Shared Mobile Data Plans: Who Benefits?
By BRIAN X. CHEN JULY 19, 2012
Verizon and AT&T, the two biggest carriers in the United States, are offering shared data plans, which will allow customers to pay for a single pool of data and share it across multiple smartphones, tablets and laptops. The concept of sharing sounds like a nice idea in principle, but the costs of these plans can tell a different story.
The pricing for the carriers' shared plans is nearly identical. After doing the math, it turns out that shared data plans are a good value only for a specific type of customer: A high-income family with several data-hungry devices and chatty kids who send lots of text messages.
In other words, the plans offer the most value for people who already spend a lot to squeeze as much out of their wireless service as possible, and are not so useful for frugal, casual customers.
"There are very few subsets of people where this will actually be impactful," says Schwark Satyavolu, chief executive of Truaxis, a company that offers tools for consumers to manage their utility bills.
Here's a quick breakdown of the math.