In somewhat of a surprise move, Verizon Wireless has decided to start throttling Video streaming on their popular unlimited plans. Basically, they’ve turned one good unlimited plan into three bad unlimited plans. They are introducing three new unlimited plans: Go Unlimited ($75 for the first line), Beyond Unlimited ($85 for first line), and Business Unlimited, which compared with their current, simple unlimited plan, contain lots of fine print and caveats. The bottom line for video is that the basic Go plan limits video to 480p (DVD quality) on phones and 720p (HD video) on tablets while requiring you to pay extra for the Beyond plan to get 720p on a phone and 1080p on a tablet. No plan, including Business Unlimited will give you anything more than 720p on your phone. Also, PCs tethered to a phone hotspot on the Go Unlimited plan will be limited to 600Kbps (what’s that, modem speed?) although PCs tethered to a phone hotspot on the Beyond plan will see 15Gb LTE speeds and can get 1080p video.
On the previous unlimited plan, Verizon placed no limits on video quality. If you are currently on a Verizon unlimited plan, you won’t be subject to the data speed throttling, but all plans will limit video quality on phones to 720p and on tablets to 1080p. Oh, and if you want to hurry up and get on the current unlimited plan, you have until tomorrow, August 23!
Why are they doing this? If you listen to the Verizon spokespeople, they will say that this is a matter of network management and they are trying to give themselves options to optimize the user experience during times of network congestion. I’m sure there’s some truth to that, but the bottom line is that they’re doing it because they can, and the toothless FCC is probably not going to stop them. It was probably inevitable because most of their competitors are doing the same thing, and now that Verizon is engaging in throttling, it’s only a matter of time before Sprint does the same.