Taking the industry by surprise, Verizon announced an unlimited data plan back in February. But this week the carrier announced it will be splitting the original plan into three different new options: Go Unlimited ($75 for the first line), Beyond Unlimited ($85 for the first line) and Business Unlimited (prices vary).
Big Red says that “these plans give you the best-unlimited choices, but you also get what only Verizon can give you: the best network, the best rewards program, the best way to manage your plan with the My Verizon app and the best selection of phones and device,” which sounds great – but only on paper.
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The reality is that despite advertising them as the best-unlimited choices, Verizon will be limiting video streaming to only 480p (the current plan offers 720p by default) on its Go Unlimited plan, which is the most limited plan in the new lineup. The new bundles will be effective starting today, August 23.
Go Unlimited Plan
The Go Unlimited plan comes with unlimited LTE data, but and there’s a big but, Verizon will throttle you whenever the network gets congested. Usually, most carriers throttle users after they reach a certain data cap, but Go Unlimited users will experience the “joy” of being slowed down every time there’s a congestion in their area. Furthermore, video streaming is limited to 480p (or 720p on tablets) which the carrier skillfully calls “DVD-quality streaming”. Unlimited talk, text and unlimited hotspot usage (capped at 600 Kbps) is also included, but there are no free calls, text, and data in Mexico and Canada.
Beyond Unlimited Plan
Next, off we have the Beyond Unlimited plan which arrives with unlimited 4G LTE data. Like in the case of the original plan, you’ll be throttled once you exceed the 22GB data cap in one billing cycle. There’s also 720p video streaming (1080p for tablets), unlimited talk, text and data in the US and roaming in Mexico and Canada. The plan includes 15GB of LTE speeds via mobile hotspot.
As for the Business Plan, it can be tailored to specific needs with the monthly data cap is set at 22GB. Yet customers can expect to be throttled whenever times of congestion hit. Video streaming is also limited to 480p.
Prepaid Unlimited Plan
Ah, and there’s also a Prepaid Unlimited plan which adds a line for $80 and offers unlimited data that can be throttled at any time, 480p video, as well as free calls to Canada and Mexico.
But what if you’re on Verizon’s older unlimited plan and don’t want to jump on board a new one? The carrier says things won’t change much, so you’ll be able to keep paying the same price without being forced to pick from the new options. As a bonus, the carrier is increasing the LTE hotspot allowance from 10GB to 15GB for existing subscribers.
But there’s a huge caveat that needs to be mentioned here. Verizon says that “moving forward, HD video on all legacy plans will also match Beyond Unlimited HD quality”. Basically, that means you won’t be able to go beyond 720p on phones or 1080p on tablets with 4K streaming being out of the equation for good.
While Verizon is trying to spin this as being for the benefit of consumers everywhere by saying things like “We’re doing this to ensure all customers have a great experience on our network since there is no visible difference in quality on a smartphone or tablet when video is shown at higher resolutions than 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets,” the truth is the carrier is making it extremely expensive for users to things they used to do for less.
It’s still unknown whether the new restrictions are meant to help Verizon increase revenue, or they have something to do with limitations in the carrier’s LTE network.