Why did Verizon kill the Unlimited plan that everyone loved?


Starting August 23, Verizon's cheapest single-line unlimited smartphone data plan will cost $75 a month, which is $5 less than it cost before.

Beginning from today, Verizon Unlimited is evolving into Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited and Business Unlimited. That's not completely unwarranted: OpenSignal found that average LTE speeds on Verizon dropped after the move to unlimited, so it's clear that some people are using data so often that they're bogging down the network. Furthermore, video streaming is limited to 480p (or 720p on tablets) which the carrier skillfully calls "DVD-quality streaming".

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.

The Beyond Unlimited plan will cost $85 for first line and will have HD video streaming on smartphones limited to 720p and Full HD 1080p video streaming for tablets.

Starting immediately, Verizon's "Unlimited" plan is $5 cheaper per month, but only streams video to smartphones at 480p, with tablets capped at 720p. Like in the case of the original plan, you'll be throttled once you exceed the 22GB data cap in one billing cycle.

AT&T (T) and Verizon reintroduced unlimited data plans early in 2017 to combat market-share gains by T-Mobile US (TMUS) and Sprint (S). Watching video on the network with a tablet is limited to 720p, and tablet data is a $20 per month add-on. Verizon's unlimited plans, though, have been priced higher. The goal is to offer the most budget-conscious customers a lower price in return for service limits that help the carriers save bandwidth.

For someone that hasn't ever had the chance to work for Verizon, it is pretty hard to prove that the provider's network has been slowed down by Unlimited. "Moving forward, HD video on all legacy plans will also match Beyond Unlimited's HD quality". But for now, mobile customers with high-res displays will have to deal with lesser quality video than ever before. Yes, that means that 1080p phone streaming (and any streaming higher than 1080p) is off the table regardless of how much you're willing to pay. With it, you get unlimited 4G LTE data, talk and texting.

Verizon has been competing for customers with smaller rivals T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp in a saturated USA market for wireless service as most consumers already have cell phones. With GOP FCC Chairman Ajit Pai downright excited at the prospect of gutting both consumer privacy protections and net neutrality requirements, the company apparently feels its time has come.