Brace yourself, parents: You may have to share your monthly wireless data allotment with your Netflix-loving kid.
In a bid to sell and connect more devices to their wireless networks — and generate more money per subscriber — major carriers are preparing to introduce “data share” plans that will likely require more coordination among family members.
In such plans, customers will pay for a fixed bucket of monthly data and share it among family members. If you live alone, the data in the bucket can be shared among various devices capable of receiving over-the-air signals, such as tablets, smartphones, security monitors in the car and other connected devices. For example, a customer can choose a plan with 5 gigabytes for two devices, instead of 3 GB for one.
A typical current wireless family plan allows you to share voice minutes, but any data allotment has to be assigned to individual devices.
The changes come as the industry is trying to improve profit margins even as companies invest heavily to build out the next new generation of fast wireless networks, called 4G LTE. As consumers’ appetite for data grows unabated, the carriers are tinkering with their data plans to maximize revenues and also to bring in new waves of users who still are using call- and text-only phones.
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