Today the biggest US carrier announced that its existing unlimited data plan is being divided into three new options: Go Unlimited (starting at $75 for a single line), Beyond Unlimited ($85 for first line), and Business Unlimited.
Unlike the relatively straightforward unlimited plan that Verizon surprised customers with in February, these new monthly plans are chock-full of fine print and caveats.
But new customers who do care about those things will be paying money each month for essentially the same service.
Beyond Unlimited starts at $85 for the first line and remains more expensive as you add additional lines.
That’s generous compared to T-Mobile’s competitors. Sprint offers full HD streaming as part of its unlimited plan. But the company enforces stricter network management in other areas.
Music streaming is limited to 1.5Mbps, for example, and you can’t exceed 8Mbps when playing games on your phone. And now with Verizon having joined the throttled video ranks, it might only be a matter of time before Sprint follows the crowd.
This move on Verizon’s part was perhaps inevitable since nearly all of its chief rivals have already put in place some arbitrary restrictions on video quality or overall data speeds.
Here’s second-place carrier AT&T: There, the cheapest unlimited plan similar limits you to 480p.
“Moving forward, HD video on all legacy plans will also match Beyond Unlimited’s HD quality.” So you’ll soon be limited to a maximum video quality of 720p streaming on phones and 1080p if you’ve got a tablet on your plan. Even with a laptop connected to your mobile hotspot, you’ll never be able to reach video speeds higher than 10Mbps.
“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).” Verizon doesn’t point to any specific data that backs up its “nobody can see a difference” observation between 720p and 1080p on a 5.5-inch screen.