Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Verizon Will Soon Limit Their Unlimited Plans

Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica:

Verizon Wireless will start throttling video streams to resolutions as low as 480p on smartphones this week. Most data plans will get 720p video on smartphones, but customers won’t have any option to completely un-throttle video.

1080p will be the highest resolution provided on tablets, effectively ruling out 4K video on Verizon’s mobile network. Anything identified as a video will not be given more than 10Mbps worth of bandwidth. This limit will affect mobile hotspot usage as well.

Verizon started selling unlimited smartphone data plans in February of this year, and the carrier said at the time that it would deliver video to customers at the same resolution used by streaming video companies. “We deliver whatever the content provider gives us. We don’t manipulate the data,” Verizon told Ars in February.

A brief aside: regular readers will be aware of how much I adore the strenuous euphemisms and clear contradictions that PR departments use for announcements like these. Verizon’s press release is actually titled “Verizon Unlimited”, the word “unlimited” is used twenty-two times, and the release contains a reference to business customers using jet packs without worrying about data costs — last I checked, jet packs are actually fairly bandwidth-friendly.

I think this is silly. Video is data just like anything else. Yes, it requires a much more robust network, but that’s something Verizon should have arguably been building out anyway. At the very least, this should not be billed as “unlimited”, when that’s clearly untrue.