Verizon to start throttling video streaming to as low as 480p tomorrow

State of Mobile Networks: USA - OpenSignal

State of Mobile Networks: USA - OpenSignal

That figure is slightly higher for tablets, at 720p, but 1080p is out of the question on both devices. Most carriers only throttle you after you reach a certain data threshold, but Verizon's can be at any point in your billing cycle. It's still a step backwards for many customers, though, and the throttling at all tiers means you'll still have to hunt for WiFi to get the best possible quality. Anything identified as a video will not be given more than 10Mbps worth of bandwidth.

When Verizon started offering unlimited smartphone data plans back at the beginning of the year, it said it didn't impose limits on video streaming quality. Verizon indicated then that "we deliver whatever the content provider gives us". Mike Haberman, Verizon's VP of network support, told me that the data from Ookla and OpenSignal "doesn't line up at all with what I see", said that congestion "is not an issue" for Verizon, and that the network is "stronger than ever".

Before this change, Verizon's unlimited plan had cost $80 for one line and the data plan placed no limits on mobile video streaming. Verizon is also scrapping the feature that offered free calls, text, and data in Mexico and Canada on this tier.

Verizon claims that there is no such difference between 720p on phone and 1080p on a tablet.

Customers on the previous unlimited plan will be grandfathered into the Beyond Unlimited plan. "The move also follows a trend of differentiating unlimited plans to manage congestion and monetize the network". These customers get the benefit of avoiding overage charges and strict monthly caps, but they won't get the same video quality as customers who either have a limited data plan or splurge for the "Beyond Unlimited" plan.

The limitations to the cheaper plan only apply to data use.

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If you're a Verizon subscriber and love to watch videos online, we have some bad news. The Mbps will presumably be lower than that in cases where Verizon limits video to 480p or 720p.

Go Unlimited includes unlimited LTE data, but with a giant catch: Verizon can throttle you whenever the network is congested. The largest U.S. carrier is trying to justify this by saying that more than 96 percent of its users have never watched a 4K video. You can spring for the business or Beyond plans to get LTE speeds, but only for the first 10GB or 15GB, respectively. But for now, mobile customers with high-res displays will have to deal with lesser quality video than ever before.

The three new plans are Go Unlimited ($75 for one line), Beyond Unlimited ($85 for the first line) and Business Unlimited (various prices).

"We're doing this to ensure all customers have a great experience on our network since there is no visible difference in quality on a smartphone or tablet when video is shown at higher resolutions than 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets". If everyone is streaming video over the network while waiting at the airport, for example, that's going to put the crunch on the network.

RootMetrics, another testing firm, has consistently found that Verizon's network offers better overall reliability and speed than its competitors.

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