Verizon Wireless unveils shared data plans; rivals may follow
NEW YORK, June 12 (Reuters) - Verizon Wireless is revamping its prices with new service plans that include unlimited calls and texts and the ability for customers to share their data allowance among multiple devices as it looks to shake up the U.S. wireless industry.
The biggest U.S. mobile operator is hoping to entice customers to connect more gadgets like tablet computers to its network with the new plans as customers will be able avoid paying separate data subscriptions for each device.
Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.
The revamp, which Verizon Wireless has been considering for more than a year, is aimed at helping Verizon's top line as an increase in connected devices would mean more revenue. Some analysts expect rivals to begin offering similar plans.
Today most consumers do not choose tablets with cellular connections as they prefer to stick to more limited range Wi-Fi wireless networks rather than pay a second cellular data fee.
And while some consumers spend less time on the phone and send fewer text message, they are rapidly increasing their data usage, according to service providers.
As a result, the biggest U.S. operators have been increasing their data prices even as they've lowered traditional phone call prices.
While Verizon's new offer involves a higher fee per gigabyte of data, Verizon hopes that the inclusion of unlimited voice and texting and the shared data element would help make the plans popular with consumers.
"What I'm doing is giving you the flexibility to share the data you've paid for," Chief Marketing Officer Tami Erwin told Reuters. "Customers who are using more than one device will very quickly see the value in this." Continuación...