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New Verizon Wireless data plans will be more costly to business, researcher says

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With Verizon Wireless rolling out revamped phone plans to encourage consumers to connect multiple mobile devices to the company's data network, residential and commercial users alike will pay a higher price over time for service, a telecom industry analyst said.

Verizon's new "Share Everything" plans — which will launch for consumers and small businesses with less than 10 employees on June 28 — include unlimited phone calls and messaging, with data allowances for one smartphone starting at $50 a month for one gigabyte, a company spokesman said. Under the plan, subscribers will be able to share their data allowance on up to 10 devices, including tablets and computers.

Plans like this one provide incentives for more personal and business users to get tablets on Verizon's networks, and the companies "want to get as much data traffic and charges for it as they can," said Fran Caulfield, research director at Mountain Lakes-based Insight Research Corp. "Today, it's smartphones and tablets using their data, but tomorrow it could be your car and your home — and that generates more revenues for them with more people using more data."

Though Verizon Wireless — based in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards — has not yet disclosed the structure and pricing of plans for larger businesses, Caulfield said, in effect, the company will have to offer the same kinds of restrictions in shared-usage data plans to everyone.

According to Verizon Wireless spokesman Howard Waterman, the majority of the company's customers use less than 2 gigabytes of data per month. However, Caulfield said, incentivizing the use of non-phone devices through shared-data plans will lead to the need for a greater data allowance, which will generate higher pricing and revenue for the providers.

"Even people grandfathered into unlimited data from earlier plans eventually have to move off of them, due to upgrades to the networks and the movement to the latest data-driven devices," Caulfield said. "Shared-data plans will eventually force them into limited plans."

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