Back in February, Verizon rolled out a decent new unlimited plan, saying that mobile videos would be presented at the quality the services offered them at. Today, alongside the announcement of new unlimited plans, it has gone back on that, saying that video will indeed be throttled to 720p for most customers, and in some cases to 480p, starting August 23. Some users started noticing the throttling last month when streaming Netflix or YouTube, and now it's confirmed that the big red carrier will indeed be cutting back video quality for everyone, regardless of plan or how much data they've used.
The throttling news was bundled into an announcement of Verizon's new plans and rates, dividing the formerly-simple (for a carrier) unlimited plan into three. New subscribers can buy a $75 single-line plan called Go Unlimited, $5 cheaper than before, with video throttled to 480p on phones and hotspot speeds limited to 600kbps (!). These subscribers can also be throttled at any time during the month, not just after a certain amount of data use as has been the tradition — that means that if the Verizon network is congested in a certain area, users on a Go Unlimited plan may be throttled at the beginning or middle of their cycle.
If they want 720p video, they can pay $10 a month extra for the new Beyond Unlimited plan, which also limits customers to 22GB of data per month before throttling. Tablet and laptop users will be able to stream video at 1080p, but Verizon isn't saying whether that's a sure thing; instead, the company is merely throttling all video feeds to 10Mbps, which can affect phones and larger screen devices differently.
The kicker? Existing customers on all existing plans will be throttled to 720p starting tomorrow, too. Customers on the older, more generous unlimited plan will get to keep all other aspects of the plan, but video streaming quality isn't one of them.
The one good piece of news from this? Mobile hotspot limits are increasing to 15GB per month on the Beyond Unlimited plan, up from 10GB per month currently. And perhaps to appease current unlimited customers, those who signed up since February will also benefit from the same 5GB per month hotspot increase.
So, if you were going to switch to Verizon, stop what you're doing and do it now, because streaming at 720p is going to cost $5 a month more starting tomorrow.
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