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Cellphones Businesses Communications

Shamed In Super Bowl Ads, Verizon Introduces Unlimited Data Plans (theverge.com) 172

A surprise announcement Sunday revealed that tomorrow Verizon will begin offering introductory plans with unlimited data.*

* Customers "will get full LTE speeds until they reach 22GB of usage," reports The Verge, "after which they'll be subject to reduced data speeds and de-prioritization."

An anonymous reader writes: Other carriers have similar limits. "For Sprint it's 23GB. T-Mobile has a slightly higher threshold of 26GB... AT&T matches Verizon at 22GB," reports The Verge. Verizon says their cap is "to ensure a quality experience for all customers... While we don't expect to do that very often, network management is a crucial tool that benefits all Verizon customers." The $80-a-month plan also includes hotspot tethering -- up to 10 gigabytes -- and "includes 'HD' video as opposed to the 480p/DVD-quality video that T-Mobile One customers get by default."

In a Sunday YouTube video, the head of Verizon's wireless effort says customer interviews found "Some of the heavier users of data -- the power users -- had data anxiety." But it's still a surprising move. Engadget reports that in the past Verizon "frequently tried its hardest to discourage unlimited data users," but today is "facing stiff competition from T-Mobile, which engineered a dramatic comeback in recent years and upped the ante by making unlimited data standard through the One plan."

Verizon's pricing was also targeted heavily last week in a barrage of Super Bowl ads by both Sprint and T-Mobile just last Sunday. T-Mobile showed a masochistic woman calling Verizon just to enjoying hearing about the overages, taxes and fees she incurred by exceeding her data limit, while Sprint showed a man who was trying to escape his Verizon contract by faking his own death.
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Shamed In Super Bowl Ads, Verizon Introduces Unlimited Data Plans

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  • Bull shit (Score:3, Informative)

    by fnj ( 64210 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @08:01PM (#53853033)

    So the unlimited plan is NOT unlimited. Filthy lying bastards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MightyYar ( 622222 )

      It's unlimited, but once you hit the threshold of 22GB, they throttle your speeds. Same as T-Mobile, and a huge improvement over the overage charges.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It's unlimited, but once you hit the threshold of 22GB, they throttle your speeds.

        Then it is not unlimited. The FTC really should ban these companies from using such blatantly misleading terms.

        • Re: Bull shit (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The data is unlimited, not the speed. No FTC required here.

          • The data is unlimited, not the speed.

            That is sophistry. If the speed is limited, then obviously the data is as well.

            No FTC required here.

            The word "unlimited" has a common, everyday meaning that is understood by nearly everyone. Advertisers should not be allowed to make up a new meaning that is basically the opposite.

            • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

              The word "unlimited" has a common, everyday meaning that is understood by nearly everyone. Advertisers should not be allowed to make up a new meaning that is basically the opposite.

              Exactly, I don't see why the FTC allows carriers to advertise limited plans as "unlimited".

              Let them call them "high-limit plans", like they are. They can even call it "Super-mega-ultra limit" if they want to, but letting them advertise "unlimited" plans that have limits just dilutes the word "unlimited", and it will spill over into other areas.

              "Unlimited miles with every car rental! (limited to 100 miles at full speed, afterwards car will be limited to 15mph unless customer pays 25 cents/mile "full-speed" s

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                I think most people understand that unlimited means within reason. Unlimited coffee refills doesn't mean it's served from a firehose. And even if they did you'd complain that it was being served from a 1.5" hose instead of 2", because 1.5" is still limited!

            • If the speed is limited, then obviously the data is as well.

              The word used is "unlimited", not "infinite". Obviously, you can't use more than (line speed * time). This means roughly ~31TB monthly on a 100Mbit connection.

              Anything below that, allowing some natural congestion, is an artificial cap, and thus shouldn't be labelled as "unlimited".

            • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

              Ultimately, there is a limit imposed by physical laws, but we don't ban anyone from using the term unlimited due to such restrictions. Similarly, in this context, the amount of data transferred is only limited by speed, and not by any inherent limit in the amount itself. The term is perfectly fine for those who understand English.

              • Ultimately, there is a limit imposed by physical laws, but we don't ban anyone from using the term unlimited due to such restrictions. Similarly, in this context, the amount of data transferred is only limited by speed, and not by any inherent limit in the amount itself. The term is perfectly fine for those who understand English.

                Thus, unlimited = unlimited speed (-natural congestion and system load) and volume of data transferred, until data transferred > $LIMIT; then unlimited = limited speed (-natural congestion and system load) and volume of data transferred

                Understood, and us techies get it. To the commoner, though, it would seem that they have word play to work with and DO (probably just to win, even though they don't need to).

                When they get unlimited = unlimited speed and data transferred (-natural congestion and system loa

            • Then what would qualify as "unlimited"? Because LTE speeds aren't infinite either. No mobile phone technology has the ability to provide unlimited bandwidth?

              I think a reasonable criticism is that they're not using the word "unlimited" in the same sense that T-Mobile is (who will allow LTE access over the soft-limit, but will deprioritize your data when the tower is congested), and perhaps there needs to be a common definition. But it is unlimited in the consumer sense of "I will always be able to use dat

              • Then what would qualify as "unlimited"? Because LTE speeds aren't infinite either. No mobile phone technology has the ability to provide unlimited bandwidth?

                I think a reasonable criticism is that they're not using the word "unlimited" in the same sense that T-Mobile is (who will allow LTE access over the soft-limit, but will deprioritize your data when the tower is congested), and perhaps there needs to be a common definition. But it is unlimited in the consumer sense of "I will always be able to use data, and not worry about overages."

                Agreed. It would be nice for everyone to hear "limitation = lower priority when tower is congested, but not all of the time". Then they have nothing to bitch about unless they have a problem with heavy data usage, which we would all love to hear an explanation of. :)

            • They're "unlimited" plans. This started in a time where many plans would charge you $50 for going over your data limit--and many still do throw $10 or $30 charges at you the minute you go a byte over your limit. These plans let you run data forever, but will throttle after exceeding a high-speed allotment.

              If they say "unlimited high-speed data", they're lying unless you can run at max 24/7.

        • This FTC? They're not doing anything about this in the next four years.

      • With T-Mobile, I was paying $69/month for unlimited voice and text, including a $5/month add-on for 2GB high-speed data.

        I switched to Ting, which bills by usage, and frequently paid $40/month for using more than 100 minutes and text messages. Used 375-900MB of data (data saver was off on that last one) so paid $10 for data. Still cheaper than T-Mobile directly.

        I recently switched to Mintsim. $199/year plus 3% regulatory fees ($6) means I pay $205 each year up-front and get 12 months, unlimited voice,

        • T-Mobile also sells pre-pay. I'm an anti-social nerd so I have the "Walmart" $30/month plan that includes 5GB of 4G data (unlimited 2G), unlimited texts, and only 100 minutes of talk. I typically spend an additional $5-$15/month on minutes for a total worst-case of $45/month + tax. My wife uses hardly any data, but does a lot of talking. We avoided smartphones and did the unlimited talk and text plan for $35, but last year her old flip phone died and I couldn't find a decent replacement so we got her a Moto

          • The Mintsim 5GB plan is $300/year or $25/month. It's not that much more, although you're sucking extra minutes. I bought into the 3-month deal to save money and to test if I wanted to keep this carrier first, because I'm not investing in a year if it's going to be shit-quality; so far it's been as decent as Ting or T-Mobile.

            Verizon has a network just as good as T-Mobile's. Some areas of the country are absolute shit on Verizon; others are absolute shit on T-Mobile. The carrier of choice depends on wh

            • Verizon has some frequencies that are lower and penetrate obstacles better. In urban areas and on highways everything is about equal, but if you end up even slightly out in the country (and in the Philly area that happens surprisingly fast... Amish in no time), Verizon ends up being much more dependable. I personally don't care, but I could not recommend T-Mobile to my contractor friend, who frequently ends up in basements and travels outside of urban areas to pick up supplies (quarries, reclaimed wood, etc

              • I've frequently suggested people buy a GSM repeater for about $250 if they have that issue, largely because it's happened to me in situations where I can sometimes flicker Edge on and off and catch LTE+ for 1 bar in the right spot. Paying $200/year versus $800/year kind of makes that economical.

                You would think HOAs would want to add on-pole towers for major carriers so as to maximize cell phone signal, but mostly they just all buy Verizon or AT&T or whatever already works there. Weird because the car

                • "Hi I'm Bob your contractor, can I just plug this contraption in upstairs since I'm too cheap to have a phone that works?"

                  Yeah... I don't think that would work for him. He writes it all off anyway.

                  For your own house, sure. But plugging it in at clients' houses is not really practical. Plus it doesn't fill in the dead spots on the road.

                  • "Writing it off" means you pay 70%. You tell the IRS that's not income, and they don't tax you on it.

                    Contractors show up with shitloads of equipment, and they want to plug it in all over the house. What's one more piece of equipment?

                    • Why are you fixated on one relatively small part of the problem? Even if he were comfortable asking homeowners to let him plug in network devices in areas of the house he's not necessarily working in, it still wouldn't help the rural/industrial area coverage problems.

                    • The stated problem was that the contractor goes into a basement and signal goes away, whereas Verizon has frequencies that penetrate better. That problem is actually understated: modern building practices for new and retrofit construction are using up to 8 inches of insulation cladding, often foil-faced, along with radiant barriers in the roof; these can be effectively opaque to cell phone signals, and so the problem will likely increase in the future.

                      If you live in an area where T-Mobile doesn't have d

                    • The stated problem

                      That was only half of the stated problem. The other was coverage in remote areas.

                      But I'll try again to help you understand why plugging in an adapter wouldn't be practical. For his work crews, sure, maybe one of the guys could bother the homeowner with a doo-dad. For his work crews, the guys frankly don't need to be using their phones very much - they are on the clock. But for "Bob", he's popping in to the various crews over the course of the day. He needs to be reachable by clients at all times, and he isn

                    • You're doing a lot of "why you can't," and I do a lot of "how do we get around that?"

                      As I said: for those areas where you actually have coverage, the basement thing is easily-resolved by a repeater. When Bob pops in to see his work crews, there will be a repeater if they've set up a repeater, so proposing that they could do that but then that he won't have signal when he gets there is ludicrous.

                      Further, work crews working in areas without electricity use air or electrical tools powered by a portable ge

                    • so proposing that they could do that but then that he won't have signal when he gets there is ludicrous.

                      Depending on the work crew to have the same repeater that you need is what is ludicrous. Roughly a 1 in 3 chance - and that's assuming that they'd even be bothered... I've never been asked to hang a repeater and I suspect it is not a very common practice. He's not supplying his crews with phones and he's sure as hell not giving them all $300+ repeaters just to save $30/month on a phone bill. Payback period of 30 months or so is not very cost-effective.

                      Further, work crews working in areas without electricity use air or electrical tools powered by a portable generator.

                      They often use batteries now. If they do have a generato

    • Well sorta. I have a similar plan (though with much less than 22GB, and at much lower cost.) There is no "limit" per se - it won't stop working, and there will be no charge for going over. It does get slower if I use more than the x GB I get at high speed. It's NOT "unlimited high speed data", it's "unlimited data, and 22GB at high speed".

      Half of this makes perfect sense. If you have a family-style dinner, everyone gets a plate before anyone gets "seconds". You don't take four or five pieces of chicken u

      • Half of this makes perfect sense. If you have a family-style dinner, everyone gets a plate before anyone gets "seconds".

        If there's not enough for everyone to make a plate and get enough to eat, then it doesn't matter what rules you make. Ultimately, at least some people are going to go hungry.

        • True, there's no such thing as unlimited resources, but of course you knew that already.

          As far as "go hungry", I see there are plenty of beans, potatoes, and 3G casserole left, so you don't have to leave hungry just because you would have preferred a (fourth) chicken wing.

          • It may be interesting to note here what one of the finite resources *is*, as it points to a clear solution.

            Suppose a wireless carrier had unlimited money to spend running 10Gb fiber lines to each tower, so the wired infrastructure was unlimited. What *is* limited, if we're willing to spend unlimited money, to pay $5,000/month for LTE data service?

            "Bandwidth" is a term that predates computers. It means literally the width of the frequency band a system operates on. For example, a particular wireless carrier

  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @08:06PM (#53853053) Homepage Journal
    Carriers just don't get it (or they do get it and won't admit it). All we want is for them to be a dumb pipe. Connect us to the network and then GET OUT OF THE WAY.
    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @08:53PM (#53853253)
      No, they understand it perfectly. Why have a highly competitive market where each carrier rushes to sell consumers low-cost access to the information super highway when they can trap people on their own private dirt road with toll booths every 200 feet? At least with the cellular carriers its possible to have some choice in provider whereas with cable companies have a government protected monopoly in most locations leaving almost no alternative.
    • Verizon does absolutely everything within their power to keep from becoming a dumb pipe. Sprint would be happy to do nothing but be a dumb pipe, which is why they have such lousy customer service (maybe their new CEO changed things, I don't know).
  • AD shaming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _xanthus_47 ( 2612937 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @08:11PM (#53853075)
    I always thought it was interesting that you can mention another product by name in a TV spot here in America. It is actually illegal in some other countries. You can't name a competitor directly. So most of the time you are left with references to a white box with a generic label like"Product X" or similar. The way they talk about it though, usually makes it clear which other company they are referring to. American advertisers do not have to go through such a loophole.
    • Hmmm. Formerly, US cigarette and liquor companies could advertise using television commercials, and lawyers were forbidden from using the media. Now the reverse is true, but there was a time in America when commercials were prone to compare their products to Brand X.

      Some of these anomalies are in the public interest, but others involve the rather fascist activity of powerful corporations lobbying the government to do their will.

      • They still do sometimes. It's risky to name your competitor in an advertisement, because you might accidentally advertise for the other company instead of for yourself.
        • I think you've got it. I remember a lot of "Brand X" advertising, esp'ly detergents & other commodities that are all more or less the same. Tide doesn't want to mention, well, any other brand. And it works. ATM I can't think of another brand.

          So, I don't think it was ever a gov't regulation. Also, I would imagine mentioning a specific brand could open a company up to litigation in some manner.

          • Detergents aren't all more-or-less the same. Powdered detergents clean better than liquid; liquids have more fragrance, but less color-safe bleaching agent and brightening agents. Gain's powdered detergents significantly out-perform every other well-known detergent on the market, and Tide holds a place above Arm and Hammer and other cheap generics. The new pod-style detergents are high-performers, with Tide frequently leading that particular market: they can incorporate powder and liquid in one pre-met

          • I think you've got it. I remember a lot of "Brand X" advertising, esp'ly detergents & other commodities that are all more or less the same. Tide doesn't want to mention, well, any other brand. And it works. ATM I can't think of another brand.

            So, I don't think it was ever a gov't regulation. Also, I would imagine mentioning a specific brand could open a company up to litigation in some manner.

            I know, right? When I see commercials comparing their product to another, that's pushed rationalization. It makes me curious about this other product that they are trying to overcome because, hell, it takes at least a commercial to do it, right? I then want to check out this other product. I think that's Human. Reverse logic is only effective if the person is oppositional, and we haven't come out with multiple commercials tailored to each personality type yet. I trademark that, BTW. :)

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      A few years ago it wasn't very common but in recent years they they have started doing it all the time I suppose to begin with they were concerned about being sued but then after they started doing it they just had so much fun everyone else joined in.

      Probably about 15 years ago.

    • If you think that advertising thing is weird, the US and New Zealand are the only countries that allow drug companies to advertise to consumers [reuters.com].

      "Your doctor went to school and trained for an absurdly long time and will know a lot better than you what meds you need, but fuck him! This is America! You want alexetrolium damnit! Look at how happy these people walking in slow motion are! That could be you! Tell Dr. Asshole you want alexetrolium now!"

      And then we wonder why we pay so much for healthcare...
      • by eWarz ( 610883 )
        No? What you described and what is allowed in the US are vastly different versions of each other. Drug companies ARE allowed to advertise their offerings, but they aren't allowed to claim they are recommended by doctors and must include all of the side effects, etc. Most drug commercials ere are depressing reminders for those of us who don't suffer from such conditions.
        • Yep. I've discussed similar with people, and seen comedians incorporate that stuff into their acts. The malady that is being treated must be a real sob to deal with to put up with the side effects.

          • Yep. I've discussed similar with people, and seen comedians incorporate that stuff into their acts. The malady that is being treated must be a real sob to deal with to put up with the side effects.

            I find it disgustingly humorous how every single medication to "help treat depression" has a known side effect percentage chance (per test group, of course) of development of suicidal tendencies. Well, I guess that gets rid of your depression..?

        • That's looking at it logically. But advertising works because people are not logical. You remember the drug and the happy people, you forget the side effects mention.

          And, I mean, if you don't suffer from the condition, of course you're not going to be susceptible to the ads.

          Look, if the ads didn't really work, why the hell would big pharma be running superbowl ads? They hate money?
        • No? What you described and what is allowed in the US are vastly different versions of each other. Drug companies ARE allowed to advertise their offerings, but they aren't allowed to claim they are recommended by doctors and must include all of the side effects, etc. Most drug commercials ere are depressing reminders for those of us who don't suffer from such conditions.

          I thought it was more of a "go see your doctor about product x", because the doctor gets a nice little bonus on the side (hush hush, you) for handing out samples and talking people into how great something is, until it's not so great anymore, then they can disavow all knowledge of their initial recommendation. Now I'm curious. I want to go to a slimy doctor who's in bed with the pharma, then check my records a few months later and see if they even mention the recommendation in them. *zips off*

      • So let's talk a little bit about psychiatric care.

        I don't see a lot of TV ads, but I do read a lot of stuff online and try to probe my doctors and psychiatrists for information. They can tell me what's dangerous; I tend to target things I can use chronically and overdose on without harming myself as a matter of risk control, and otherwise have to be very clear on the proper protocol of handling e.g. amphetamine, Welbutrin, or Ambien because that shit's actually dangerous. For comparison: Amphetamine w

    • I always thought it was interesting that you can mention another product by name in a TV spot here in America. It is actually illegal in some other countries. You can't name a competitor directly. So most of the time you are left with references to a white box with a generic label like"Product X" or similar. The way they talk about it though, usually makes it clear which other company they are referring to. American advertisers do not have to go through such a loophole.

      If you pay attention, most of those US commercials that compare Brand A to Brand B are actually comparing two products owned by the same conglomerate. They get a double bang for their buck on those kinds of ads because it tends to make people think that their only two options are A and B and either way that conglomerate picks up a sale. At least this is the case with household chemicals, diapers, etc

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      I always thought it was interesting that you can mention another product by name in a TV spot here in America. It is actually illegal in some other countries. You can't name a competitor directly. So most of the time you are left with references to a white box with a generic label like"Product X" or similar. The way they talk about it though, usually makes it clear which other company they are referring to. American advertisers do not have to go through such a loophole.

      I don't believe there is any law, just a fear of lawsuits. It is risky but it depends on the context. Presumably Superbowl ads are vetted by an entire team of lawyers.

      IIRC, one of the ads was along the lines of "99% of the coverage for significantly less cost". Hard for Verizon to find an argument worth litigating there. The difficult thing to prove (which network is superior) is admitted to be an advantage to Verizon. The claim is on the easier thing to prove (price). If Verizon litigated, they eit

  • by Sarusa ( 104047 ) on Monday February 13, 2017 @02:07AM (#53854425)

    'unlimited' data plan.

    This is especially bullshit because they HAD an unlimited data plan years ago and have spent the entire time since trying to kill it.

    They're just freaked out that T-Mobile is now cheaper AND has a better network.

  • ATT and tmobile ovver low cost unlimited plans what will Verizon charge?

  • This is capitalism at its very best! I'm happy to see that Verizon is being humbled. Still, it's no match for T-Mobile and MetroPCS. T-Mobile's network is getting better by leaps and bounds. Verizon's offer still isn't very compelling.
    • Cool to hear that T-Mobile's network is improving somewhere. I'm a T-Mobile customer visiting my parents in West Virginia. My phone stopped connecting to a tower after the first of the year.
    • Still, it's no match for T-Mobile and MetroPCS.

      No match in what regard? Both the T-Mobile and Sprint networks are still complete shit in many suburban and rural areas.

  • Thanks to a certain member of the US government, whose name I won't mention, the media is starting to realize they need to better fact-check the claims they are reporting. It's one thing to that someone said a thing. It's another to report that the thing is true (unless it's been verified as true). Fixing a headline doesn't require that much work. For example, instead of titling this "Verizon Introduces Unlimited Data Plans", it could be re-wored to "Verizon Advertises New Plan As Unlimited Data". There is

  • Wife and I live in the boonies; satellite is slow and unreliable--but we do get a Verizon 4G signal. So... cancel satellite and just tether the phone?...
    They say 1 line $80/mo Unlimited...

    But...then...they tell you a little more... [comments in brackets are mine].

    4G LTE only. We may manage your network usage to ensure a
    quality experience for all customers [we will oversell it], and may prioritize your data
    [no net neutrality] behind some Verizon customers during times/places of network
    congestion [we will

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