Verizon's new unlimited plans throttle video all the time

Muriel Hammond
August 23, 2017

To sum up what's happening, everyone on Unlimited is going to have a throttled video experience, because even though Verizon continues to tout its LTE network as the best in the USA, it can't help but limit its customers to something less than ideal.

Verizon claims this is all about network management, but these new plans wipe out what was widely considered the best unlimited plan on the market. And that's just one of several changes Verizon is making in the new plans.

But Verizon will now let businesses buy unlimited data plans for as many employees as they want.

As before, the Go Unlimited plan will offer users unlimited 4G LTE data, but the new plan comes with the caveat that users can face reduced speeds any time there is network congestion rather than after a usage cap. This morning, Verizon made some significant changes to its Unlimited plan that makes it more expensive and worse, and it's started throttling all smartphone video - on any plan, regardless of price - to 720p. Video is throttled down to 480p on a smartphone and 720p on a tablet.

Customers who buy a new unlimited data plan can get higher-quality video for an extra $10 per month.

For $10 more a month, you can opt for Verizon's new "Beyond Unlimited" plan, which will get you 720p streams on your smartphone and full HD 1080p streams on your tablet.

Now, for Verizon customers, it won't matter if your phone can support it; you still can't get 1080p or 4K video if you're using LTE data.

Having a good unlimited plan was doing wonders for Verizon's bottom line. And tethering is subject to the same video quality caps as regular data use, so if you're using your phone as a hotspot to connect your laptop to the internet, your laptop's video is capped at 1080p.

For the last six months, Verizon was doing well. Subscribers could be throttled after exceeding 22GB in a billing cycle.

While this sucks for Verizon customers, competitors also throttle video. "Our network has never been stronger", Klein said.

What do you think about Verizon's decision to throttle video streaming? Verizon's only rationale for the changes today is "We are offering choices on unlimited now because everyone deserves to experience unlimited on America's best wireless network" - which is a nice way of completely avoiding the question.

Now, it appears that Verizon's throttling "tests" have been extended to a full-blown implementation across its network. "Moving forward, HD video on all legacy plans will also match Beyond Unlimited's HD quality". It's technically unlimited service, but it sure won't feel like that in practice.

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