Yesterday, Verizon Wireless unveiled its new unlimited data plans for the first time in more than 5 years. This announcement comes as a surprise given Verizon’s unpopular stance that unlimited data is a frivolous endeavor that nobody really wanted or needed. Regardless of how Verizon treated unlimited data in the past, though, now hardly seems like the time to criticize the company for having a change of heart in the right direction.
Prices start at $80 per line for one line, $70 per line for two, $54 per line for three, and $45 per line for four. The plan includes unlimited data with HD video streaming included (although it’s not disclosed whether HD means anything higher than 720p), 10GB of hotspot tethering, unlimited calling and texting to Canada and Mexico, and 500MB of LTE data in those countries as well. A $10 daily pass exists for data access outside of North America.
At first glance it seems like a good deal, especially considering Verizon’s track record for excellent coverage. Additionally, Verizon also appears to compete directly with T-Mobile by including HD video streaming, whereas T-Mobile has decided to charge an extra $15 per month for the luxury; otherwise, T-Mobile users can still stream unlimited video, but at 480p resolution (Edit: T-Mobile has since decided to include HD video streaming and 10GB of LTE data tethering in its T-Mobile One plans).
Of course, not all unlimited plans are created equal, and while Verizon’s latest move is a welcome one there are more than enough reasons to consider T-Mobile or Sprint for your unlimited data needs as well (and although AT&T also offers an unlimited plan, it’s costlier at $100 per month and requires a DirecTV subscription).
T-Mobile made a big deal regarding taxes and fees with its latest Un-carrier event, which Verizon and Sprint still have. T-Mobile solves this “pain point” by going “all in” on their T-Mobile One plans. That is, the price you agree to pay per month is the price that you’re going to pay. If you sign up for a $70 monthly plan, you’re going to pay $70 a month (assuming you also signed up for Auto Pay; if not, you would pay $75). Otherwise, your monthly bill shouldn’t have any surprises, which is an appealing offer for anybody who has ever had to spend time on the phone with customer service trying to figure out what certain charges even mean.
And then there’s Sprint, who has recently decided to put all hands on deck with its latest unlimited data promotion. Perhaps the only thing more surprising than Verizon’s white flag regarding unlimited data is Sprint’s decision to sell 5 phone lines with unlimited data for just $90 per month. This offer is available for a limited time, but nonetheless a hard one to pass up if you live in an area with good Sprint coverage. Even without the offer, Sprint has the most affordable unlimited data plan – at least for two people - at just $60 for the first line and $30 for every line thereafter.
There are enough pros and cons between each carriers’ offerings to make it worth doing the research. Truly, the best news to take away from this is that there’s one more option out there for unlimited data, and the option appears to be quite competitive. It’s nice to be able to type “Verizon unlimited data” into Google and produce results that aren’t just about grandfathered plans and loopholes.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this shocking move? Will you be switching/sticking with Verizon because of it, or do you prefer another carrier’s unlimited offerings?