If employee training materials can be trusted it looks like Verizon is getting close to their 2011 promise that we would see new data sharing plans for 2012.
Working in much the same way as existing family sharing plans, data could also be shared for a nominal fee for each additional device such as iPad or iPhone (though some conflicting reports seem to indicate that you will only pay a one time “sharing fee” on top of a more expensive and inclusive plan and that there will not actually be a per device charge on top).
Verizon isn’t the only carrier to indicate a move in this direction, others like AT&T have given similar rumblings, which seems very wise. In an effort to make smartphones affordable for families (and encourage the purchase of more expensive hardware), data sharing is going to be a requirement.
One question currently sitting unanswered is whether there will be a minimum commitment for these shared plans. Currently Verizon only offers post-paid arrangements with contract lengths that vary based on the hardware subsidy used by their respective customers.
European carriers have paved the way for this re-appearance of a not-so-new concept, though most plans seem to be geared more toward an iPad and an iPhone sharing the same plan than a group of iPhones or a group of mixed devices.
No launch date has been announced so it may be some time yet before we see these plans appearing as available for sign-up, but I would bet anything they will be in place in time for the release of the iPad 3 which is still expected for March (we hope).
If you could share a data plan with your family, would you be more inclined to upgrade to a new smartphone? Would you choose the 3G model of the iPad if you didn’t have to secure and commit to a plan for it alone?