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Verizon Shared Data Plans Coming Soon?

Back in December 2011, Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam said that 2012 will likely bring a shared data plan to Verizon Wireless so that customers with multiple lines won't have to juggle multiple data packages. Like shared minutes, a shared data plan would provide a bulk amount of data per month for one set fee for family members to share.

"I think in 2012 we will see it," McAdam said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. "We have been working on this for a couple of years. Getting to one bill and getting to account-level pricing is our goal."

The news arrived after Verizon killed the unlimited data plans for new customers. Those who previously signed up with Verizon prior to the data plan change are able to keep their existing unlimited streams of audio, video and app downloads. However those signing up with Verizon after the new plans came into effect must pay $30 for 2 GB a month, $50 for 5 GB, and $80 for 10 GB -- overage costs $10 per 1 GB.

However on Monday a screenshot supplied to Engadget from an anonymous source indicates that the family data plan may arrive sooner than expected. According to the source, training material for an update to Verizon's internal account management application includes several screenshots, one of which shows the general Account Level Plan at the top, and the account's subscribed devices broken down per line in the lower Line Level Plan section (as seen below).

It's here where speculation begins to fly, as the bottom portion now sports a check-box labeled "All Lines on Data Share." By clicking this, it's assumed that all lines listed will share the same data package. Other reports claim that each line will be hit with a $9.99 data charge as the screen depicts, but that just doesn't make sense or follows McAdam's one-plan-one-charge promise. Normally family plans charge a built-in monthly fee for a bulk number minutes for all lines to share, and any overages are applied to the overall account, not a specific line.

So far monthly pricing and data allowance are unknown as well as an actual launch, so stay tuned. Verizon did not respond to an inquiry.