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All Things Digital takes a look at the shifting landscape of mobile device data packages, where European carriers are leading the way in offering shared data plans allowing customers to sign up for a single data allotment to be used among multiple devices such as an iPhone and an iPad. Led by Austrian offerings from Orange, those shared data plans have begun rolling out to customer bases increasingly carrying multiple devices and seeking cost-efficient ways of obtaining data access for all of them.
Although the plans vary somewhat by country, the basic premise is the same. Users pay an extra couple of dollars a month for each additional device that shares data - similar to the way families and businesses here have long been able to share minutes between multiple phones.

"We believe that's really a way for the future," said Olaf Swantee, senior executive vice president for France Telecom's Orange unit.
The report notes that executives from AT&T and Verizon in the United States have said that they are actively working on shared data plans, with AT&T saying that such offerings are coming "soon" while declining to specify a launch timeframe.

orange_shared_data.jpg



Apple worked closely with wireless carriers ahead of the iPad's debut in order to be able to provide customers with simple and flexible data access for owners of 3G-capable models. While the initial unlimited data package offered by AT&T for the iPad was quickly replaced by tiered plans, users continue to be able to subscribe to and cancel data services as needed without the need for activation fees or long-term commitments. But shared data plans could offer additional flexibility to provide data service for multiple devices and relatively low incremental costs, provided that the additional device fees imposed by the carriers are not excessive.

AT&T has already had to respond to the idea of shared data with its tethering plans that allow users to create their own Wi-Fi hotspots connected to the cellular network via their phones. The carrier had initially offered tethering support for an additional $20 per month on top of the standard data fee, despite not offering any additional data allotment. The surcharge drew numerous complaints from users, and the carrier eventually modified its offerings to include an additional 2 GB of data for customers on its tethering plan.

Article Link: Wireless Carriers Moving Toward Shared Data Plans Across Devices
 

decimortis

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2007
517
1,310
Toronto
I never understood the additional charge for devices pulling from the same data pool.

What does it matter which devices uses the data? My iPhone, my iPad, tethered to my Macbook or if my hamster McSnickety wants to surf the web?

D.
 
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roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,915
2,278
That is about the only way I would consider getting a 3G iPad. Otherwise the WiFi is fine for me, and I'll use my iPhone when away from WiFi.
 
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justinfreid

macrumors 6502
Nov 24, 2009
495
13
NEW Jersey / USA
I hope ATT is on board with shared data plans, and it seems fair considering how shared minutes work.
I think it'd also make it feasible for those who don't use a lot of cellular data and who'd thusly stuck with an iPod Touch, to move to iPhones if someone on their cell plan already has a data. ATT could benefit through an overall increase in contracted subscribers.
If ATT, for instance, would allow iPads to share in the 3G data pool, though, I think Apple would be the big beneficiary. Luckily for consumers, competition between ATT and Verizon might push them into doing so.
 
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soco

Contributor
Dec 14, 2009
2,839
119
Yardley, PA
Oh God, this is even worse.

Now little Cindy is gonna eat up daddy's data before he knows it. It's the shared minute/text messages family fight all over again.
 
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tasset

macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2007
570
193
Oh God, this is even worse.

Now little Cindy is gonna eat up daddy's data before he knows it. It's the shared minute/text messages family fight all over again.

It could potentially be this way, if AT&T/Verizon's idea for shared plans are made to penalize you for pooling. Such as 3gb for $50 a month. Something to disincentivize you from a per-line data plan.

I think though with good restrictions/parental controls in iOS you can set Youtube and hopefully soon other video apps to only work over wifi.
 
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soco

Contributor
Dec 14, 2009
2,839
119
Yardley, PA
It could potentially be this way, if AT&T/Verizon's idea for shared plans are made to penalize you for pooling. Such as 3gb for $50 a month. Something to disincentivize you from a per-line data plan.

I think though with good restrictions/parental controls in iOS you can set Youtube and hopefully soon other video apps to only work over wifi.

Great point! I totally forgot about parental controls. Now hopefully the little tikes won't think of restoring the phone to factory just to get another look at Rebecca Black on YouTube.
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
Sounds good—and in that case, mobile hotspot service better get very cheap too! (Why pay your cell company more for a second device just because it does NOT have a cell radio? You’re pulling the same data from the same pool either way.)

I’d rather use my iPhone (or even a pocket base station) as a hotspot for a regular WiFi laptop and/or iPad, than pay extra to have 3G or 4G hardware in every device. In which case it should still all just be part of my shared data plan.
 
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nateo200

macrumors 68030
Feb 4, 2009
2,857
6
Northern District NY
I'm already dreaming of rollover megabytes... :rolleyes:
Wouldn't that be something! :cool::D

It could potentially be this way, if AT&T/Verizon's idea for shared plans are made to penalize you for pooling. Such as 3gb for $50 a month. Something to disincentivize you from a per-line data plan.

I think though with good restrictions/parental controls in iOS you can set Youtube and hopefully soon other video apps to only work over wifi.

I like that idea! Not sure how much some of my younger friends would enjoy that but its an excellent concept. Side note I'm still hoping I can play HQ YouTube over cellular like Android...haha.
 
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tasset

macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2007
570
193
Wouldn't that be something! :cool::D



I like that idea! Not sure how much some of my younger friends would enjoy that but its an excellent concept. Side note I'm still hoping I can play HQ YouTube over cellular like Android...haha.

You better believe it! I have an 8yr old and 9yr old at home, already hooked on my iPad. When they get to be teenagers and if I so choose to throw them an old school 3GS or something, I'll lock it down like a Nazi. No 3G data for you!
 
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locust76

macrumors 6502a
Jan 23, 2009
678
75
Oh God, this is even worse.

Now little Cindy is gonna eat up daddy's data before he knows it. It's the shared minute/text messages family fight all over again.

No, actually it wouldn't work that way at all. I can't believe they don't have shared SIMs in the States yet.

It works like this: you have one contract (talk time minutes/data pool) identified by it's phone number. You can share this one contract and phone number with one or two other devices. These devices might also be phones. If someone calls your number, all devices with SIMs linked to the same contract ring simultaneously. You can place calls from any device simultaneously, but they are all, in essence, the same phone. (think having multiple phones connected to the same line at home).

Little Cindy has her own phone number and therefore her own "contract" (minut/data pool). If Daddy buys a tablet, he can get a SIM card for the tab that is linked to the data and minutes pool used by his phone, therefore what he uses on his tab is deducted as if he we using his phone, with no additional monthly fee, without affecting other contracts (phone numbers/pools) that he has with the provider.
 
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goobot

macrumors 603
Jun 26, 2009
5,987
3,075
long island NY
I would love if for 10$ a month my ipad can join my iphone in unlimited data. Of course that isnt gana happen tho.
 
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baryon

macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
3,623
2,032
This is inevitable. No sane person will have a separate contract for 2-3 devices. Pay for a single service, and use it however you like.

The electric company doesn't charge me separately for using the washing machine or the lights either.
 
Comment

spazzcat

macrumors 68030
Jun 29, 2007
2,828
1,691
I use 1.5 to 2G on month on just my iPhone, I use way more on my iPad...
 
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adambadamh

macrumors member
Apr 1, 2011
91
52
In the US the standard, I believe still is $10/month to "add a line" and get another family member to share in with all the minutes. If I was being charged $10/month for adding a device I don't think I would do it. Right now I can easily turn data on my iPad on and off as I choose and it is usually off. I think the sweet spot would have to be <$5/device/month. I can understand that there is some marginal cost for having a device "live" on the network though I don't think it is $10/month.
 
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Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,888
31
Northern Virginia
I'm already dreaming of rollover megabytes... :rolleyes:

Like your thought there - even if there were BIG caps on the rollover data. Never really approached 2GB in normal usage of my iPhone since day one. Now with my iPhone 4 and iPad2 with tethering, I got to about 1.5GB for the month so far. And that was due in part to a weekend vacation trip with my partner.
 
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ZGXtreme

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2008
194
34
No, actually it wouldn't work that way at all. I can't believe they don't have shared SIMs in the States yet.

It works like this: you have one contract (talk time minutes/data pool) identified by it's phone number. You can share this one contract and phone number with one or two other devices. These devices might also be phones. If someone calls your number, all devices with SIMs linked to the same contract ring simultaneously. You can place calls from any device simultaneously, but they are all, in essence, the same phone. (think having multiple phones connected to the same line at home).

Little Cindy has her own phone number and therefore her own "contract" (minut/data pool). If Daddy buys a tablet, he can get a SIM card for the tab that is linked to the data and minutes pool used by his phone, therefore what he uses on his tab is deducted as if he we using his phone, with no additional monthly fee, without affecting other contracts (phone numbers/pools) that he has with the provider.

I have always wondered why this was not possible (well more, not an option). Say it's limited to three devices, it'd be perfect for me having a personal day to day phone (slim, comfortable case), a work only phone (Otterbox), and my iPad. Sure I could switch cases but I would prefer not with the Otterbox and more so it'd allow me to have my single number at work, but on a phone which contains only work related material as I'd hate for my personal stuff to come out in court should a defense attorney subpoena my phone if a take a crime scene photo with the phone.

That said I won't get my hopes up. Sure it could be implemented in a manner that caused us all to sigh in relief that we finally weren't getting screwed. That happening... riiiiiiight.
 
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peskaa

macrumors 68020
Mar 13, 2008
2,104
5
London, UK
I like the concept of this, though in the UK there's a slight flaw.

My iPhone is on o2, so I get Visual Voicemail. That's one contract. My iPad is on Orange/Everything Everywhere, as they have better 3G signal. However, if I move my iPhone on to the same plan, I'll lose Visual Voicemail as Orange/EE don't support it. Bah.

Ideally I'd like to move everything to Orange, and for them to support VM. Not going to happen though.

In addition, that £65 a month is really high. I spend £35 + £15 on my two contracts, with the £35 being unlimited and the £15 being 3GB.
 
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iStudentUK

macrumors 65816
Mar 8, 2009
1,439
4
London
Nice idea. I saw an advert in the paper for this Orange deal the other day. It seems they are charging a premium. Much cheaper ways, but nice idea.
 
Comment

odedia

macrumors 65816
Nov 24, 2005
1,023
135
I really don't see the point in this. In my country, you get tethering for "free". I find it funny that anyone would actually charge for tethering of a LIMITED data plan. If I paid for 2GB, I can use 2GB.

I have a 2GB data plan on my iPhone 3GS. It is connected to both my macbook pro and an iPad 2 while on the road via bluetooth tethering. It works just great, and I get to save some bucks on a 3G iPad that I really don't need.
 
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Habakuk

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2007
967
40
Vienna Austria Europe
Felix Austria

Thanks to 'Orange Austria' (mentioned in MR article) and their comparatively low-priced plans we have the highest iPhone density of the world in this small country (surpassed only by rich Switzerland). I have a contract with them since my iPhone 3G. But let's be honest: Their UMTS coverage is not the best, even here in capital Vienna, let alone in the provence.

In a metro train or other crowds you can see approx. one iPhone among ten people (guessed), mostly iPhone 4. We had for a long time two official iPhone carriers (along with T-Mobile since years) and since half a year or so four of them (along with A1 and 3 'Drei'). So we have probably even the highest "iPhone official carrier density" in the world.

'Orange Austria' even made the internet tethering (personal hotspot) feature free some weeks ago (was €2.0EUR/month before, my blog coverage on that topic in German-language with some screenshots).

So I am glad to have another carrier ('Telering' prepaid for the time being with much better UMTS coverage) for my iPad 2 3G and would wish the iPad could share internet as well.
 
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