Verizon. What are you doing?
That's a question that many are asking today, and many more will later ask a similar question when they head into their local Verizon stores.
Prior to today, Verizon offered just one postpaid unlimited LTE data plan that was very easy to understand. Subscribers paid $80/month with auto pay billing enabled or $85 without auto pay billing, and in return they received unlimited talk, text and LTE data with speeds temporarily slowed during times of heavy network traffic once 22 GB of data was consumed in a month. 10 GB of mobile hotspot was included, as was 1080p video streaming and roaming while traveling in either Mexico or Canada.
Starting tomorrow, August 23rd, this all changes. Verizon will replace that plan and confuse potential customers by offering 3 new unlimited LTE data plans.
The new unlimited LTE data plans will be called "Go Unlimited," "Beyond Unlimited," and "Business Unlimited."
Breakdown Of Verizon's New Unlimited Plans
Here are summaries of Verizon's new unlimited LTE data plans, with the changes and things that you should be aware of highlighted in bold.
- 1 line - $75/month with auto pay, $80 without
- 2 lines, $130 with auto pay, $140 without
- 3 lines, $150 with auto pay, $165 without
- 4 lines, $160 plus $40 each additional line thereafter with auto pay billing enabled. Cost per line is $5 more per month without auto pay billing.
With this Go Unlimited plan, Verizon will no longer temporarily slow your data speeds down during times of heavy network congestion once you surpass 22 GB of high speed data used in a month. Instead, customers could have their data speeds temporarily slowed at any time if the network is congested.
Video streams will be limited to just 480p on phones, and 720p on tablets, down from 1080p with the former offering.
Mobile hotspot will be made unlimited, but speeds will be limited to 600 Kbps. Some folks may actually welcome this change as previously hotspot was limited to 10 GB, but it did come with 4G LTE data speeds.
- 1 line, $85/month with auto pay billing, without auto pay billing $90/month
- 2 lines, $160/month with auto pay, without $170/month
- 3 lines, $180/month with auto pay, without $195/month
- 4/lines, $200/month, + $50 each additional line thereafter. Prices shown include $5/line auto pay billing discount.
Like the old plan, this plan does include LTE data speeds that may get temporarily slowed down during times of heavy network congestion once 22 GB of data has been consumed in a month. Of course new customers will now have to pay $5 more each month than they would have on the old plan for this feature.
Video streaming will be limited to 720p on phones which is a downgrade from the old plan, and to 1080p on tablets.
Unlimited mobile hotspot is included with the first 15 GB at 4G LTE data speeds. This is an upgrade over the previous plan. Tethered video streams are limited to 1080p.
Free full service roaming which includes talk, text and data usage while in Mexico or Canada.
Shop for Beyond Unlimited
- $45 per line for those with a device on a payment plan with a minimum of 4 lines required
- $70/line for those with 2 year contracts
The features of this plan are identical to the Beyond Unlimited plan except those without a two year contract only get 10 GB of mobile hotspot, those with a 2 year contract get 15 GB. Two year contracts also get you 25 GB of high speed data instead of 22 GB before speeds get temporarily slowed during times of heavy network traffic.
What Happens To Those On An Old Unlimited Plan?
Those subscribers who have Verizon's older unlimited plan, will get to keep it. Although for all intents and purposes they will really be moved to the Beyond Unlimited plan as Verizon plans to reduce mobile phone video streams to 720p for those customers but will also increase mobile hotspot to 15 GB. Subscribers will not have to pay a higher price for those features.
Why The New Plans And Who Do They Benefit?
It's hard to say who these new plans will really benefit because I don't have access to Verizon's customer data and of course I'm not your average consumer.
Still, I think these new plans are going to confuse potential customers, as they even confuse me. This biggest question mark for me is in the real world, will customers really be able to tell the difference between the Beyond Unlimited and Go Unlimited plans in terms of data prioritization? Will customers on the Go Unlimited plan experience frequent and noticeable data slow downs that customers on the Go Unlimited plan don't (that is until they surpass 22 GB of data consumed in a month)? I'm not really sure if this is a selling point between the two plans. We won't really know until people are on them and they report what they experience.
I'm sure 4G LTE mobile hotspot will be a selling point for some, but when the average consumer sees the word "unlimited hotspot" with the cheaper plan, will they care?
The international roaming while in Mexico and Canada will be a selling point to those who frequently visit or contact those places.
Still, in all, what will Verizon's marketing strategy be? How will they differentiate the two plans from one another when trying to sell to the average consumer?
What do you think about these new plans, and will they impact you?
You can see how Verizon's new unlimited LTE data plan compares to the competition by viewing this list of unlimited data plans.