Smartphones have become so popular that now many families now have multiple smartphones and tablets. To accommodate these families, Verizon and AT&T have announced new cellular service plans that can be used by a family or small business who has multiple cellular devices. This is a nice deviation from the old pay for minutes and pay for texting plans.

Since Sandy and I are currently a Verizon customer, I'll give you the lowdown on their new Share Everything Plan. If you are an AT&T subscriber, you will find their share plan very similar.

Verizon's Share Everything Plan will allow you to use one account to connect up to ten devices. The plan gives you unlimited talk and unlimited texting on all devices. The basic cost is determined by the devices. For instance, a basic phone is $30 a month. A Smartphone is $40. A tablet is $10 a month. For unlimited calls and texts, that actually sounds pretty good.  The caveat here is that you share one data plan between all of your devices. 1GB of shared date is $50 month. 2GB is $60. 4GB is $70 a month.   6GB is $80….on up to 10 GB for $100 a month.

If you talk and text a lot, but use a minimal amount of data, you come out ahead. No matter how much you text and talk, if you use a lot of data, Verizon comes out ahead. Obviously, the more devices you use that use data, the more data you will use.

Let’s look at an average scenario. If both you and your husband have a smart phone and you share a tablet with cell access, you will pay $80 a month for the smartphones and $10 for the tablet.  If each of your devices use 2GB a month (and that is the average usage), you will have to add $80 a month for the data plan…coming to a grand total of $170 a month.

Some of you, especially those who are having trouble deciding if they need a smartphone, might think that this is quite expensive. Others will find it cheaper than they are now paying.

Under our current Verizon plan, we get 1400 minutes of talk for my entire family. I pay $30 a month for data on each of my smartphones and I pay an extra fee for texting.  When I compared my current costs with those of the Share Everything Plan, the totals were very similar. While the unlimited minutes and texting was enticing, right now my phone is grandfathered in under an old plan that gives me unlimited data. This is something we did not want to give up.

Verizon will allow anyone to move from their old plan to the new Share Everything Plan with no extension of contract or financial penalty. However, if we moved over to the new plan, we would lose my unlimited data plan. Verizon says that I can keep that plan as long as I keep my phone. If I upgrade to a new phone, I will lose that status unless I pay full price for the new phone. So for the time being, at least, we will stay with the plan we have.

If you are a Verizon subscriber, however, you will have to compare the plans and make an assessment for yourself. If you already have a smartphone, you can use Verizon’s online analysis to determine exactly how much data you have used in the past. Remember though, that if you start listening to more online music or watching more online videos through your cellular connection, your data usage will increase quite a bit.

AT&T has also announced their own share plan. This is similar to Verizon’s, with only minor differences. If you have more than one member of the family using a smartphone, you may want to check out these plans.