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Verizon Gives Families Their Unlimited Data Plans Back, But For A Price

flickr / Tom Carmony

Over the summer Verizon pulled a total dad move and told users to get off their lawn. And by lawn, they meant unlimited data plan. Consumers may not have responded well to the ultimatum because this weekend the company announced the return of unlimited data — aka the cool uncle of data plans.

Starting February 13, Verizon will offer an “introductory” unlimited plan, now known as Verizon Unlimited. According to the company’s press release, subscribers can switch to the $80 per month plan that includes video streaming in HD, texting, and talking time. There’s also a $180 family plan for up to 4 separate lines. But like anything “unlimited” it’s important to read the fine print just as you would at a buffet (because you can’t blame Mr. Imperial for your food poisoning).

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First, the use of the word “introductory” could suggest some sneaky semantics — namely that the offer is for a limited time. The plan requires you to enroll in paper-free billing and autopay, so they’re saving you paper on multiple levels, but being kind of pushy about it. Customers who use more than 22GB in a month will see their network speed diminish and your little data junkie ain’t got no time for that. Finally, consumers who want to add Verizon’s Mobile Hotspot, or tethering, for $25 can use 10GB on 4G LTE. This is separate from your 22GB, but if you go over 10GB, your speed will similarly slow down.

This new plan is likely a response to similar plans rolled out by smaller competitors like T-Mobile and Sprint. But Verizon has a reputation for having the best network reliability, speed, and data performance. Now that they’re jumping back into the unlimited data pool, other big guys like AT&T could follow suit. At the very least, this hopefully means that the decline of unlimited service is over. Because testing your limits already your kid’s job.