Verizon Wireless next week will start selling a third unlimited data plan, one that costs $95 for one line and lets customers use 75GB each month without any possibility of throttling.
Verizon currently offers "GoUnlimited" for $75 and "BeyondUnlimited" for $85. The $95 "AboveUnlimited" will be available starting June 18, Verizon announced today.
Verizon and other carriers use the word "unlimited" for any plan that lets customers use as much data as they want without paying overage fees. But that data isn't always of the high-speed variety.
With the entry-level GoUnlimited, Verizon notes that "in times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic." If you're never in an area that Verizon deems to be congested, you should get high-speed data at all times. But unlike other plans that trigger slowdowns only after you've used a certain amount of data in any given month, GoUnlimited slows you down in congested areas at any time during a monthly billing cycle regardless of how much data you've used.
BeyondUnlimited improves on this by letting customers use 22GB each month before encountering possible slowdowns (aka, "de-prioritization"). The 22GB total left Verizon well short of the 50GB T-Mobile offers on its unlimited plans, which range in price from $70 to $95 for one line. (Taxes and fees are included in T-Mobile's advertised prices, while Verizon plans have taxes and fees added on to the advertised price.)
AboveUnlimited's potential throttle point of 75GB finally gives Verizon a plan with more guaranteed high-speed data than T-Mobile. AT&T uses a 22GB de-prioritization threshold, while Sprint's is 23GB.
Here is Verizon's breakdown of the carrier's three unlimited plans:
There are several other differences among Verizon's three unlimited plans. While GoUnlimited allows only "DVD-quality" video streaming at 480p, BeyondUnlimited and AboveUnlimited both allow HD-quality video streaming at 720p.
GoUnlimited doesn't include any high-speed mobile hotspot data. Instead, all tethering usage is limited to 600kbps. BeyondUnlimited provides 15GB of high-speed tethering data each month before slowing it down; AboveUnlimited offers 20GB of high-speed tethering data.
All three Verizon unlimited plans provide service in Mexico and Canada at no extra charge. But only AboveUnlimited provides five one-day TravelPasses each month that can be used in 130 countries. Verizon TravelPasses are normally $10 a day and provide only 512MB worth of high-speed data each day. After that, customers are slowed to "2G" speeds.
The AboveUnlimited plan also comes with 500GB of storage in Verizon Cloud, a perk that isn't available in the other two unlimited plans.
AboveUnlimited prices drop to $90 per line if you buy two lines, $70 per line for three, and $60 per line for four. GoUnlimited and BeyondUnlimited also offer per-line discounts when you buy a family plan.
Family plan buyers will be able to buy different unlimited plans for each member of the family starting on June 18. Verizon said it offers different versions of its unlimited plan because it's "focused on where, when and how families want to use things like HD video, high-speed international access and mobile hotspot—and that varies depending on the individual family member." The new ability to mix and match plans ensures that "you pay for what each member of your family needs and nothing they don't."