Why did Verizon kill the Unlimited plan that everyone loved?

Posted August 23, 2017

Video streaming is limited to 480p on smartphones when using an LTE connection without any option to obtain higher quality video.

As a side note, you'll also need to sign up for paper-free billing and AutoPay to lock in the $75 or $85 monthly prices for Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited.

Verizon is making some adjustments to its unlimited plans for new and current customers that inch us closer to the world in which buying a mobile subscription will feel as complicated as buying health insurance.

The carrier is splitting its unlimited data plan into three different options, according to Ars Technica and The Verge. So the only reasonable explanation I can see for throttling video to 1080p - even on the most expensive plan - is that it was causing problems for the network. The telecom giant introduced a number of "unlimited" data plans that throttle video quality across the board, and reserve the right to throttle data speeds in certain conditions.

The first tier plan will only allow 480p streaming on phones, 720p on tablets. Mobile hotspot speeds are capped at 600 kbps.

If you already have one of the old unlimited plans, you can keep it without having to choose between the two new ones.

Existing Verizon Wireless customers don't have to switch plans, but your video resolution will be reduced to 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets regardless of what plan you're on moving forward. With it, you get unlimited 4G LTE data, talk and texting. There's no going higher even with a laptop and mobile hotspot.

There is good news for businesses that want to equip employees with unlimited data. Video streaming while tethered is also limited to 1080p. Most data plans will get 720p video on smartphones, but customers won't have any option to completely un-throttle video. It's still a step backwards for many customers, though, and the throttling at all tiers means you'll still have to hunt for WiFi to get the best possible quality.

What's unfortunate about these plans is that smartphone customers can no longer watch a video in high-definition (HD). Verizon was testing throttling on Netflix and YouTube earlier this year, and third-party researchers have determined that unlimited plans were slowing down networks.

Other carriers have been launching aggressive promotions in recent months. You can still view HD videos when accessing Wi-Fi networks. T-Mobile CEO John Legere also claimed that the Verizon and AT&T networks "seem to be choking after we forced them to go unlimited".

Full pricing and availability of services can be found on Verizon's website.