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Verizon Revives Unlimited Data Plan (But There’s A Catch)

After pulling the plug on unlimited data (having suggested that customers don’t need more than 5GB per month), Verizon Wireless now appears to have capitulated to competitive pressure from fellow mobile carriers and has resurrected an unlimited everything plan.

The official reason: Verizon’s “fundamental” desire for customers to have more choices, plus network upgrades that now “can manage all the activity customers undertake,” explained division president Ronan Dunne.

This time, the cost is $80 a month for one line or $45 per line for four under a family plan, taxes and fees excluded.

By comparison, T-Mobile, which led the way in ending data overage fees, charges $70 for one line and $40 per line for four, with taxes and fees now included.

Still, both companies have catches: Verizon warns that it could begin throttling heavy data users after 22GB of consumption within a month (28GB for T-Mo), while the crimson carrier regularly down-converts video streams to 480p.

[Update: T-Mobile has since announced a lift of it SD streaming restrictions, and is throwing in 10GB/month of high-speed tethering, both at no extra charge, in response to Verizon’s announcement, effective Feb.  17.]

No. 4 carrier Sprint also offers an unlimited data plan with 480p video, at $50 for one line and $90 for up to five lines, while AT&T’s unlimited data offering is only available to its DirecTV Now or U-verse subscribers.

Verizon’s latest data play follows last week’s report from wireless service tracker OpenSignal indicating that its LTE network is now essentially tied in speed and coverage with T-Mobile’s. (T-Mobile reports its fourth-quarter results tomorrow, Feb. 14.)

However, as 

The Huffington Post points out

, U.S. carriers rank 68th in 4G speed worldwide, behind Jordan and just ahead of Cambodia, while other countries offer high-speed data at a fraction of the cost here at home.