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