fairly often). Consider someone with a single smartphone and a tablet who wants 4 GB of data; that's going to cost them $120/month ($70 for data, $40 for phone, $10 for the tablet) which is likely more than they're paying now. (I hasten to add that no one is forced to take on a Share Everything plan; there are other tiered plans available.)

Sooner or later you're going to have your hand forced and will have to go over to a tiered data plan of some sort, or start buying phones at full retail. But I'm going to suggest that most people are probably going to want to put that transition off for as long as possible. Grab your most recent phone bill and check the math to be sure.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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