Ver­i­zon’s lat­est un­lim­ited plan tar­gets data-heavy users

USA TODAY International Edition - - MONEY - Eli Blu­men­thal

Ver­i­zon has a new un­lim­ited plan, one it hopes will ap­peal to the heav­i­est data users.

Called “Un­lim­ited Above,” the new plan is avail­able start­ing June 18 and is priced at $20 more per line, per month than the com­pany’s cheap­est un­lim­ited of­fer­ing.

For those ex­tra bucks, you are get­ting a bit more bang, with up to 75 GB of high-speed data be­fore you might be slowed down in ar­eas of net­work con­ges­tion, 500 GB of Ver­i­zon’s Cloud stor­age and 20 GB of mo­bile hot spot for turn­ing your phone into a Wi-Fi hot spot. Ver­i­zon will also throw in five “Trav­elPasses,” or the abil­ity to use your phone over­seas for a 24-hour pe­riod with­out in­cur­ring roam­ing fees.

Af­ter the ma­jor tele­com car­ri­ers brought back un­lim­ited data plans, they’ve been vy­ing with each other to add fea­tures and op­tions in a bid to gain cus­tomers. Whereas other car­ri­ers have bun­dled in video ser­vices such as HBO, Hulu and Net­flix, Ver­i­zon is hop­ing a higher data op­tion will al­low it to stand out.

The new plan is $10 pricier than the com­pany’s now mid­dle-tier “Be­yond” plan that of­fers un­lim­ited data at up 22 GB be­fore it might slow down, HD video stream­ing and 15 GB of mo­bile hot spot data.

Also new for Ver­i­zon: the abil­ity to mix and match Ver­i­zon’s un­lim­ited plans, al­low­ing a fam­ily of four, for ex­am­ple, to give its low­est data users the cheap­est “Go” op­tion, its higher users the mid­dle “Be­yond” plan and its heav­i­est users the “Above” plan.

“To­day we’re declar­ing the end of the ‘one-size-fit­sall’ fam­ily plan,” Ro­nan Dunne, pres­i­dent of Ver­i­zon’s wire­less di­vi­sion told USA TO­DAY, say­ing that this flex­i­bil­ity is the next evolution of un­lim­ited plans.

“Es­sen­tially what we’re rec­og­niz­ing is that not ev­ery­body uses their phone in the same way.”

Ver­i­zon, AT&T and T-Mo­bile all have pre­vi­ously of­fered two tiers of un­lim­ited plans de­pend­ing on what users were will­ing to pay for. These cheaper op­tions, which usu­ally in­clude un­lim­ited data plus video stream­ing in DVD qual­ity, are usu­ally avail­able for $160 for four lines. A sec­ond, pricier op­tion has added fea­tures in­clud­ing the abil­ity to stream in HD and the abil­ity to turn your phone into a faster, por­ta­ble Wi-Fi hot spot for other de­vices.

For AT&T, the jump to its “Un­lim­ited Plus” pre­mium un­lim­ited plan costs $190 a month for four lines while Ver­i­zon’s “Be­yond” un­lim­ited plan is $200 a month. T-Mo­bile’s “One Plus” op­tion, an ex­tra $10 per line, per month, would also be $200 a month for a fam­ily of four, as­sum­ing all four had the high­est data op­tion. (T-Mo­bile’s price in­cludes taxes and fees.)

Sprint, which con­firmed to USA TO­DAY on Wed­nes­day that it will be end­ing its ag­gres­sive $15 per line, per month of­fer to cus­tomers who switch net­works, cur­rently only of­fers one un­lim­ited plan that is $100 a month for four lines un­til June 30, 2019. Af­ter that date, it is $160 per month.

Ver­i­zon’s new “Above” plan would raise that rate to $240 for four lines if all four were on the high­est tier.

The pric­ing and fea­tures for Ver­i­zon’s cur­rent un­lim­ited plans are not chang­ing, which in­cludes the fact that all plans have un­lim­ited high-speed data.

While the 75 GB num­ber seems large, the only time it will re­ally affect users are at times when Ver­i­zon’s net­work is con­gested. Oth­er­wise, all users should be able to take full ad­van­tage of Ver­i­zon’s net­work, re­gard­less of un­lim­ited plan.

In the event of a con­gested net­work, such as at a crowded con­cert or large sport­ing event, those who are on the cheaper “Go” plan would see their data slowed first, fol­lowed by those on the “Be­yond” plan who have used more than 22 GB of data in that month. But these slow­downs are tem­po­rary, and once the net­work clears (or you exit the venue), you should see your speeds go back to nor­mal.

AP

“We’re declar­ing the end of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ fam­ily plan,” Ver­i­zon’s Ro­nan Dunne said.

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