Verizon to start throttling video streaming to as low as 480p tomorrow

State of Mobile Networks: USA - OpenSignal

Verizon's customers will no longer have the option to watch 1080p video on their smartphones thanks to a move from the carrier this week to permanently throttle streaming quality on handsets. 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.

"These plans give you the best unlimited choices, but you also get what only Verizon can give you: the best network, the best rewards program, the best way to manage your plan with the My Verizon app and the best selection of phones and devices", the company proclaimed in an announcement. So the only reasonable explanation I can see for throttling video to 1080p - even on the most expensive plan - is that it was causing problems for the network.

Go Unlimited: Video capped to 480p on smartphones, 720p on tablets.

Mobile hotspot speeds are limited to a meager 600kbps. Calling and texting to Canada and Mexico are included on the plan.

For an extra $10 per month on the Beyond Unlimited plan, customers will get unlimited 4G data that will only be slowed in instances of congestion after 22 GB of usage in one month (though that cap jumps to 25 GB for customers who sign a two-year contract). You have to spend a couple extra bucks on an add-on to get HD video and a usable mobile hotspot allowance.

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And of course, Verizon is trying to spin this as being a good thing for customers.

The plan will only allow 720p streaming on phones, 1080p on tablets. Video streaming while tethered is also limited to 1080p. Users exceeding 22GB of data use could be given reduced speeds, but were free to stream at whatever resolution desired even if it meant waiting for buffering. If everyone is streaming video over the network while waiting at the airport, for example, that's going to put the crunch on the network. But for now, mobile customers with high-res displays will have to deal with lesser quality video than ever before. "RootMetrics confirmed it again last month". At the time, Verizon stated, "We've been doing network testing over the past few days to optimize the performance of video applications on our network.The test was across the board, and did not target any individual applications". "Our network has never been stronger", Klein said.

Earlier, Verizon customers were using VPN to circumvent throttling practice for streaming services like Netflix and YouTube.

Now, it appears that Verizon's throttling "tests" have been extended to a full-blown implementation across its network.

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