Unlimited data on the Verizon network is back, thanks to the Verizon Unlimited plan! Six years ago, in 2011, Verizon terminated unlimited data plans. Verizon’s (recently retired) CFO, Fran Shammo, once famously(infamously?) said, “At the end of the day, people don’t need unlimited plans.” Unfortunately(Fortunately?), the people disagreed as every other major carrier has been offering various incarnations of unlimited plans. Here are five things you need to know about the new Verizon Unlimited plan, including my actual pricing breakdown.
#1 – Auto Pay Discount
First things first, the advertised prices you are seeing for the Verizon Unlimited plan include an auto-pay discount. If you do not sign up for auto-pay, then you will be paying more. On a single line, the auto-pay discount is $5/month. On two or more lines, the auto-pay discount is $10/month. Verizon won’t automatically enroll you in auto-pay, so if you are changing plans takes a few minutes to double check your billing preferences.
#2 – Throttling
Throttling is the practice of slowing down your data transfer rates after you have used a certain amount of data each month. The Verizon Unlimited plan isn’t black and white when it comes to throttling. Verizon guarantees no throttling for your first 22GB each month. After using 22GB in a single month, Verizon says, “We may manage network usage to ensure a quality experience for all customers, and may prioritize your data behind some Verizon customers during times/places of network congestion.” They are very clear saying “may” instead of “will”, it does seem that throttling will be based on network capacity/usage as opposed to an automatic switch that will throttle you after 22GB. This does appear to be a gray area, time will tell how much throttling is actually being applied to users. Please let us know in the comments section below if you are experiencing throttling after using 22GB.
#3 – Hot Spot or Tethering Limitations
The Verizon Unlimited plan includes Hot Spot or Tethering capabilities for no additional charge. Your first 10GB each month are at normal 4G LTE speeds. After you’ve reached the 10GB mark, Verizon will then throttle you to 3G speeds when using a Hot Spot or Tethering. Unlike the Throttling mentioned in #2, this is a hard and fast cutover at 10GB. It doesn’t have any actual limits, you still have unlimited data, but after 10GB your data transfer speeds will be slowed quite dramatically. Finally, the 10GB of Hot Spot and Tethering data is separate from the 22GB of mobile data mentioned in #2. If you use all 10GB of your Hot Spot and Tethering data, you still have a full 22GB (Not 12GB) of mobile data before any throttling will kick in on your phones and/or devices.
#4 – Line Access Charges
Line access charges are still in place and have not changed. For most users, that means each phone is $20/month and each device (tablet, MiFi, etc) is $10/month. The advertised prices do include these line access charges, see #5 below for more details.
#5 – Pricing Breakdowns
The pricing on the unlimited plan can be a little confusing. Here’s how it breaks down.
A single line is advertised at $80/month. This is made up of a $65/month fee for the unlimited data, a $20 line access fee, and then a $5 auto-pay discount. If you do not enroll in auto-pay, your cost will be $85/month.
Two lines is advertised at $70/month. This comes out to $110/month for unlimited data, two $20 line access fees, and then a $10/month auto-pay discount. Without auto-pay, you will are billed $150/month for two lines.
Lines Three and Four are similar to two lines. The data package is still $110/month and your $20 line access fees are added to that. The auto-pay discount is still $10/month. For three lines you can expect to pay approximately $54/month per line ($160 / 3 lines = $53.33/line). The same thing applies to four lines. $110/month for data, four $20 line access fees, and a $10/month auto-pay discount ($180 / 4 lines = $45/line).
Finally, most folks have a device payment plan, your device payment plan will be added to these charges along with those lovely taxes and fees that Uncle Sam (and Verizon) like to add on to our phone bills.
For the sake of providing a real-world example, here is my billing breakdown since moving to the unlimited plan the first day it was offered. My account has two lines with two device payments (No tablets or separate MiFi devices).
|Taxes and Govt Fees||$3.00|
Interestingly enough, before switching to the Verizon Unlimited plan, I was paying for 24GB of monthly data. The cost was $110, exactly the same cost of the new Verizon Unlimited plan. All other charges are exactly the same, except for the new $10/month auto-pay discount. In my case, I’m now saving $10/month. What are your initial thoughts on the new Verizon Unlimited plan? Have you made the switch or are you thinking about it? What questions do you still have? Ask away in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer.