Report: Verizon Smartphone Video Streams Capped at 720p

By Angela Moscaritolo Features PCmag

Unlimited data returned to Verizon in February, but the carrier reportedly has some changes in the works, and you might not like them.

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The carrier is splitting its unlimited data plan into three different options, according to Ars Technica and The Verge. Instead of charging $80 per month for unlimited data, talk, and text, Verizon will now offer unlimited service starting at $75 for a single line.

That might sound like a good thing, considering it's $5 cheaper than before, but there's a huge caveat to this new "Go Unlimited" option: Verizon will throttle all smartphone video streaming to DVD-quality 480p and cap tablet streaming at 720p, the news outlets report.

For $10 more a month, you can opt for Verizon's new "Beyond Unlimited" plan, which will get you 720p streams on your smartphone and full HD 1080p streams on your tablet. There's also a new "Business Unlimited" plan for four lines or more that also reportedly caps video streaming to DVD-quality.

Of note is that the new video throttling rules—720p video streams on phones and 1080p on tablets—will affect all customers, not just those on an unlimited plan.

"Moving forward, HD video on all legacy plans will also match Beyond Unlimited's HD quality," Verizon reportedly said.

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Verizon did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment, but these changes are slated to go into effect starting tomorrow, according to the reports.

"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)," Verizon told The Verge.

As a side note, you'll also need to sign up for paper-free billing and AutoPay to lock in the $75 or $85 monthly prices for Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited. If not, you'll pay $5 more a month.

News of these changes comes after Verizon customers in July reported speed caps on Netflix's Fast.com speed tool, as well as YouTube. The issue first came to light on a Reddit thread in which a user said he was getting capped at 10-12Mbps on Fast.com, the speed test website Netflix launched last year, while tests on Ookla's Speedtest app produced results up to three times faster. Later, similar problems were reported on YouTube.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.