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Verizon Wireless’s “Share Everything” data plans became available nationwide Thursday – marking a major shift in how consumers pay for wireless services.

The new plans include unlimited phone and text message use, plus a “bucket” of data that can be shared across up to 10 Verizon Wireless devices. A $50 monthly plan gets you one gigabyte to be shared. Prices go up from there depending on data use:

    • $60 a month, 2GB
    • $70, 4GB
    • $80, 6GB
    • $90, 8GB
    • $100, 10GB

There is also a low-end $40 plan offering 300 megabytes of data.

Steve Mesnick, Marketing Director for Verizon Wireless, told WHNT News 19 the new plans offer increased flexibility. “You can now use [your data] however you you choose. You can turn on the mobile hotspot functionality [on your device] and for no additional charge you can share that data with even wi-fi enabled devices that you have,” Mesnick explained.

The share plans will likely bring savings for those who sign up as part of a family or group. For singles using a lot of data though, the switch may increase expenses. That’s in part because of a fee structure for the new plans requiring an access charge for each device used – $40 per smartphone; $30 a phone; $20 for a hot spot, USB modem, notebook, or netbook; and $10 for a tablet.

Mesnick noted data-share plan users will also get several reminders to avoid overage charges, “As they’re using the data, we send free usage alerts to everyone on the account.”

Existing Verizon Wireless customers will not be forced to use the new Share Everything plans unless they upgrade to a new mobile device at a discounted price.

“If a customer says I really want to keep unlimited,” Mesnick said, “They have the option to either pay full retail price for a device or they can bring in their own device, a certified device from Verizon Wireless, and keep utilizing their unlimited data plan.”

You can review the full details of Verizon’s Share Everything plan here. The company also has a handy calculator to help you estimate what shared plan is best for you.

You can also follow WHNT News 19 Anchor and Technology Correspondent Michelle Stark on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.