Yesterday, a top Verizon Exec stated that it is “all but inevitable” that Verizon Wireless will be offering Family Share Data Plans for one low price sooner than later. It is odd that he chose now to make such an announcement, since Verizon recently disenfranchised themselves from millions of their customers with the announcement that it is getting rid of “unlimited data” plans. Whether or not this is just a way to attempt to soften the blow of their recent plan-ending announcement or an actual pre-announce is not certain. But it would be a great way to allow children to use minutes that monthly go unused by their parents. For instance, kids could download and view Netflix movies using the data minutes that older users typically under-utilize.
The traditional mobile phone family plan has been around forever it seems, at least as long as mobile phones have existed, and is a way for a group of people, related or not, to utilize a pool of minutes for calls as a unit. This way, those in the plan who never use near the monthly allotment in a single user plan feel they are not wasting money, and those minutes can be transferred to other more needy users, without those users’ monthly fees increasing or getting hit with overage charges.
But now that unlimited plans are going away on the data side, should users sharing a family plan for minutes be expected to pay individual monthly fees for data? If three family members on a family plan share minutes, but are forced to each pay $25 monthly for data that some of them use, and some of them don’t, the first company to offer family data share plans will see a huge influx of customers. Perhaps that is what Verizon is going to attempt.
Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo, in an interview with REUTERS, recently said that the change to a family share data plan is part of a “logical progression” by Verizon to eventually offer “Mega Plans” where the monthly fee is dictated by number of devices, and not minutes or data used.