Verizon Communications (VZ) is tweaking its unlimited data plans, offering a slightly lower-priced deal that slows down video streaming as well as a higher-priced version that preserves higher quality video. Verizon indicated then that "we deliver whatever the content provider gives us". "We don't manipulate the data", Verizon told Ars in February. Customers that are now signed up for a plan can keep it, but even for them some conditions will change.
The new Beyond Unlimited is $85/month with paper-free billing and AutoPay for a single line.
Verizon's cheaper unlimited plan costs more than T-Mobile's $70 plan with DVD-level video streaming.
Existing customers can keep their current plan, and you'll also get 15GB of full-speed LTE hotspot usage (up from 10GB) - but that still won't protect you from video throttling.
Beyond Unlimited: $85/month. Video capped to 720p on smartphones, 1080p on tablets. VZ, has restructured and modernized its unlimited wireless data plans, so as to reach out to customers' more diversified needs. Mobile hotspot speeds are capped at 600 kbps.
The three plans start at $75 with the "Go Unlimited" plan.
Verizon released an easy-to-undersand unlimited data plan earlier this year, but get ready to be confused.
Again, the addition of a cheaper plan also indicates the company's attempt to strengthen its base in the competitive and saturated wireless space, by luring more subscribers from its rival carriers. At the moment, few phones feature displays that could stream at a 4K resolution, which would require higher-end download speeds. Instead, it will set a bandwidth limit that video applications will have to adjust to.
We'll come back to the plans and Verizon's need for a new dictionary in a moment, but first, let's talk about why Verizon had to make these changes in the first place. It means that for smartphone users on an unlimited plan, the video quality will be 420p. "Unlimited" hotspot performance is now throttled to 600Kbps (75KB/s or 0.07MB/s). The plan gives you up to 15GB of LTE speeds when using mobile hotspot.
But they're more than just names and prices. Previously, customers could only get up to 10 lines of unlimited data on Verizon. This may actually lose them some of the goodwill that they received due to the better than average unlimited plan.
The video quality changes are apparently aimed at reducing or preventing congestion in Verizon's network. Announced as part of some tweaks to their plan pricing, Verizon will now limit videos to 480p, 720p or in some cases 1080p resolutions depending on the device being used, with no option for consumers to upgrade or pay for access to higher quality video.