With the growth in popularity of tablets, smartphone users have been asking to allow multiple devices to share a single data plan. AT&T and Verizon have responded with shared data plans, but which has the better option?
They have much in common. Each includes unlimited voice and texts, as well as allowing subscribers to use hotspot software. The monthly cost depends on how many devices are part of the plan, and how much data is being shared between them.
One of the main differences between these two is that AT&T's Mobile Share plan is optional -- this carrier is still offering its service plans designed for single devices. Verizon's Share Everything plan, on the other hand, is the only option, as all this company's other consumer-oriented plans are no longer available for new subscribers.
Perhaps the best way to compare these two is to lay out a number of typical scenarios and compare the prices.
Starting with a minimalistic setup, an AT&T subscriber who has a smartphone and a tablet and wants a data pool of just 1GB would pay $95. A Verizon customer who wants this would be out of luck, as this carrier doesn't offer this particular option.
A shared data plan used by an individual that includes a smartphone and a tablet with 4GB of data transfers would cost $120 a month from either AT&T and Verizon. In short, a tie.
A couple that each has a smartphone and shares a tablet and 6GB of data would pay $160 from AT&T or Verizon -- another tie. Adding a tablet to the mix would add $10 on either carrier.
A family with AT&T that uses four smartphones sharing 10GB would pay $240 a month. The same setup with Verizon would be a bit more: $260.
Advantage AT&T... Slightly
For some of the most typical scenarios, AT&T's Mobile Share plans costs the same as Verizon's Share Everything plans. But that's not always true -- AT&T offers a plan with just 1GB of data, while Verizon does not, and AT&T subscribers with lots of smartphones who want lots of data will pay less.
Verizon's shared data plan launched back in June, and AT&T's just became available today.
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