I hate it when a company I want to do business with makes me feel stupid–or treats me like I am stupid. Cell phone companies excel at giving me this feeling.
Note that I generally love Verizon. They have great customer service that is friendly and helpful. They have a voice network that works, unlike my AT&T experiences. Their data network is a bit sucky, but they are miles ahead of AT&T in the LTE category and that is important.
Verizon just announced their “Share Everything” plan that allows you to pool your minutes, text messages, and data with up to 10 devices. Oh, wait, no, you must buy unlimited voice and unlimited text messaging for each device so really the only thing you are sharing is your data plan. And, sharing your data plan is a bit silly to start with because it is priced based upon usage, so what really do you gain by sharing? The whole “Share Everything” plan is just weird and complicated.
Let me start by telling you what plan I would have designed for Verizon: We’ll call it “Fairly Good” because it is fair and a good deal:
- $10 monthly for every device you connect
- 10-cents per minute for voice.
- 10-cents per text message.
- $10 per gigabyte when purchased and committed in advance.
- $10 if you run over your gigabyte commitment, but still just $10 per gigabyte.
- $30 per device if you want flat-rate unlimited voice and text messaging.
Now, that is a plan everybody could understand. And, it is remarkably similar to their “Share Everything” plan.
Here is how Verizon muddles this up into a morass of complexity:
$40 a month per phone, except it is $30 if the phone isn’t a smartphone. Data devices are $10 a month unless they plug into a USB port or are a clamshell design in which case they are $20 a month. Data is $20 per gigabyte except that it is $5 a gigabyte when you buy more than two, except that it is $15 a gigabyte if you run over, plus there is a $40 monthly charge per account.
Did you get that? I sure didn’t. The new Verizon plan is hideously complicated, and it’s not even that good of a deal!
Today I pay $109 a month:
iPad: $20 (1 GB)
iPhone: $89 (2 GB + 900 minutes)
Under the new “Share Everything” plan I will pay $110
Data: $20 (2 GB)
Account charge: $40
But I get 1 GB less under the new plan than the old plan. Say what? Am I stupid? OK, yes, I get unlimited voice, but I only use 600 minutes. (Most people use about 600 minutes, which is why the plans are rigged to offer 450 or 900 minutes, by the way.)
So I am here trying to decide whether cellular companies are run by stupid people, or whether they think customers are stupid, or if they have some sadistic delight in giving their customers headaches.
I’ll put forth that my “Fairly Good” plan is simple, honest, and would bring in more money for the cell phone companies.
I still can’t get over the name “Share Everything” when nothing is really shared at all.
Well, I’m going back to Asia now. My monthly service is $15 and includes 2GB of data and unlimited incoming calls. Outgoing minutes cost just 3-cents each. Sheesh.