Go back to the start of 2017 to check out Verizon's assorted wireless plans, and you wouldn't find a single unlimited data plan. As of next week, Verizon will have three of them.
Starting Monday (June 18), the wireless carrier will launch its new Above Unlimited option. It joins Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited among Verizon's different unlimited data plans. At $95 a month for a single line, it will also be Verizon's most expensive plan.
What does all that money get you? Like the $85-a-month Beyond Unlimited Plan, you get to stream HD video with Above Unlimited and you get LTE hotspot data — 20GB to the 15GB available to Beyond Unlimited customers. Verizon's top-tier plan also includes 500GB of Verizon Cloud storage and five TravelPasses per month that you can use when traveling in other countries.
Verizon Unlimited Plan Pricing
|Limit Where Speeds May Be Throttled
|Unlimited at 3G speeds
The most noteworthy benefit to Above Unlimited may be a higher threshold for when Verizon can start throttling your speeds for using too much data. Beyond Unlimited subscribers may see their speeds slow down after using 22GB in a given month, but Above Unlimited boosts that to 75GB. That's well beyond T-Mobile's 50GB threshold for its customers — previously the most generous ceiling for unlimited data plans. Though at $70 a month, the T-Mobile One plan is $25 cheaper than this new Verizon offering.
MORE: Best Cell Phone Plans
Some users — particularly travelers — may see some benefit to Verizon's Above Unlimited plan, particularly since it matches the price of T-Mobile's One Plus International plan, which also tacks on perks for globetrotters. But if you don't have much use for the TravelPasses to take talk, text and data to other countries, it's hard to justify paying nearly $100 a month for cloud storage and 5GB of extra hotspot data. And it's hard to imagine any scenario that regularly eats up 75GB of data that doesn't require some sort of intervention for excessive smartphone use.
Verizon offers escalating discounts as you add lines of data, but multiple lines of Above Unlimited are going to set you back some. Four lines of the new plan will cost $240 a month, compared to $200 for four lines of Beyond Unlimited and $160 for four Go Unlimited lines. However, Verizon's introducing another new policy that families with differing data needs will appreciate: starting Monday, you'll be able to mix and match different unlimited plans, which means you can opt for Beyond Unlimited and Go Unlimited for lines that don't need the cloud storage, travel benefits or extra data sharing that Above Unlimited offers. That won't take the sting out of Above Unlimited's price tag, but it will give Verizon family plan subscribers some needed flexibility.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.