Trouble on the horizon
Verizon’s two new allegedly unlimited plans are actually pretty restricted in terms of video streaming. In February, Verizon introduced an “unlimited data” plan allowing users to basically do whatever until they reached 22GB of usage. Turns out that was bleeding Verizon dry.
The updated plans limit video quality to 480p or 720p HD resolution depending on the plan. That means no HD videos, YouTube, or Netflix on the most basic plan.
At $75/month per single line, the Go Unlimited plan maxes out video quality at 480p on phones and 720p for tablets. Oh and surprise, on this cheaper plan, speeds could be reduced at all times due to network traffic regardless of how much or little you’re downloading. Hotspots are capped on this plan as well.
The Beyond Unlimited plan cuts off at 720p for phones and 1080p on tablets.
For $85/month on a single line, this plan offers free roaming in Mexico and Canada, but data speeds slow after 22GB. Tethering is available for up to 15GB.
Customers on Verizon’s unlimited plan from earlier this year will continue to pay the slightly less expensive $80/month, but experience the same limitations as Beyond Unlimited with video throttled at 22GB. Users on this plan can also use their phone as a hotspot for 10GB/month.
Verizon isn’t the only company restricting video usage. AT&T’s two “unlimited” plans place similar restrictions, and T-Mobile’s basic plan also limits video quality to 480p.
While Sprint doesn’t currently limit video, music streaming speed is throttled.
Calling a plan unlimited when it’s anything but that feels a bit weasely, but a Verizon spokesperson said there’s no significant difference between 720p and higher resolutions on smartphones. However, for those used to watching 1080p on their phones are sure to notice the change.
TIMES ARE A CHANGIN’
In 2012, Verizon offered a $30 plan that capped data at 2GB a month. Five years later, that limit increased tenfold. People love their on-the-go data, and internet usage trends reflect the shift from desktop to mobile.
Offering allegedly unlimited plans that don’t tap into consumer patterns seems counter intuitive. If it’s not unlimited, don’t call it unlimited.
Current subscribers were informed of the plans via an email sent this week, which spotlighted a new rewards program Verizon is rolling out, announcing the plans as a secondary element. Verizon UP offers VIP passes to concerts and sporting events, but these analog offerings don’t make up for digital restrictions.