The biggest U.S. mobile operator is hoping to entice customers to connect more gadgets like tablet computers to its network with the new plans as customers will be able avoid paying separate data subscriptions for each device.
The revamp, which Verizon Wireless has been considering for more than a year, is aimed at helping Verizon's top line as an increase in connected devices would mean more revenue. Some analysts expect rivals to begin offering similar plans.
Today most consumers do not choose tablets with cellular connections as they prefer to stick to more limited range Wi-Fi wireless networks rather than pay a second cellular data fee.
And while some consumers spend less time on the phone and send fewer text messages, they are rapidly increasing their data usage, according to service providers.
As a result, the biggest U.S. operators have been increasing their data prices even as they've lowered traditional phone call prices.
While Verizon's new offer involves a higher fee per gigabyte of data, Verizon hopes that the inclusion of unlimited voice and texting and the shared data element would help make the plans popular with consumers.
"What I'm doing is giving you the flexibility to share the data you've paid for," Chief Marketing Officer Tami Erwin told Reuters. "Customers who are using more than one device will very quickly see the value in this."
Today, for example, a customer might have to pay extra for going over their data usage allowance even though they may not have used their full allowance for their smartphone. With a shared plan this would not be an issue, Erwin said.
"This is really intended to drive growth. My expectation is it doesn't change our margins," she said.
Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner said he expects Verizon's biggest rival AT&T Inc to follow with a rival offering very shortly and that other rivals will eventually add shared data plans. AT&T has said recently that it would look at providing shared plans.
Under Verizon's new plans, available starting June 28, a smartphone customer would pay a monthly access fee of $40 that includes unlimited calls and texts, and a fee of $60 for two gigabytes of data, which could be shared with up to 10 devices.