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Verizon Introduces 'Groundbreaking' Pricing Scheme, But Is It Really Different?

Verizon Wireless announced on Tuesday what it is calling a "groundbreaking" pricing scheme that will "forever change the way customers purchase wireless services."

Essentially what the new plans — dubbed "Share Everything" by the company — are aiming for is to allow customers to use one bucket of data access to power up to 10 of their devices. The pricing starts at $90 a month, which allows for one smartphone with unlimited voice and text and access to 1 gigabyte of data.

Customers could, for example, add other smartphones for an extra $40 a month each, or a notebook for $20, or a tablet for $10.

Perhaps as predicted, the pricing scheme is being roundly criticized. The Verge doesn't pull punches, saying while the idea of sharing a simple data plan between a bunch of devices is the future, Verizon, the country's largest wireless provider, has "botched it."

The Verge writes:

"If Verizon (or any carrier) wants to take this seriously, it's very simple: let customers add unlimited devices to an existing data bucket for a reasonable monthly fee. $5, for instance. I could even understand $10, perhaps. But $40 for an extra smartphone? Instead of the shared data holy grail, Verizon is essentially offering us a new spin on family plans. This will be great for some, don't get me wrong — and it'll probably save a few dollars in many cases — but let's not call this the revolution we've been waiting for. It's not."

Venture Beat gives Verizon credit for one thing: The pricing plans are simple. But two smartphones with 4 GB of data will add up to $180 a month.

"Verizon already offers family plans that can end up being cheaper than its Share Everything plans, but they have lots of options and can be more confusing than the simpler pooled data plans," Venture Beat reports.

The new plans will be available June 28. As The Wall Street Journal reports, customers will be able to keep their old plans, with an exception: Customers who have unlimited-data plans will have to pick new plans if they get new, subsidized phones. They can keep the unlimited plan if they pay full price for a phone. "For example, an iPhone 4S that costs $200 with a two-year contract costs $650 unsubsidized, with no contract," the Journal reports.

Perhaps the most succinct analysis this morning comes from Jeff Jarvis, who tweeted: "Good news: Shared data plan. Bad news: Verizon continues to engineer to rip off, making you buy voice you don't use."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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