In case you missed the news, Verizon has decided to bring back unlimited data plans. The largest wireless carrier in the US has likely been feeling the pressure from T-Mobile and Sprint’s own unlimited plans. Of course, these days “unlimited” seems to mean “limited in these specific and annoying ways,” so is the same true for Verizon’s plan? Here’s everything you need to know.
For starters, Verizon’s plan is a little more expensive than unlimited plans from its competitors. While T-Mobile’s plan starts at $70 for a single line, Verizon’s starts at $80. A second line will bring that total up $60 to $140, while lines added after that add an additional $20.
Of course, Verizon is quite fond of its fees, especially the nebulous “line access” fees it usually leaves out of its advertising. Interestingly, Verizon has chosen to include line access in these quotes, perhaps inspired by a recent move from T-Mobile to simplify billing by including all fees in its quoted prices. Verizon is also upfront in saying that these quoted prices include discounts for AutoPay and paperless billing.
So, for instance, on a single line plan, you’re looking at a monthly account charge of $65, plus a $20 line access fee, and a $5 AutoPay discount, bringing us to Verizon’s quoted price of $80. For 2-4 lines, the account charge climbs to $110, the AutoPay discount becomes $10, and line access stays the same at $20 per line.
This means two lines are $140 per month, three are $160, and four are $180. Each additional line up to 10 adds an extra $20 per month, which is presumably the extra line access charge (unfortunately, Verizon isn’t clear about this).
Verizon says that after your account hits 22GB in usage each month, it may throttle your speeds so other customers get prioritization during peak times. This is the biggest caveat of Verizon’s fine print, as it means that your data isn’t truly unlimited – like T-Mobile and Sprint, Verizon is reserving the right to slow you down if it determines you’re using too much data.
However, unlike T-Mobile, which limits video streams to 480p for unlimited users, Verizon is promising HD video streaming. Though I can’t find anywhere thatit specifies what it means by “HD video streaming,” it likely means it will limit your streams to 720p. Many phones these days are shipping with 1080p displays or better, so that isn’t exactly ideal, but it’s a whole lot better than 480p.
You’ll also get “unlimited” mobile hotspot with this new plan, but there are some exceptions here as well. You’ll only get 4G LTE speeds for your first 10GB of hotspot usage. After that, it’s back down to 3G speeds until you’re into a new billing cycle.
As you can see, Verizon’s unlimited plan comes with plenty of fine print, just like the plans from its competitors. I’ll leave it to you to decide if this new plan is worth the monthly cost. If you believe it is, then you can sign up for this plan beginning today on Verizon’s website.