Will AT&T and Sprint Follow in Verizon’s NEW Footsteps?

In a move that’s likely to transform the U.S. wireless market, Verizon’s (NYSE:VZ) new Share Everything plans, unveiled on Tuesday, will let customers buy one bucket of data for use with up to 10 devices on the same account. Verizon had been considering the revamp, essentially designed to entice customers to connect more devices to its cellular network and hence generate additional revenue, for more than a year now.

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Customers will be helped by not having to buy and pay for additional data subscriptions for each separate device they own. In addition, it will solve the problem where a customer may have to pay extra for going over data usage allowance on one device, even though they may not have used their full allowance on another.

Starting June 28, a Verizon smartphone customer can pay a monthly fee of $100 that includes unlimited calls and texts as well as two GB of data, which can be shared with up to 10 devices. Each additional device will require another access tariff. There will be no fee or contract extension for current subscribers to move to the new plans.

At the moment, Verizon customers pay $90 for 2 gigabytes of data, 450 minutes of talk time, and unlimited text messages. Adding another device like an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad costs another $30 a month for an additional 2 GB.

“What I’m doing is giving you the flexibility to share the data you’ve paid for,” Verizon chief marketing officer Tami Erwin told Reuters. “Customers who are using more than one device will very quickly see the value in this. This is really intended to drive growth. My expectation is it doesn’t change our margins,” she said.

Data usage is going up as consumers buy more smartphones and tablets, forcing U.S. operators to increase prices and limit usage. A plan like this one will charge a higher fee per gigabyte of data, but Verizon hopes that the inclusion of unlimited voice and texting and the element of shared data will make it successful.

AT&T (NYSE:T) is expected to offer a similar plan soon, while Sprint (NYSE:S), which still offers unlimited data on individual devices, may feel the pressure as well.

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