Yesterday, Verizon announced that it was splitting its Unlimited data plan into three choices. The three choices are: Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, and Business Unlimited. For many months now, Verizon has been getting customers to sign up to its widely popular data plan, a plan that had minima restrictions and the cost was surprisingly affordable. But the company decided to kill it yesterday.
Regardless of what plan you’re on, Verizon will now limit smartphone video streaming to 720p. So why did Verizon do this? Simply put, its network wasn’t able to keep up with the demand.
According to data released by two testing companies — OpenSignal and Ookla — Verizon was starting to lag behind in average network speed. Due to the number of users coming onto the unlimited data plan and usage, Verizon’s network was running into congestion during peak times in popular destinations. For example, if everyone is streaming video at a train station, it would really put stress on the network.
Take a look at this chart provided by Ookla:
As you can see, Verizon’s average speed took a big nose dive and lags behind both T-Mobile and AT&T. Their data speeds started to go down after the introduction of the unlimited data plan.
Proving that introduction of the new data plan slowed down Verizon’s network will be a bit difficult. Verizon does boast about the size and capacity of its network that it usually says it doesn’t have any issues and continues to best optimize.
If Verizon is good at optimizing its network, then why put so many restrictions in place? If Verizon’s unlimited data plan didn’t cause an issue, why split it up with even more fine print?
Verizon was bleeding customer to T-Mobile prior to the introduction of the former unlimited data plan. The company had strong Q2 results due to the unlimited data plan introduction. Verizon went as far to say that the introduction of Unlimited data plans is the reason why the company saw 356,000 new phone lines in Q2, as opposed to 86,000 during the same time year before.
Verizon’s handling of its unlimited data plan will give them even more issues in the future. Whether you’re on the grandfathered unlimited plan or former or even the new ones, you’re subject to video throttling regardless. The company states that it notices to real difference in 720p and 1080p video streaming when watching it on your phone.
All in all, it seems that Verizon’s network just couldn’t handle the new number of customers and usage that was occurring after it introduced the new unlimited plans.
As always, T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere was quick to jump and get on Verizon:
@Verizon just limited EVERYTHING about its “unlimited” plan…your network needs help! Just admit it already! pic.twitter.com/ccqPspHYMX
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) August 22, 2017