Wireless carriers began taking away HD-quality video streaming from unlimited plans then giving it back as a $10 add-ons as early as last year, and now Verizon is following that trend. After caving to user demand and bringing back unlimited plans, Verizon decided two months ago to limit video streaming to 480p, or DVD quality. The HD streaming perk is part of the carrier's premium unlimited data package, called Beyond Unlimited, and carries a few other perks with it. Beyond Unlimited will allow customers to stream as much video as they want, with their video quality only limited by the device. Whether you're using a 4K-capable Sony Xperia or an old Galaxy S3 with a 720p screen, the price for the plan is the same.
Beyond Unlimited has been around for a little while, and the newest revision gives customers HD and higher streaming back after Verizon took it away from unlimited customers back in August. Along with video streaming in any resolution their device supports, customers can also take advantage of unlimited tethering without a data speed cap, and the ability to use your phone in Mexico and Canada as you would in America, though data gets capped to 2G speeds after using 500MB in a single day.
Video streaming is one of the biggest data use cases for large US carriers, and throttling or quality-limiting this activity has been a tradition among wireless carriers even before the unlimited plan renaissance of 2016, with T-Mobile pioneering the movement by way of its BingeOn service which zero-rated video in exchange for throttling it down to 480p quality. When the Un-Carrier did roll out unlimited data plans, it didn't take long for the plans to stipulate that HD video streaming was not included. The fact that Verizon took until August to crack on the issue, essentially admitting that its network simply didn't have what it took to support the increased activity, stands as a testament to the carrier's stubbornness in the face of T-Mobile re-integrating HD video streaming into its normal unlimited plans, with other carriers following up with similar moves. Verizon's solution, in this case, is a compromise that will allow interested users to pay the difference between themselves and users who aren't interested in HD video streaming.