Why did Verizon kill the Unlimited plan that everyone loved?

Verizon to start throttling all smartphone videos to 480p or 720p

According to Verizon's announcement, "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". These include Go Unlimited (starting at $75 for a single line), Beyond Unlimited ($85 for the first line), and Business Unlimited.

We reported last month about Verizon's throttling streak with streaming services like Netflix and YouTube for "unlimited" plan users.

Verizon Communications Inc said on Tuesday that it was introducing a cheaper unlimited mobile data plan with some limits as it tries to lure customers away from rival wireless carriers.

If the network is congested at any time, Verizon is reserving the right to throttle your speeds as well, not just when you butt up against the limits of your monthly allotment. There's also a new "Business Unlimited" plan for four lines or more that also reportedly caps video streaming to DVD-quality. The plan will continue to offer hotspot capabilities, but Verizon is capping speeds there at 600 Kbps.

For an extra $10 per month on the Beyond Unlimited plan, customers will get unlimited 4G data that will only be slowed in instances of congestion after 22 GB of usage in one month (though that cap jumps to 25 GB for customers who sign a two-year contract). The plan offers 15GB of LTE speeds via a mobile hotspot.

This is what's likely going to enrage Verizon customers most.

And of course, Verizon is trying to spin this as being a good thing for customers. That means that you can forget about trying to stream 4K video to your laptop via your smartphone or cellular-enabled tablet. Users exceeding 22GB of data use could be given reduced speeds, but were free to stream at whatever resolution desired even if it meant waiting for buffering. T-Mobile CEO John Legere also claimed that the Verizon and AT&T networks "seem to be choking after we forced them to go unlimited". Verizon's director of corporate communications, Kelly Crummey, said that "Eight times in a row RootMetrics has declared Verizon the "undisputed leader" for overall network coverage and reliability".

Verizon tells Ars Technica that it's not doing the video conversions itself, but rather setting a bandwidth limit that all streaming video applications will have to go through, capping those connections at no more than 10Mbps tops. However, the agency's current chair has announced plans to roll back net neutrality protections.



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