Data sharing plans may change our buying habits for tablets

Data sharing plans may change our buying habits for tablets

Summary: I have long been a fan of tablets, and those with only Wi-Fi connectivity in particular. The recent introduction of data sharing plans has changed my mind about integrated 4G on tablets.

TOPICS: Mobility, AT&T, Verizon

Mobile broadband is expensive, especially when it comes with a long contract attached. That expensive contract led me to shun integrated mobile broadband on tablets in the past. That has changed now that data-sharing plans are available from AT&T and Verizon.

Having connectivity is a major requirement of my job, so I have been using MiFi-type hotspot devices since they first debuted in the 3G world. The hotspot let me connect any device I might be using at the time using standard Wi-Fi connectivity on any device.

The mobile hotspot required an expensive data contract, but at least it wasn't tied to any one device. That's significant because in my work I change gadgets like other people change socks. 

The expensive data contract is why most tablets I have bought in the past were of the Wi-Fi-only variety. If I needed to connect to the web and there was no hotspot handy, I would fire up the MiFi and connect with it. That worked well but requires me to remember to bring the MiFi in addition to the gadgets I am using at the time. More importantly it means I have to constantly remember to charge the MiFi so it's ready at a moment's notice.

That changed when Verizon launched the Share Everything plan. That plan lets me pay a nominal monthly fee for each device I use that has integrated Verizon 4G connectivity, and then let them all share a bucket of data. I use data heavily so I have a big 10GB bucket of data to use as I want.

This plan is a big reason behind my trading in my Wi-Fi iPad for a Verizon 4G model. For just $10/month I added it to my existing Share Everything plan and can tap into that 10GB of data. It's clean and easy, and I am so glad I made the change.

It has been such a pleasant experience that I regretted Google doesn't have a 4G-enabled version of the Nexus 7. At a price of just $200 for the Wi-Fi version, a model with 4G would still be cheap enough to make the purchase a no-brainer for me. 

With a 4G Nexus 7 in hand I could just add it to my existing Verizon plan for $10 and have instant access to the 10GB of data. Knowing how convenient that has been with my iPad, I would love to be able to take advantage of it with the Nexus 7.

Without integrated 4G, now when I carry the Nexus 7 I will be back to the practice of constantly looking for a hotspot everywhere I go. That or remembering to bring the mobile hotspot with me. That's not a big inconvenience but one I don't need in a busy workday.

The Share Everything plan is already changing my tablet purchase habits. As these plans become more commonplace (AT&T has one now) I suspect many customers will turn away from Wi-Fi-only tablets and look for integrated 4G to tap into the data pool they are already paying for.

Topics: Mobility, AT&T, Verizon

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  • Excvept the plans are way overpriced

    Share My Paycheck would cost us $30-50 more than we pay now for 2 iPhones and 1 dumbphone. So why would I switch to that? There are limited (very limited) cases where you would benefit from these shared plans and those are not the majority.

    I don't text (use maybe 5 messages a month), nor does the dumbphone (we have it blocked), the only one that does is my wife and she's on a limited plan. We never go near our minutes used and are on a low plan.

    So why would I want one of these plans to have more of something I don't use (or care about), spend more $$ and have less flexibility. I can turn on the Hotspot on my iPhone 4S immediately, get 2GB of data and turn it off at the end of the month. All for $20. Why would I want to continue to pay Verizon more $$ for less service. And, no 4G Is not the answer - I have a work provided MiFi that's 4G and yes it's fast but not that much faster for connecting 1-2 devices on regular Internet tasks.

    The share plans are a good idea but the providers need to get their heads out of their a$$es on pricing. When the voice family plans came along they were a good deal and usually cheaper, these are not and a huge step backwards.
    • So True

      And the FCC continues the mobile raping on consumers
  • I sort of agree

    While i think the share everything plan good. data plans are still expensive and a 10gb monthly bucket for some people is fine but when i had a 3g mifi my wife was hitting 10gb easy the only reason i did not get overages every month was because of me monitored her useage. Plus you have to pay 10 a month for each device. To rich for my blood but for the Mercedes driving ipad iphone carrying Armani wearing group i guess it is cheap.
  • Yes and No

    When I saw the Verizon ShareAnything plans, my first thought was like yours, "Gee, I wish I had gotten the cellular version of my tablet." As I thought about it, though, I have decided that I am glad I did not. Under ShareAnything, it is cheaper to use your phone as a hotspot, since that is now included free in the plan. Sure, it chews up the phone battery, too, but I would prefer to plug the phone in a little more often than pay more for the tablet plus the $10/month service. After all, do you want to pay Verizon $350 for a refurbished GalaxyTab (original 7") or $250 for the upgraded GalaxyTab 2 7.0?
  • 10G?! How much?

    Sure would like to know how muc the 10G is. I have a feeling you're paying alot more now.
  • How much are you paying James???

    Clear offers 4G data connectivity for up to 8 devices with their mobile hotspot for just $49.99/month, or under seven bucks per device. Oh yeah, and it's UNLIMITED - no overage fees or data caps! Compared to your advice in the article, I end up saving over $700/year... and I use 4G on a smartphone, netbook and a notebook!

    You are clearly insensitive to price as you would be getting a lot more by using a prepaid plan for voice.
  • google

    sucks so bad google needs to be shut for google their gmail sucks so not in this world will i use the gmail or google at all it is all crap