Yesterday, I spent my morning stuck in a Verizon store — not trying to order the new iPhone 5 — but rather trying to achieve one simple task: Swapping out the old SIM cards on my two iPad 2(s) and not getting very far, even though I had already done my web research and wasted an hour on the phone with Verizon customer support telling me the only way to add the iPads to my new “Share Everything Plan” was to replace the SIM cards because a “pre-pay” SIM card is hardcoded in the Verizon system as a standalone device and the only way to add an iPad to a shared data plan is to replace the pre-pay SIM card with a “post-pay” SIM card.
Not so fast!
I spent 30 minutes trying to convince the customer service agent in my local Verizon store that all I needed was a new SIM card for both iPads and I’d be on my way. She refused to believe she couldn’t force the system to use the existing SIM cards. Long story short: I was right, she was wrong, and I wasted my morning standing there watching a frustrated woman lose the day for me.
I love Verizon compared to AT&T, but one thing I will say in favor of AT&T: They will swap out a SIM card for you on a whim and a giggle as the first line of troubleshooting without hassling you. They’ll try to charge you $5.00USD for a new SIM card, but point out to them that the only way to get your device on their network working was to swap out the SIM, and they’ll credit your account for the $5.00USD charge. Verizon, for some reason, believes their SIM cards are too precious to swap, and they will spend a dying day trying to force a pre-paid SIM card into a unreceptive post-paid hole. (That’s what she said!)
The woman finally gave in and decided she had to swap in new SIM cards and, as I knew, new SIM cards in both iPads had each of them up and running on the Verizon LTE system in less than five minutes. Believe this: A New SIM Card Heals All Ills. Use it as your first line of troubleshooting defense.
Here’s a useful technical note: The ICCID found in SETTINGS | GENERAL | ABOUT on your iOS device is the number of your SIM card. If you need that SIM card ID, look there — don’t pop out your physical SIM card just to try to read a tiny grey number printed on a white SIM card background.
I needed to swap the SIM cards in my iPads because I wanted to add those two devices to my new “Share Everything” plan on Verizon. I made the Share Everything switch early in anticipation of getting two iPhone 5(s) when the budget allows.
I like the online Verizon Wireless account interface. You have a lot of control over your service. You can switch plans and even seamlessly change your phone number for free to any area code they have in stock. I decided to switch to the Share Everything plan because we were getting killed every month having two iPhone 4S(s) and two LTE iPads with Verizon.
Our iPhones were tricked out with unlimited text and hotspot on each phone — a $50.00USD features fee for both phones, plus we were playing $30.00USD a month for 2 gigs of LTE service for each iPad. We were on the cheapest family plan for voice for the iPhones. All tolled, our skin was in for $300.00USD per month in voice, data, hotspot, text and service fees to Verizon for all four Apple iDevices. Umm? Ouch!
The Share Everything plan, while not for everyone, is actually perfection for us. We don’t use tons of voice minutes, but we do text a lot. Share Everything gives us unlimited text and voice, and now I can finally start using my iPhone as a real phone and as a first world problem replacement for my landlubber Comcast landline.
On the Share Everything plan, we had to purchase a pool of shared data between our devices — up to 10 devices — and while Verizon recommends 2 gigs per device, our data patterns are actually quite small because we don’t really do much data except for web surfing and email, so we’re currently sharing a 4 gig pool of data. We try to offload our iPads and iPhones on WiFi at home and out in the wilds as often as possible.
Smartphones, like the iPhone, cost us $40.00USD per device on the Share Everything plan and tablets are only $10.00USD per month — plus a $35.00USD “activation fee” for each tablet you add to the plan, but we were able to get that ridiculous fee waived. A 4 gig shared data pool between all four devices is $70.00 per month so our total monthly nut to Verizon falls from $300.00USD to a measly $170.00USD per month for the same devices, and unlimited voice and text and the cool “Hotspot” feature. Beauty, eh?
I realize the new Share Everything plan may not work for you as a current Verizon customer — but if you become a new Verizon smartphone customer, you will have to be on that plan — for existing customers, you may use the Share Everything Calculator to give you a better notion if you’d benefit switching to that plan from the one you’re using. For us, the move up to Verizon Share Everything was quite mindful and never mindless and we are grateful for the chance to change to a better plan.