Verizon Provokes Anger Over Video Throttling on Unlimited Plan
The nation's biggest cellular carrier has given itself a black eye and stoked a lot of techie anger over changes to its unlimited data plan. Following industry trends, it unveiled a one-price unlimited data plan in February. Today, however, it breaks that plan into three, and subscribers had better read the fine print.
The plans are called Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, and Business Unlimited, and for a single line Go Unlimited starts at $75 and Beyond Unlimited starts at $85. The anger is coming from the announcement that all video on the Go Unlimited plan will be throttled to 480p on phones and 720p on tablets. For mobile hotspots, data is capped at a rate of 600 kbps.
The Beyond Unlimited plan limits phone streaming to 720p and tablets to 1080p. Both accounts will slow down video if there's network congestion. The Business Unlimited plan, by the way, starts at 4 lines for $45 each and limits them to 480p video streaming.
In July, Verizon was caught capping video streaming, which it claimed was simply testing designed to improve video performance. Now it look like that was the beginning of this move. Verizon customers who have already signed up for an unlimited plan should be able to keep it. Those who haven't moved to Verizon should read the fine print before signing anything. Unfortunately, AT&T and T-Mobile also place restrictions on their unlimited data offerings.
Is the skinny bundle marketing saturated already? The big player everyone expected to make an announcement—Verizon—sees a future in partnerships.
With mobile video on the rise, carriers have the choice of throttling data (and trashing net neutrality) or straining to keep up with their own unlimited plans.