Verizon's 4 new unlimited plans come with a surprising price cut
Options are great, but they can also lead to confusion.
Eli BlumenthalSenior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise5G, mobile networks, wireless carriers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, streaming platforms, mobile and console gaming,
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unlimited plans are getting an update. On Friday, the nation's largest carrier announced that it would be doing away with its current Go, Above and Beyond unlimited plans in favor of four replacements: an entry-level Start Unlimited, Play More Unlimited, Do More Unlimited and high-end Get More Unlimited. The plans become available on Monday.
All four plans offer a $5 discount compared with their equivalent earlier plans. Start (which replaces Go) starts at $70 for a single line; Play More and Do More (which replace Above as the middle plan) both start at $80 for a single line; while Get More (which replaces Above) starts at $90. The Go, Above and Beyond plans cost $75, $85 and $95, respectively. You can see a full unlimited pricing breakdown here.
The $5 discount carries through the more lines you add to your account, so an account with four Go lines paying $160 per month today would pay $140 if they updated to the Start plan, assuming in both cases bills were paid using AutoPay. Taxes and fees on all plans are not included.
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The new plans offer consumers one option more than they had before -- even at the risk that the different configurations could cause confusion. You'll need to closely examine the finer points of each plan to figure out which one is right for you. As with earlier Verizon plans, you can mix and match service depending on what each line of your account needs. For example, you could have two Start plans, one Play More and one Get More.
The option for 5G will cost $10 more a month on every plan, although Verizon is holding a limited promotion to waive the fee for its Play More, Do More and Get More plans.
There is no end date for when this "limited time offer" might expire, but Angie Klein, Verizon's vice president of marketing, tells CNET that those who take advantage of this promotion and purchase a 5G device today will be able to keep 5G access at no additional charge.
Verizon is also adding new discounts for having five lines or more on all four new plans, allowing for an additional $5 discount on top of the four-line price. Five lines on Start would be $150 under the new structure, as opposed to $200 if all five were on a Go plan.
While more competitive on price, Verizon still isn't as affordable as some of its rivals. At a starting price of $70 for a single line with unlimited data, Verizon's new Start plan is in line with the cheapest single-line unlimited plan offered by rival AT&T, however, it is still $10 pricier than T-Mobile and Sprint's respective entry-level plans.
The same breakdown is true when comparing each carrier's respective step-up middle plans, with Verizon matching AT&T's higher-end plan price for a single line (AT&T only has two versions of unlimited) while still being $10 pricier than T-Mobile or Sprint's middle options.
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In addition to price, Verizon is tweaking what each plan will come with.
The basic Start plan doesn't get any hotspot capabilities, whereas the current Go plan offered mobile hotspot but capped speeds at a 3G-like 600Kbps. 5G access is now available on the cheapest plan, but it will cost you $10 extra per line (in addition to the requirement of a compatible 5G phone), making it a better option to just step up to a Do More or Play More plan where you get additional features.
Verizon knows this. The 5G access price, Klein says, is "establishing that $10 price point in the market," adding that, "it won't be something that we would ever allow a customer to do without unlocking more value in taking either Play More or Do More."
Features like unlimited
data, a six-month trial of
, streaming at 480p, and unlimited talk and text in the US, Mexico and Canada remain the same on the Start plan, though the unlimited data will be slowed during times of "congestion" on the network such as in a heavily populated area like a stadium or mall.
Verizon has broken up the middle-tier Above plan into the Play More and Do More plans.
Both plans are priced the same, and come with unlimited hotspot data with 15GB at 4G LTE speeds and unlimited talk and text in the US, Mexico and Canada.
The differences are tied to their names. The Play More plan is geared toward entertainment, offering 25GB of 4G LTE phone data before it can be slowed and streaming video in 720p HD. It also includes a subscription to Apple Music.
The Do More plan is aimed at productivity, offering 50GB of 4G LTE phone data before it can be slowed and a discount of 50% off when adding a tablet or Jetpack portable hotspot unlimited plan. Streaming video, however, is limited to 480p and there is no bundled Apple Music subscription, just a six-month trial.
The priciest plan, Get More, replaces the Above unlimited option and combines the features of Do More and Play More. It will deliver 75GB of 4G LTE phone data before it'll be slowed, up to 30GB of 4G LTE hotspot data, 720p HD streaming, a subscription to Apple Music and 50% off when adding a tablet or Jetpack mobile hotspot to your plan.
As with the other Verizon plans, it also has unlimited talk and text in the US, Mexico and Canada. The Do More and Get More plans also come with 500GB of storage in Verizon's Cloud service.
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