Two months ago, Verizon implemented a change to all of its unlimited data plans that placed limits on the quality at which users could stream video. The company split its unlimited plan into two tiers, with the cheaper option restricting video streaming to 480p resolution; a higher-priced $85 “Beyond Unlimited” plan tops out at 720p video on smartphones (and 1080p on tablets). The new restrictions immediately applied to all plans and Verizon customers had no way of opting out if they wanted to watch 1080p video on their phone or even higher resolutions on capable devices using mobile data. But now Verizon will give subscribers a way to completely remove the video quality handcuffs — for an extra $10 every month.
If you’re willing to pay that $10 charge, you can stream video at the maximum quality supported by any device you’ve got connected to Verizon, whether it’s 1080p, 1440p, or even 4K. But keep in mind that the extra fee is applied per line for anyone on a family plan who wants to lift the limits. Even on a single-line plan, it adds up. Tacking $10 onto Verizon’s Beyond Unlimited ratchets up the monthly price to $95.
The $10 add-on will be available beginning November 3rd.
It’s particularly hard to swallow this extra charge when none of these video streaming constraints existed in the first place on Verizon only three months ago when there was only one unlimited plan, but here we are. You’re paying more money to get back to full quality video.
None of this is a concern when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. And Verizon would tell you that very few customers have been complaining since the 720p ceiling was put in place for smartphones. But this trend of US carriers quietly muddying and restricting mobile video is really starting to feel equal parts annoying and scammy.
How much does it cost to watch full-quality video on T-Mobile?
T-Mobile customers must have the T-Mobile One Plus plan to watch HD video, which starts at $80 / month for a single-line plan. For a full 4-line family plan, it would be $50 per line. The regular T-Mobile One plan is limited to 480p or “DVD quality.”
What about AT&T?
AT&T’s Unlimited Plus plan, which is the one you need for HD video streaming, costs $90 for one line or $50 / line for 4 lines.
Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom allows video quality streaming up to 1080p on mobile data and starts at $60 per month for a single line. If you want to watch at a higher quality than 1080p, it’s an extra $10 per month.
*Most of these prices include discounts for setting up auto-pay and paperless billing.