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Verizon Wireless Rebuffs Critics, Says Customers Won’t Mind Paying More for Shared Data

**Editor’s Note: Sprint and T-Mobile think shared data is a bad idea that’s a raw deal for Verizon customers and will lead to bill shock. Read their arguments

here

.**

On a per-megabyte basis, Verizon Wireless customers will pay more for shared data plans.

But the largest U.S. wireless operator is confident it can provide subscribers an incentive to switch to its shared plans, Jeffries analysts said Wednesday in a research note.

Verizon Wireless on Tuesday unveiled its Share Everything Plans. Debuting on June 28, the plans feature unlimited voice minutes, unlimited text, video and picture messaging plus a single data allotment for up to 10 devices.

The new plans were unveiled at a time when U.S. wireless operators are faced with declining voice and text-message usage.

“We believe by offering unlimited voice and text messaging as a point of entry, Verizon is protecting the more vulnerably revenue streams while encouraging data usage,” Jeffries analysts wrote.

The shared plans, though, have irked some Verizon customers who are concerned about paying higher prices or being forced to subscribe to the new offerings.

Steve Mesnick, head of marketing at Verizon Wireless, told Computer World the Shared Everything Plans aren’t being forced on existing customers and will mainly benefit work groups and families with multiple smartphones who want to share data across as many as 10 devices.

“We’re allowing the existing customer base to have a choice … we’re not forcing anyone to move to new plans … I take exception to [comments] of people leaving Verizon,” he said in the Computer World story.

In a press release Tuesday, Verizon Wireless declared, “Customers are free to keep their existing plans, but there is no fee or contract extension to move to the new Shared Everything Plans.”

However, Jeffries analysts said that Verizon customers who want to buy a new device that is subsidized will have to move off of the unlimited data plan that the mobile-phone company discontinued a few years ago but grandfathered in for existing customers.  

“The only way customers would still be able to keep their unlimited data plan is by paying full price for their handset,” Jeffries analysts said, “a huge incentive to give up unlimited data plans, in our view.”


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