Verizon Wireless jumped into a growing price war with other national carriers on Thursday by announcing a "More Everything" plan that doubles the data allowance for some customers, including small businesses.
The plan adds unlimited international text, video and picture messaging to its unlimited domestic plans. In addition, each wireless line on the plan can use up to 25GB of Verizon's cloud storage for free, down from $3 a month. Customers who choose More Everything with Verizon's Edge service (designed for customers paying for a device on a monthly basis) are also eligible for smartphone access discounts of $10 per month for up to 8 GB.
The increased data allowance will cost $50 for 2GB, up from 1GB of data per month; $40 for 1GB, up from 500 MB; and $60 for 3GB, up from 2GB. Verizon also added two new data tiers at $15 for 250MB and $30 for 500MB.
Customers on Share Everything plans are automatically moved to More Everything. The plan is available to all new customers, including small business customers with up to 25 lines.
Verizon is the nation's largest wireless carrier and was the first national carrier to offer shared data plans in 2012, but competitors quickly jumped into the market with their own shared plans. Even so, Verizon fell behind in a recent flurry of price reductions, including AT&T's announcement Feb. 2 to drop shared data-plan pricing for families and small businesses. AT&T is the nation's second-largest carrier.
T-Mobile US, the nation's fourth-largest carrier, has arguably been the most aggressive with price reductions, saying in January that it would pay up to $650 in early termination fees for customers switching from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon.
Price reductions at Verizon and AT&T are perceived as a way to prevent customers from leaving the largest carriers, but price alone is not necessarily the most important reason that customers pick one carrier over another. Instead, a carrier's wireless network coverage is generally the most important factor in why people choose a mobile provider, followed by price, according to analysts. A Computerworld survey of 820 wireless users in 2013 bolstered the perception that coverage trumps price.
Verizon argues that its 4G LTE network is unmatched in coverage and capacity. AT&T and T-Mobile have traded barbs lately over which has the fastest LTE service, although speeds certainly vary by market, terrain and the number of users on the network.
Many customers, however, look at price in choosing a carrier. It's difficult to compare the various family and small business plans offered by the large carriers, but in one example, the More Everything plan with Edge and 10GB per month would cost one user $120 a month, not including other costs for devices and fees. A comparable Next plan (paying for a device each month) from AT&T with 10GB of data would cost $115.
T-Mobile doesn't have a tiered data plan and takes a different approach by offering cheaper plans that slow down the data rate after a certain amount of data is used. T-Mobile's unlimited option for a single user costs $70 a month, not including device costs.
Sprint offers a single user unlimited data for $75 a month.