Verizon launched the $80 unlimited prepaid plan this week and we've found that it actually isn't as limitless as they would have you believe.
The gist of the deal is basically that customers get unlimited talk, text, and data for $80 per month, and no contract or credit check is required. This includes texting to 200 international markets, as well as unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada. Speaking about the new plan, Tami Erwin, Executive Vice President of Operations for Verizon, said in a news release:
In just months, Verizon has transformed its prepaid offerings to make it easier and more affordable for customers to get access to the best network at a great value, no matter how much data they need. This plan is all about giving our prepaid customers more choice. With data plans from as little as 2 GB to unlimited data, we've got a plan that fits your needs.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Yep. Totally is. You may be able to hit up your pals in Canada, but this comes at a price: video streaming is limited to 480p and hotspot tethering is not included in the package.
But that's not all. Your data might be de-prioritized by default if the network you're using becomes too congested, which isn't exactly the most convenient stipulation to an unlimited plan.
Basically, Verizon's contracted $80 unlimited plan (which includes HD video streaming, 10 GB of LTE speed tethering, and only de-prioritizes data after 22 GB of usage) is better in every single way than this offering. The $80 prepaid unlimited plan joins a host of other deals, including 2 GB for $40, 5 GB for $50, and 10 GB for $70.
Verizon is obviously trying to wriggle into the prepaid space dominated by T-Mobile, given the latter's prepaid plan with unlimited data. However, T-Mobile's deal is $5 cheaper than Verizon's and a whole lot better.
With the T-Mobile ONE Prepaid plan, customers get unlimited tethering at 3G speeds and data is only de-prioritized after you've used 30 GB. As with Verizon's prepaid option, T-Mobile's also limits video playback to 480p. Still, it certainly sounds like a better value for your money to us.
It's no surprise that Verizon is now offering an unlimited prepaid plan when you consider how its customer base has depleted. In the past fiscal year, Verizon lost 289,000 cell phone subscribers and about 307,000 subscribers overall. This resulted in a 5% revenue drop to $20.9 billion.
That probably explains why they decided to release their own unlimited option in February which is more expensive than Sprint and T-Mobile's, but equal to AT&T. It also indicates that there is some methodology to their latest unlimited offering.
Gadget Hacks previously reported that T-Mobile's aggressive advertising strategy was working to the detriment of Verizon's customer base. And it certainly looks like the latest unlimited prepaid plan is just a knee-jerk reaction to stem the flow of subscribers abandoning ship.