Just this August, Verizon began throttling video playback quality in its unlimited data plans, angering subscribers big on video streaming.
So Verizon ended up offering two unlimited plans for regular consumers. The first one required customers to pay $75 for a "Go Unlimited" plan that capped videos to 480p, and the second one required a higher fee of $85 for a "Beyond Unlimited" plan that capped videos to 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets.
Verizon offered no way to opt out of such restrictions, and they were implemented almost immediately upon announcement. But now, the company is giving its subscribers a way to unlock those quality caps — but they have to shell out $10 extra per month.
How To Lift Verizon's Video Playback Caps
Users who pay that added fee will be able to watch the maximum video playback quality their mobile phone or tablet supports, from 1080p to 1440p to 4K. There is, however, a catch: That $10 fee applies to one person only — if there are multiple lines in one plan and they all want high-quality video playback, they each have to pay the price.
What Could Happen Next?
Verizon is rolling out the option on Nov. 3. This is a truly disappointing time for U.S. Verizon subscribers, and the mobile internet landscape in the country as well. Just three months ago there was only a single unlimited plan on Verizon with no video quality constraints, but now things have changed considerably. If people are required to pay added fees to get the best video quality, what's next? Paying an added fee to access Netflix? Hulu? What other handicaps is Verizon planning to implement down the road?
With the new fee, Verizon now has the most expensive unlimited plan prices among the major networks in the United States. T-Mobile has an $80 plan that includes HD video, but there's also a regular plan that restricts video playback to 480p. Sprint, on the other hand, has a $60 plan that allows 1080p streaming. AT&T Unlimited Plus plan is still pretty expensive, though, offering HD playback for $90 per month for a single line.
Anyhow, this seems to be the trend with internet providers lately: provide subscribers with unlimited plans then introduce caveats to make them pay more for consuming more data. This trend is likely to catch on going forward as net neutrality continues to erode.
Are you on Verizon? Are you willing to pay $10 extra just to lift video playback restrictions? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!