DENVER (CBS4) Big changes for the nation’s largest cell phone provider. Verizon Wireless announced Tuesday new data plans for both new and longtime customers. The new plans go into effect on June 28th, but the cellphone company won’t switch users over to the new data plans unless you ask.

The Share Everything plan comes with unlimited minutes, and unlimited messages. Customers pay a monthly line access per device and a fee based on the amount of data they use. The data plans can be shared over 10 devices.

RELATED: Verizon Wireless Unveils New Share Everything Plans

New customers will have no option but to sign up for one of the new data plans. Longtime customers can keep their old plan, even if they trade up to a new phone after the 28th and extend their contract. If a customer currently has an unlimited plan they can keep it but Verizon will no longer let them move that plan to a new phone after June 28th, unless they pay the full price for a new smartphone. That could cost hundreds of dollars.

“A couple of years ago, all the carriers had unlimited plans, and everybody could buy a smart phone and not have to worry about data caps. Now that situation has entirely flipped,” said Carl Howe, a  mobile phone expert.

Howe says that part of the issue for cellphone companies is that most people who want a smart phone already have one. So carriers have to find new ways to make money.

“So if a company like Verizon or AT&T wants to grow, there are two ways they can do it. They can steal customers from another carrier, or they can raise prices,” Howe explained.

A Consumer Reports analysis found many customers are actually paying for more data than they actually need. If you’re just browsing the web or reading e-mail, you likely won’t pay more with a new data plan. If you stream a lot of video, you might see an increase in your bill. Right now Sprint is the only carrier still offering unlimited data to all its customers.

“Sprint has said they are wondering how long they can keep up unlimited,” Howe said.

Family plan customers will likely see the biggest savings on their monthly bills under these shared data plans. Individuals can find a lot of value in them as they allow usage on up to ten devices under one plan.

While Verizon is the first to announce shared data plans, AT&T is soon to follow.
RELATED: More Reports By 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks

– Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith


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