In a move that further exposes the slow death of net neutrality, Verizon replaced the $80 unlimited data plan that it rolled out in February with two kinds of unlimited data plans that both throttle videos.
The new unlimited data plans follows a recent report of Verizon throttling speeds of video apps such as Netflix and YouTube on its network, which it claimed was a mere video optimization test, as well as OpenSignal's latest State of Mobile Networks report that showed rival T-Mobile dominating the industry.
Verizon Unlimited Data Plans: What Changed?
Verizon, along with AT&T, were no longer offering unlimited data plans when T-Mobile introduced its own. This forced Verizon to roll out an $80 unlimited data plan with reduced speeds once the user reaches 22 GB of usage in a month, plus allowing the device to function as a hotspot for 10 GB of data per month.
However, the unlimited data plan was tagged by OpenSignal as the primary reason for the slower speed of Verizon, allowing T-Mobile sweep all the awards in the latest State of Mobile Networks report. Verizon's solution, apparently, is to downgrade its service.
Verizon will now offer two unlimited data plans, namely Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited. The $75 Verizon Go Unlimited plan offers unlimited 4G LTE data, but customers can experience throttled speeds at any time, no matter how much data they have used in a month, if Verizon is experiencing network congestion. Video quality is capped at 480p for smartphones and 720p for tablets, and the mobile hotspot feature is throttled to only 600 kbps.
The $85 Verizon Beyond Unlimited plan also offers unlimited 4G LTE data, but speeds will be throttled once the user reaches usage of 22 GB in a month, similar to the plan that it is replacing. Video quality is capped at 720p for smartphones and 1080p for tablets, and the mobile hotspot feature is throttled after 15 GB. Existing customers of the previous Verizon unlimited data plan will be moved to this set-up, still paying $80 but with throttled videos.
Verizon Throttling Videos Another Step To The End Of Net Neutrality
Verizon is certainly not the first carrier to throttle speeds and place restrictions on unlimited data. AT&T's two unlimited data plans throttle video speeds after 22 GB of data usage in a month, and T-Mobile's basic unlimited plan limits video to 480p quality. Sprint, meanwhile, doesn't limit video, but throttles music streaming speed.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has been vocal with his plan to end net neutrality, believing that the federal government should not regulate internet service providers and carriers. With net neutrality on its way out, carriers such as Verizon will continue to offer "unlimited" data plans that are anything but unlimited, and customers will not be able to do anything about it.