Verizon Unlimited Data Plans Now Throttle All Video To 720p Or Less On Phones

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We can’t say that we didn’t see this coming. Back in late July, Verizon Wireless customers became alarmed when they noticed that their YouTube and Netflix streams were being capped at 10Mbps. At the time, Verizon stated, “We've been doing network testing over the past few days to optimize the performance of video applications on our network...The test was across the board, and did not target any individual applications.”

Now, it appears that Verizon’s throttling “tests” have been extended to a full-blown implementation across its network. Starting tomorrow, August 23rd, Verizon’s unlimited data plans will be split into three new options: Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited and Business Unlimited.

Go Unlimited is the entry-level plan, stating at $75 per month for a single line. With it, you get unlimited 4G LTE data, talk and texting. Unlimited mobile hotspot data is capped at 600 Kbps and streaming video is limited to 480p for smartphones and 720p for tablets.

Moving up to Beyond Unlimited (starting at $85 for a single line) gives you 15GB of 4G LTE data of mobile hotspot, which is then capped at 600 Kbps once you reach that limit. Video streaming is upgraded to 720p for smartphones and 1080p for tablets.

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Finally, there’s Business Unlimited which knocks video streaming back down to 480p and gives you full 4G LTE mobile hotspot speeds for only the first 10GB of usage (600 Kbps after).

No matter which plan you select, there is no way to enable 1080p streaming on a smartphone with Verizon’s revised unlimited plans. And don’t think that using your smartphone or tablet as a mobile hotspot will allow you to get around the video caps — you will still be limited to a max of 720p with a smartphone or 1080p with a tablet (if you’re on a Beyond Unlimited plan). That means that you can forget about trying to stream 4K video to your laptop via your smartphone or cellular-enabled tablet.

And of course, Verizon is trying to spin this as being a good thing for customers. “These plans give you the best unlimited choices, but you also get what only Verizon can give you: the best network, the best rewards program, the best way to manage your plan with the My Verizon app and the best selection of phones and devices,” wrote Verizon in a press release.

“We’re doing this to ensure all customers have a great experience on our network since there is no visible difference in quality on a smartphone or tablet when video is shown at higher resolutions than 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets.”

Many people rejoiced at the return of unlimited data plans, and now we’re seeing the fallout of what happens when something become too popular.