VZW: Unlimited Data --> Shared Data..

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by RWil85, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. RWil85 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2010
    Quick question..

    Have an upgrade available through VZW and contemplating using it on an iPhone 5..

    Only thing that's stopping me is that my two lines on the account both have unlimited data and I'm pretty sure that if I take a phone at the subsidized price, I will lose my unlimited data plans and have to move over to a data SharePlan.

    I know all the basics - it depends on my usage, analyze the prices, etc.

    but, I would like to know - has anyone made that same move and been ok? absolutely regretted it?

    Any info you could provide might lend me a bit of foresight into the future and help me make a decision. Thanks.
  2. BFizzzle macrumors 68020


    May 31, 2010
    Austin TX
    true unlimited data with no throttling? no way..i cant get rid of mine.

    guess it all depends on how much you use..
  3. ddehr026 macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2010
    I have a 4s with unlimited data with verizon. The few hundred bucks saved ($649-$199 for 16gb, etc) over 2 years by upgrading to the 5 at the subsidized price is absolutely not worth it to me. Just my $.02 :)
  4. RWil85 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2010
    yeah, figured most would say that. I don't think I'd run into a problem - but, I just don't want to have to be eyeing my data every month. By the same token, the overage fees aren't that bad if I remember them correctly. $10/GB?

    Valid. Thought the same thing. $450 + tax is a big chunk of change to toss up front, though. Equates to about $20/mo. over the contract period. But, I guess that's relative to one's finances.

    Maybe I should just get the 5 for $200 and sell it for a bajillion like everyone else and consider it settled.
  5. Leonard1818 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2011
    I have made the move and I'm satisfied.

    I save ~$17/month over what I used to pay. Currently it's my wife and I on a shared 2GB plan. I've only completed two billing cycles as of today. We've used 1GB combined the first month and closed out this month around 1.5GB combined (simply because we streamed Pandora on a 4+ hour car ride and still had a ton leftover so I streamed some videos and did a bunch of random speedtests on 4G at random locations just for kicks).

    To successfully make the switch, you have to first determine two points of data:

    1. Your overall average data use combined (i.e. everyone on your plan who will be pulling from the shared data pool)
    2. The MAXIMUM amount of data ever used (again, combined) and I suppose how frequent you come close to that maximum. For me, I have been keeping a spreadsheet with a graph since I got a smartphone so this data was easy for me to come up with. If you don't have these numbers, Verizon should be able to help you determine these things.

    The next thing you'll want to do, armed with your average data use and the maximum that you and your family has ever used, is compare pricing. This gets tricky because you have to understand that Verizon will subsidize $400 of your phone if you jump to the shared plan -- but will not if you choose to keep unlimited and go month-to-month. You'll need to do these calculations on your own and determine if it's worthwhile to jump to the tiered/shared data plan or not. Just keep in mind that if you go subsidized, you're (in a way) "saving" about $18-20/month versus buying the phone outright. Looking at it another way, if you were to purchase the phone at full price, you would essentially be paying an extra $18-20/month MORE (but you're paying it upfront) to retain unlimited data.

    We carried unlimited data from 2010 through 2012. I was actually hoping to keep it which is why I paid for it even though I knew I wasn't utilizing it. Bummer.

    In that timeframe, we used an average of 0.6GB combined with a maximum of 1.8GB combined. We never held back on anything we wanted to do with our phones (using google nav as needed, streaming pandora as desired, emails, occasional youtube vids, etc).

    To me, that was a no-brainer. I sign up for a 2GB plan, keep doing EXACTLY what I've been doing, and save money. If we DO have a month where we need more, I think they just automatically charge you $15 and give you an extra gig. If this happens a few times, I can bump our data plan up to 4GB/month for an extra $7 including discounts.

    Other members will tell you to take a bullet to retain unlimited data. I've asked many many times and have rarely gotten a solid reason why it's beneficial to retain unlimited data... mostly, people are just planning for a future that has yet to unfold... just like what I was doing by keeping unlimited data for the past 2 years... all for nothing really.

    I'd be glad to help out and chime back in if you gather some numbers/other info:

    1. Total average data consumed for everyone on your plan
    2. Maximum data consumed by everyone on your plan (historcially)
    3. What you currently pay.
    4. If you are eligible for any discounts.
    5. What your typical useage habits are.

    You have to quote my post if you reply though or I won't see it in my notifications and it'll be lost forever! :D


    $450 is quite a bit of money. Have you run the numbers to see how much data you use on average (and maximum) to see if it would be better for you to retain unlimited and pay the extra $450 or jump to a tiered/shared plan?

    some people cite that they use 8-10 GB per month!!! :eek:

    For these kinds of people, it is likely not worth making the move... but nobody can really give a good reason as to why the use that much per month... or their reasons are just silly.

    It does bring up a good point though. A (somewhat) phenomenon that I've observed is that there are enormous amounts of people who either don't know what uses data, what the difference is between wifi and 3G/4G or simply don't care. I think if some people would just review their data consumption habits and jump on your company wifi if you *have* to download the latest lady gaga album or use your home internet when you're home (duh), a lot of them would reduce their celluar data use (3G/4G) which would save them money, put less strain on the carrier network, and win-win for everyone.


    Probably should have prefaced everything by saying that if you're on an individual plan, chances are it's not going to be worth making the move. I've yet to find a scenario where it is worth it for the individual. 2+ people on the plan, time to do some math!
  6. chakraj macrumors 65816


    Feb 6, 2008
    So Cal
    I am up to 12 gigs this month with 10 days to go, that would not be worth it to me. Unlimited saves more money for my usage patterns.
  7. Nolander07 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    I was on unlimited on verizon and now have 2 gig on a single phone. At first I was checking data usage and stressing. This month, my first full month, I used 0.61 GB. I have wifi at home and don't stream music or movies (aside from occasional YouTube videos). I have however not tried to save data and I have used my phone like normal when out of the house- maps, forums, Internet, apps, etc. That's just me.....
  8. ddehr026 macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2010

    First off, great post. Very detailed. I'm sure the OP appreciates the time.

    My plan right now is 3 iPhones, 1 unlimited, the other 2 2gb/month. All 3 share unlimited messaging (not that it matters much anymore).My total before taxes is $182.xx. If I were to change to shared, assuming 2gb per phone, that puts me at $200 minus wherever my corp discount comes off. Let's say about $185 before taxes. So it's pretty much a wash for the plan price if we changed to shared, but I lose unlimited. Just doesn't make much sense for me to change. I don't need the iphone 5, nor do I want it. I'm perfectly happy with my 4s. To each his own though. :)
  9. RWil85 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2010
    Wow, thanks for the post. Always help to have a different point of view - helps to fill gaps on things I might not see myself.

    When you guys quote your monthly costs - do any of you take into account (or even use) things like visual voicemail, insurance, etc.? Thinking I'm wasting my money on those as VVM is not necessary and I've had insurance for 8+ years and made 0 claims [knock on wood].

    I'm in a bit of a different boat as my wife has an iPhone4 - would like to upgrade her to the 5 possibly as an xmas gift.

    I just bought an iPad and am really liking iOS (also, it would be nice to complement my Macbook Pro/iPad with an iDevice) - considering picking up my first iPhone and coming over from a Droid Razr Maxx.

    If I'm calculating this correctly - looking at past bills, it seems as though my wife and I average about 2.4GBs/mo since I ditched BB for Android. I'm fairly sure we could live comfortably with a 4GB shareplan. So, access is $40/phone and 4GB is $60 (19% discount makes that roughly $48) + assuming taxes at the same rate of current bill makes them roughly $14 = my monthly total is $142 (given that I ditch VVM, insurance, etc.).

    Given that I'm paying $170/mo currently for the old Nationwide Share 700mins/unlimited msg, unlimited data on both at $30/phone, insurance on mine and VVM on mine - I guess it might make sense to make the jump?

    I'd get the phones at the subsidized prices and save about $20/mo (figuring the difference if I simply ditched VVM/Insurance from my current unlimited plan). Not to mention I'd be able to sell the Razr Maxx and the iPhone4 and probably make back a decent chunk of change.

    I think I'm doing what Leonard said he did and simply holding on to the unlimited just for the hell of it - and who knows? they could really wipe out unlimiteds at some point in the future.
  10. Leonard1818 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2011
    When I quote my bills, I quote what I pay, period (including insurance and any other "features").

    I've changed my view on insurance over time... I used to carry it for a year and then ditch it under the assumption that the device is now one year old and a decent used one could be had on craigslist for less than what I'd put into insurance over the next year (assuming a 2 year contract). well, now that the devices are getting more and more expensive, that has changed.

    Recently, I've bought an applecare + for my 4s and my 5. That's what I'm doing with these 2 devices. Once we have a need/want for a new one, I'll probably buy a new one and shuffle the others down the line. My current 5 will go to my wife (or the new one will, whatever) and the 4s will become our "insurance".

    That's the goal... but who knows... at the time of next purchase, I may end up just picking up the AppleCare + again or whatever. I really don't know. Either way, I'm never again going with Asurion (verizon) insurance. That's a side story but let's say I've not been impressed by the replacement device they sent me once and I sent it back, losing all faith in the insurance.

    Not to mention, it's now some asinine price through verizon (something like $10/month for the iPhone, $150 deductible, 2 claims maximum, and you get a refurb presumabely refurb'd by someone other than Apple). I'd rather give Apple the $100 upfront and know that if something happens it's a $50 deductible and I get a new or "refurb'd by apple" iphone that meets their standards. But that's just me.

    So yeah, you'll want to do your own math and figure out what's best for you and your family. I went on a bit of a "cost cutting" bender and the whole switching to tiered was fallout of that. I also cancelled cable (rot in h-e-double-hockey-sticks Time Warner Cable) and varous other cost-cutting measures.

    It's really working out for us so far. Even if I have to bump our data up to 4GB I'll still end up saving ~$10/month (that's $120/year!) and to me, every buck counts.

    RWil85, it sounds like you're on the right track. You should re-evaluate your need for insurance as it's really become quite a ripoff through Verizon and I personally would ditch VVM. The built-in VM thing on the iPhone seems pretty good -- my wife uses it and I've seen it a few times. I use Google Voice which is free and mimmicks VVM or at least my understanding of VVM. You'll be surprised how much you can save if you really cater your plan to only fit only your needs.

    Here's a previous post I made:


    The important stuff is this:

    All of the above numbers were approximate however. The true totals were more like:

    Previous bill $155
    New bill $137


    ...also important to mention that I get a 22% discount on my data portion which is why my data is really $46.80 instead of $60.

    so it's really more like:

    $40 -- My line
    $40 -- Wifes line
    $46.80 -- Shared 2GB data
    + Fees and junk

    So in theory, had I kept my old plan, not only would I be still paying $155/month but I would have had to pay $450 more for my phone (or ~$20/month) for a total of ~$175 monthly.

    $38/month saved (* 12 months per year = $456/year)
  11. RWil85 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2010
    Awesome! I knew there was someone else out there who thought about things the same way I did, haha.

    Average data usage since we've had my 4G Android/her iPhone on the plan = 2.4GB. Highest combined is 2.7GB.

    So, for pretty much the same reasons as you and your wife, I feel like we'd be alright with the 4GB plan.

    Moneywise, should look something like this -

    Old Plan - $170

    New Plan -
    $40/my phone
    $40/her phone
    $70/4GB Data [which is really $56.70 after 19% discount]
    $136.70 before taxes [taxes on other bill were around 11% of total - so, total bill now might be ~$152]

    Seems like a straight up savings of $18/mo with about a 1.5GB cushion, which shouldn't be a problem. The 'ability to tether' is almost a negative moving over to the shareplan for me, as I can currently tether from my droid to my macbook or ipad for free on an unlimited data plan (something to consider). Again, I feel like even that is something I hold onto for no reason as I like that I have the ability to do that if need be; yet, never really end up using it.

    The subsidized phone price will be another positive and, as you said, I will be able to sell my Maxx and keep the wife's iPhone4 as "insurance" or vice-a-versa.

    Seems like a no brainer.. :confused:
  12. Leonard1818 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2011
    ...Just reviewed this and it sounds like you're a good canidate for making the switch and getting the subsidized price. People may tell you that you will use more data on a 4G phone versus 3G but it sounds like you have a Razr Maxx so you already have 4G. The "more data use on 4G" thing I'm finding to be a myth anyway. The only thing that made our data use go up was me passing my 4s on to my wife so she actually has a FUNCTIONING phone and now she can DO THINGS that require data. She streams Pandora via BT in her car to and from work and running around all day. She actually doubles the amount of data that I use which is saying a lot since I'm considered the more tech-savvy of the two of us.

    Go for it!


    Right. Those are other things to consider. My two biggest question marks were:

    -- Tethering (and how much data will it use)
    -- Facetime over celluar (and how much data will it use)

    For tethering, I've really only used it a few times in a pinch and honestly, I can't really see any impact on my data consumption. In other words -- it's the same if I tether versus just looking up whatever I want to look up on my phone. Again, I've really only used it a couple of times.

    For facetime, almost always, one of us will be on wifi during a facetime call if not both of us, but we've done it where we're both on celluar and it's really not that big of a deal. We don't use it every day or anything, only when I want to talk to my 2-year-old. It's nice because if you look at the call info on the iPhone it will show you the approximate amount of data you use. I don't recall but I feel like it was something like 10mb for every 3 minutes or something like that. It does seem to use a lot of data but honestly, who uses facetime, on the go, for more than a few minutes? Find some wifi and use it there... lol.

    So yeah, those were really the only two unknowns for me and they've turned out to be non-issues really.
  13. Leonard1818 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2011
    It's probably important to note that I have high-speed wifi at home (24mbps connection) that I use in the mornings and evenings so I'm not using 4g at home. Also, due to security requirements, we do NOT have wifi at our desks at work. If I *really* need it, I can go into the breakroom and connect to the company wifi (if I really want to DL an app update or maybe an album has come out that I want to DL right then and listen to) or, at my desk, I can sometimes pick up the neighboring companys wifi signal if I must but it's a PITA to use since it always flakes in and out. Ends up killing my battery more than it helps me.

    My wife has wifi at work but it requires you to authenticate every time you want to log onto it so I can guarantee she does not do it all the time (read: never).

    What I'm getting at is that we both have access to wifi networks outside of home but we really are never on them -- constantly on 3G/4G.

    If you have access to wifi at work/school and your wife does too maybe just educating her on how to connect to it and setting up her phone to automatically connect to her work/school wifi will also decrease your data consumption. Forgive me for assuming your wife is as technically illiterate as mine but as I allueded to previously, I'm blown away by the number of people that don't understand that just becuase it's a "cell phone" does not mean you always have to have data delivered via "cell network". I work in the tech industry with a lot of technical professionals who I've had to educate about setting up their (and their kids) phones to automatically connect to their home wifi! They honestly did not know...

    I've got to admit, I've given up on trying to explain to my parents (in their 60's) the difference between 3G/4G and wifi... it's beyond their comprehension. I've set their devices up to automatically connect to their home wifi and they've tailored their data plan to accomodate for the rest. Every now and again one of their phones will stop connecting to their home wifi (and of course they're oblivious) and they'll get a text that they've used X% of their data. They'll call me up, in a panic of course, and I'll instruct them to hang up, restart their phone, and look for the little "wifi" symbol at the top (explaining what it looks like). That usually takes care of it. ha ha
  14. GIZBUG macrumors 68000


    Oct 28, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Looked at my data usage this month on VZW. 3+ gigs. Glad I didn't give up my unlimited data plan with my new Iphone5
  15. Smileyboy macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2008
    I have a question about this.

    So if I were to buy or use my friends plan. How would/could I arrange the other lines on my account?

    I have 2 iPhone 5's and a iPad mini with LTE. Im assuming I could just do a family plan on my business account, get the discount and all.. But how would the data be arranged, would the other iPhone also have unlimited data and the iPad too?

Share This Page