Verizon's New Unlimited Plans Are All Worse Than Before

Verizon released an easy-to-undersand unlimited data plan earlier this year, but get ready to be confused. The carrier has chopped its plans into three pieces tiers with differing prices.

But the really bad part? Verizon customers can't watch 1080p video on their shiny new phones anymore.

Credit: Scott Olson/Getty

(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty)

The three new plans are Go Unlimited ($75 for one line), Beyond Unlimited ($85 for the first line) and Business Unlimited (various prices).

But they're more than just names and prices. Each tier is slightly different in both the fine print and what they offer. In short, Go Unlimited is "kind of unlimited," and Beyond Unlimited is "slightly less limited than that other plan."

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Go Unlimited includes unlimited LTE data, but with a giant catch: Verizon can throttle you whenever the network is congested. Most carriers only throttle you after you reach a certain data threshold, but Verizon's can be at any point in your billing cycle. Additionally, you only get 480p streaming, which Verizon tries to sugarcoat by using the term "DVD-quality streaming." You still get unlimited talk and text, and unlimited hotspot usage, though hotspot speeds are capped at 600 Kbps.

In the Beyond Unlimited plan, you get unlimited 4G LTE data, but you're only throttled once you exceed 22GB per billing cycle. You also get 720p video streaming, unlimited talk and text and calling, texting and data in both Canada and Mexico. The plan offers 15GB of LTE speeds via a mobile hotspot.

The business plan will depend highly on your needs, but will throttle both after 22GB and in times of congestion, and you only get 480p of streaming video.

Verizon insists that if you're on an unlimited plan, that won't change much. The big difference is that you can no longer stream at 1080p on Verizon Wireless phones anymore. Tablets, however, will go up to 1080p.

It's not a surprise to see this change. Verizon was testing throttling on Netflix and YouTube earlier this year, and third-party researchers have determined that unlimited plans were slowing down networks.

While this sucks for Verizon customers, competitors also throttle video. AT&T has similar practices, and T-Mobile requires a jump to its Plus plan for HD streaming. While Sprint still offers 1080p video, it polices music streaming and gaming like no other carrier, in a way that practically feels draconian.

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. It also brings up wide potential net neutrality questions (will it allow 1080p for its own content? Verizon just acquired Yahoo and AOL in its new company, Oath). But for now, mobile customers with high-res displays will have to deal with lesser quality video than ever before.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is an editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.

  • Ashley_P
    The unfortunate fact is that there isnt remotely enough bandwidth currently (on any carrier), even with the improvements in speed, for everyone to stream video at the same time. I am not a Verizon fan or a fan of their plans and have never had their service, but given that broadcast OTA tv is 720p, which is still more than acceptably sharp on 60+ in screens (most 32 in tv's are 720p), asking for 1080p on a phone screen seems like a technical nit pick. Just because the phone screen can do it, doesnt mean the difference is noticeable. 480 is however, noticeably grainy on tv sized screens. on 6 I'd expect it to be acceptable . Perhaps the phones could sw/firmware upscale.
  • rayreavis
    I agree with Ashley_P. Probably not a noticeable difference on a small phone screen. My biggest concern is bandwidth restraints on using my phone or tablet as a Hotspot. Add a remote worker I have used my phone or tablet as a Hotspot as an occasional backup to my normal carrier at home or while traveling. It's very important to have bandwidth on the road sufficient for my employers VPN connection but I don't use it often enough to justify a dedicated hotspot.
  • tndbaker

    I made a video that just plain proves they are lying through their teeth. And I'm a Verizon customer!!!!! At least if I were to switch to T-Mobile I could pay to be able to use my product how I want. It really is just an excuse to not update any existing technology. All of the carriers are guilty, but Verizon I would say is most guilty for their reasoning, just straight lying to customers.
  • jnone23
    Perhaps it's a massive success on Samsung's books but there's a complete failure of Samsung's rollout of the devices for customers who preordered directly from Samsung's website.
    I ordered the Verizon Note 8 on 9/8/17, received confirmation email stating phone "Will ship by Sep 15th 2017". Status of order was stuck on "Pre-Order" until today when it was updated to "Confirmed". I was able to watch a friend (Sprint customer) who ordered on 9/11/17 unbox his phone yesterday. There's no excuse for carrier customers to receive their phones before those of us who ordered directly through Samsung. If you search the Samsung Blog Community there are literally thousands of people with the same complaint. Some of them previously had the Note 7, preordered in August and were promised extra attention from Samsung but still have not even had their orders confirmed.