Verizon vs. AT&T: New Plans, EDGE vs. Next! FIGHT!! - Fox 2 News Headlines

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Verizon vs. AT&T: New Plans, EDGE vs. Next! FIGHT!!

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Valentine's Day festivities may heat up your weekend, but it's competition that has the mobile space on fire lately with some cost cutting for consumers. Forced to compete with T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T have added new value to their shared plans, along with benefits for switching from other carriers.


Verizon Has MORE?

Verizon has launched its MORE Everything plan, giving customers more options at better prices. Following T-Mobile's announcement at the end of 2013, Big Red now gives you unlimited international text messaging and free for the first three months ($5 afterward) you can add international long distance value plan to your MORE Everything plan. Downside, that free international messaging only applies to messages sent while you're in the U.S.  There are savings to be had though. Let's say you're a family of four with four smartphones. You really are going to get more now as Verizon has updated the amount of data you get for what you were previously paying. $40 previously got your an anemic 500mb and now gets you 1GB, $50 now gets you 2GB- a 1GB increase- and $60 sees 3GB now. You're looking at $40 a month per phone on the MORE Everything plan. If you want to add data, which is provided as a shared pool you're going to start at $15/mo for a measly 250MB which you can blow through in a couple song downloads easily. More realistic for most families is 1GB per line, which translates to 4GB for those four hypothetical phones at  starting at $70/mo. So, $40/mo per phone for four, add data and you're looking at $230 per month ($90/mo for 8GB). That's unlimited talk and text with 2GB per line. I will tell you that things are going to be tight at 1GB per phone so you will have to make sure that whenever you have access to wifi, use it. If you don't feel like monitoring every megabyte that travels in and out of yours and children's phone then you could up that pool of shared data. The data costs increase at the rate of $10 per gigabyte so doubling that 1GB per line (remember, 4 lines) to 2GB per line for a total of 8GB ups your monthly access fees to $250 per month. Just keep in mind that if you go cheap on the shared pool, data overage is $15 per 1GB of data if you go over your plan allowance. If you want to add a tablet to the mix, you can do so for $10 per month.

The savings really begin to add up when you go off-contract with Verizon's EDGE program. If you're a new customer and buy a new smartphone you're going to see a discount of up to $20 per device, per month on that access fee. So, if we take the example above, that family will save $10 per month, per device which is the savings allotted for those who choose 8GB or under of shared data. That means that monthly bill comes down to $190 per month for those four smartphones and 8GB of data. Do keep in mind that you will also be paying a monthly fee for the new phones. Right now you can pick up the Note 3 for $0 down, $29.31 per month, an LG G2 for $20.90 per month and a 32GB iPhone 5S for $31.47 per month.

For those already on Verizon who are used to paying a premium for their fairly ubiquitous coverage, these plans do present a good savings. Just keep in mind that if you want to take advantage of the EDGE discount, you're going to want to factor in the cost of that new phone's monthly equipment payment along with your monthly access fees for your total monthly cost. It may be well worth it though if you're an early adopter as the EDGE plan allows you to upgrade your phone after 6 months, with at least 50% of your phone's price paid off. You just trade it in and select a new device.


AT&T EDGES Out Verizon With Next

AT&T will actually save you more dough than Verizon if we use that same four line example. $40 less with their new Mobile Share Value Plan pricing but there's a catch! You have to be on their AT&T Next program (similar to Verizon's EDGE) in order to see that savings. Otherwise, you're still paying $40 per device and you're going to pay $90/mo for 8GB of shared data, bringing your monthly access fees to $250. AT&T Next inclusion brings the per device monthly fees down to $15/mo which brings your access to $60 a month for the devices, before data. Throw the data in and you're paying $150 per month. Kind of.

You still have to include the monthly cost of having to purchase those new phones on the Next plan. Using the same phones from the Verizon example, AT&T currently has the Note 3 for $36.25, the LG G2 for $23.25 and a 32GB iPhone 5s for $37.50 per month. Also keep in mind that for either carrier you're going to be paying tax on the full price of those phones at the time of purchase.


It All Adds Up!

Now, I've said in multiple places throughout the article that you need to keep in mind the equipment fees. Just for kicks, I loaded up my cart on AT&T's website with 4 32GB iPhone 5S's using the plan parameters I outlined above. With phone insurance and monthly equipment fees, I'd be paying $367.96 per month which doesn't include all those taxes carriers add on at the end of the month. Ultimately, money isn't the only determining factor here as what is most important is the quality of service you get at your residence and at work. The best deal isn't the best deal if you get no signal!

Tshaka Armstrong Tech Ninja Tshaka Armstong writes about the latest technology and helping FOX 11 Viewers understand how to be safer, smarter users of the internet and their "gadgets. He's also one of our social media guys, helping guide the station's online efforts and social media outreach.
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