On Monday, wireless giant Verizon VZ announced its return to unlimited data, and will offer its subscribers the coveted plan after the company joined its rivals several years ago in leaving behind these types of data plans. As a result, shares of AT&T T, Sprint S, and T-Mobile TMUS are slipping, down 1.06%, 1%, and 2.73% in mid-morning trading, respectively.
Beginning today, Verizon’s unlimited data plan will be available on smartphones and tablets on its 4G LTE network, as well as for video streaming, hotspots, and calls to Mexico and Canada. The plan starts at $80 per month for an individual plan, or $45 per line for a group of four separate lines. Both new and existing subscribers are able to sign up.
“We’ve built our network so we can manage all the activity customers undertake. Everything we’ve done is to provide the best experience on the best network – and we’ve built it for the future, not just for today,” said Ronan Dunne, president of Verizon’s wireless division. “We also fundamentally want you to have more choice. We’re not limiting you to a single plan. If you don’t need unlimited data, we still have 5 GB, S, M, and L Verizon plans that are perfect for you.”
However, there’s a catch: after customers reach 22GB of data, Verizon may prioritize these subscribers’ data behind other customers during network congestion. This is similar to what AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile do before they too begin to manage connection speeds.
Intense rivalry has been the norm in the wireless sector for a while now, with aggressive pricing competition and higher promotional activities plaguing Verizon. The company’s return to unlimited data is likely a move to try and retain customers and spur growth in 2017, emphasizing the heightened contest within the industry.