The US operator has overhauled its data plans, axing its unlimited wireless offer in favour of three different plans, with video streaming limited to 480p on the cheapest plan, Go Unlimited. The plans go into effect on August 23.
However, Verizon changed this recently by breaking down this one simple plan into three new plans, which are not as simple as the last one. This is $5 cheaper than the original unlimited plan, but it less reliable; the speed can and will be reduced significantly if the network is congested.
"We're doing this to ensure all customers have a great experience on our network since there is no significant difference in quality on a smartphone or tablet when video is shown at higher resolutions (than 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets)", Verizon said.
While those who are now on Verizon's unlimited will get to keep it once these new plans go into effect tomorrow, it's absolutely worth pointing out that Verizon's new video streaming rules will apply to everyone, even grandfathered users.
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U.S. telecom goliath Verizon has replaced its single unlimited phone plan with four new options that all throttle video and bandwidth.
Finally, there's Business Unlimited which knocks video streaming back down to 480p and gives you full 4G LTE mobile hotspot speeds for only the first 10GB of usage (600 Kbps after). Instead, it will set a bandwidth limit that video applications will have to adjust to.
Unsurprisingly, in order to receive the same level of service compared to older plans, the new plans do in fact cost more. Those customers will also get an additional 5GB of mobile hotspot data. Because most video is not yet offered in 4K, and most devices can not yet support 4K - conditions that are both changing rapidly, with new phones and new shows hitting the market every year.
OpenSignal and Ookla are both paid by T-Mobile (for the rights to publish data, not for the testing itself), and both use crowdsourced testing that relies on speedtests run through apps on users' smartphones.
The carrier explains its move to Ars Technica as "managing our network" in a way that lets bring unlimited data "to more people". You won't have the option of watching 1080p videos on your smartphone anymore, no matter what plan you are on. AT&T has similar practices, and T-Mobile requires a jump to its Plus plan for HD streaming. The company has announced that it will begin heavily throttling its wireless broadband customers this week, restricting 4K video streaming entirely, and placing new restrictions on tethering.