Verizon Wireless will be expanding its shared data options starting tomorrow with a new 250MB option for smartphone and basic phone customers. The new option will cost $20 per month and can be paired with the $40 per month smartphone access fee or $30 per month basic phone plan, which both offer unlimited talk and text services. Prior to this, the lowest data option that Verizon customers could choose was 500MB for $40 per month. The carrier says that the new option will be available for a limited time, but did not indicate when it would no longer be available.

Verizon is selling this new tier as a way to get a smartphone onto its network for as little as $60 per month, but 250MB of data is enough for only the lightest of smartphone users. Most customers will still be better off choosing one of the larger data buckets, lest they go over the limit and get charged Verizon's overage fees of $15 for each 200MB over. The carrier says that the average smartphone user on its network consumes between 1 and 2GB of data per month.

AT&T offers a similar option to its customers, but its lowest data option offers 300MB per month for the same $20 that Verizon charges for 250MB. Either way, neither option is suitable for the amount of data most users consume on their smartphones each month, so we'd suggest budgeting for one of the higher data tier options when shopping for your next smartphone plan.