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On February 13th, Verizon revealed a new plan which includes unlimited data. While this is a huge benefit for some people, unlimited data isn’t needed by most users. For those that could use an unlimited plan, there has been some criticism of the plan’s limitations. Other companies like T-Mobile have had their own plans for a while now to compare it against as well. With conflicting ideas on these changes, should users move over to the new plan? Let’s take a minute to break it down.

Who Needs Unlimited Data?

Most people simply don’t need unlimited data plans. According to Verizon, their average user uses between 1GB and 2GB per month. WiFi available at work and home takes care of most users data needs as Verizon’s article suggests. The only people who really could use the unlimited plan are people who view and listen to a lot of media outside of these areas. Therefore grabbing an unlimited plan really doesn’t make much sense for a lot of people.

The Criticism

A note about Verizon's unlimited data plan.

Details of Verizon’s plan.

Amid the cheers for an unlimited option, some people are pointing out the fine print attached when signing up for Verizon’s new plan. When signing up, there is a note that after 22GB of data used, your data might be “prioritized” behind other users. After being burned by the “safety mode” feature of lesser plans, which slows a user’s speed down to an unusable amount, skeptics are concerned that it might play out the same way. In addition, on Verizon’s page, they clearly outline that after 10GB of tethering, speeds are dropped down to 3G speeds. This doesn’t work for things like YouTube, where they suggest 2.5MB/s to stream 720p.

A chart showing the recommended speeds for different video qualities.

Comparison

A note about T-Mobile unlimited data plan.

Details of T-Mobile’s plan.

Another widely hyped unlimited plan comes from T-Mobile. When you start to look at the fine print on their site, you find very similar wording. Instead of prioritization kicking in at 22GB, it comes in at 28GB.

In fact, T-Mobile quickly bumped their tethering limit to 10GB after Verizon made their announcement, what a move. T-Mobile does boast lower prices by having two lines offered for $100, compared to Verizon’s two line plan for $140 total.

The lower prioritization from T-Mobile is something that users report has very little impact on their speed. If the new plan from Verizon plays out similarly, there shouldn’t be any concerns. Where 3G for tethering is often times too slow to load media rich sites and content, hopefully Verizon’s network can handle it better than expected. It will be hard to tell until reports come in from real users as to how it will perform.

Verizon | 10GB tethering | Price Per Line:

Line 1: $80

Line 2: $70

Line 3: $54

Line 4: $45

T-Mobile | 10GB tethering | Price Per Line:

Line 1: $70

Line 2: $50

Line 3: $47

Line 4: $40

Conclusion

The unlimited plan isn’t original or innovative, however, it isn’t a horrible mess either. While it may be a far cry from the old unlimited plans that people crave, it is very comparable to other options available now.

Pros:

  • 22GB of high-speed access
  • 10GB of high-speed tethering access
  • No “Safety mode” slowdown

Cons:

  • More expensive that comparable plans
  • 3G speeds after the tethering limit is reached
  • Uncertainty of speeds after the 22GB soft cap

 

If you can, stick to WiFi areas to reduce data limits and pick the lowest plan that works for you.

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