Verizon’s 5G upgrade imposes new hotspot data limits on older phone plans

A Verizon 5G sign.

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Verizon says the January 19 launch of 5G on its C-Band spectrum will bring fast wireless speeds to 100 million people in the US—far outstripping the limited geographic reach of its millimeter-wave spectrum that provides even faster 5G speeds. But there is a drawback for people who currently have unlimited 5G hotspot data on the millimeter-wave network: a monthly data cap on hotspot usage.

For the “Beyond Unlimited” Verizon smartphone plan that has existed for a few years, customers currently have 15GB of hotspot data at 4G LTE speeds and unlimited “5G Ultra Wideband” hotspot data. Going forward, the C-Band and millimeter-wave spectrum will both be included in what Verizon calls Ultra Wideband, and Verizon will no longer provide unlimited Ultra Wideband hotspot data to those who currently have it. Beyond Unlimited plan subscribers will instead get a total of 15GB of high-speed hotspot data regardless of which network slice they’re using and will face hotspot data slowdowns after using that up.

Practically speaking, this may not be a big change for many people because Verizon’s millimeter-wave 5G spectrum has such limited geographic availability to begin with, and the unlimited hotspot data only applies to the use of that spectrum. But it’s always good to be aware of changes, given how convoluted Verizon’s service plans tend to be, and it might make sense for some people to switch to newer plans with hotspot limits of either 25GB or 50GB.

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