I'll eventually have more to say about Verizon Wireless' new "Share Everything" pricing plans, which represent a major overhaul of the pricing hodgepodge that emerged during the wireless industry's adolescence and that often didn't seem to make sense. One key question is whether other carriers will follow suit.
But at a glance it seems clear that Verizon is pursuing two strategies that too often seem absent in wireless pricing: transparency and rationality.
For instance, Verizon and its competitors have been simultaneously offering unlimited-data plans or per-gigabyte metered pricing while also charging 10 or 20 cents for text messages that amount to minuscule data transmissions. Lately, three of the four national carriers have dropped unlimited-data plans for new customers and have used data-speed throttling to encourage existing customers to give up their unlimited plans in favor of new, metered plans.
Verizon is now laying more of its cards on the table. It's telling customers they have to pay for data while offering them some new, more attractive options, such as the ability to use a smartphone as a hotspot for a tablet without paying some irrational premium for the data they transmit or receive.
Here's how Verizon describes the changes:
There's a good argument to be had over how much Verizon plans to charge for data under its new structure - perhaps other carriers will offer more attractive deals. For now, Sprint is making a name as the only carrier that still offers unlimited data on an iPhone.
But any step away from confusion and toward rationality seems like a step in the right direction.