Verizon just created a new top tier to its unlimited data plans. It was designed for “super users who want the most,” according to the carrier.
The Above Unlimited plan offers 75GB of unthrottled 4G LTE data, and 20GB of unthrottled hotspot data, for $95 a month.
Having a tiered system of unlimited plans seems like an oxymoron, but Verizon really does offer three plans in which users can download all the data they want. The difference is when the carrier starts slowing down data transfer speeds, a process called throttling.
Verizon and Throttling
This wireless carrier uses three different forms of throttling. On mobile phones, after the throttling threshold has been reached, “in times of congestion your data may be slower than other traffic.” In other words, requests from a throttled phone have lower priority.
When a phone is being used a hotspot, the speed for the connected iPad or laptop drops to 600 Kbps after the throttling threshold is reached, no matter what else is happening with network congestion.
When data connections aren’t being slowed down, Verizon offers the fastest 4G LTE connections in the United States.
Verizon also limits the resolution of streaming video. Its Above Unlimited plan, and the less expensive Beyond Unlimited plan, max out at 720p. The cheaper Go Unlimited plan tops out at 480p.
But at least all these plans include unlimited talk and text.
Those who question whether a plan with throttling limits is truly unlimited should consider that there is literally no way to use so much data with any of these plans that extra fees are tacked on. It’s impossible because the plan is unlimited.
Verizon’s other unlimited plans
The previous Verizon unlimited plans remain unchanged.
The $85 Beyond Unlimited plan allows 22GB of 4G LTE data before starting throttling, and includes 15GB of unthrottled hotspot data. The $75 Go Unlimited plan is always throttled. Cell phone data slows down whenever the network is congested, and hotspot data can’t go above 600 Kbps.
For both of these, traveling outside of the U.S. costs extra, and so does Verizon’s cloud storage service. Above Unlimited includes five TravelPass sessions per month and 500 GB of online storage.
Choose among Verizon unlimited plans
Families can mix and match these plans. Dad can have a Beyond Unlimited plan, Mom can choose Above Unlimited, and the kids can get Go Unlimited. Prices for each line drop as additional lines are added.
“Your kids may only need an unlimited plan to deliver the basics — to call, text and stream without worrying about overages, while you might demand more from your unlimited plan with premium features like HD video and 4G LTE mobile hotspot. Now that you can mix and match, every person in your family gets the plan they need, without paying for things they don’t,” said Ronan Dunne, president of Verizon’s wireless division.
The Above Unlimited plan will become available June 18, according to Verizon.
Those looking for a cheaper option should consider a Verizon spinoff called Visible. It offers unlimited data service at $40 a month, but data is always throttled to 5Mbps.