Verizon updates 5G plans, adjusts wireless offerings to include Hulu and ESPN Plus


Verizon is tweaking its unlimited plans. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Verizon is changing up some of its offers, expanding its partnership with Disney and providing some details on who will be able to use its forthcoming nationwide 5G network. 

Revealed on Monday, the new changes include a “Disney bundle” for those on its Play More or Get More unlimited plans, adding in Disney Plus, Hulu (with ads) and ESPN Plus at no additional charge. 

Verizon previously offered Disney Plus for free for a year to users on its recent unlimited plans but did not include Hulu or ESPN Plus. Disney sells a bundle of all three services for $13 per month. 

There are no changes to pricing for any of the plans, which starts at $35 per month/per line for Start Unlimited for a family of four, $45 per month/per line for either Play More or Do More and $55 per month/per line for Get More. 

Those who want the free Disney bundle will need to opt into the new plans when they become available on Aug. 20. Verizon will not automatically switch current Play More or Get More users to the updated plans. 

Under the revised plans, new users on one of its other unlimited plans will be able to get a six-month Disney Plus free trial, though they won’t be able to stack the offer if they are already taking advantage of a different free Disney Plus promotion. 

Apple Music, which previously was included for free on Play More or Get More, is now only included on the Get More plan. New users will be able to get free Apple Music for six months but will then need to pay for it unless they are on a Get More plan.  

Those who do switch to the new Play More option will be able to get Disney services for free, but they’ll lose the free Apple Music unless they upgrade to a Get More plan. Those already using Apple Music will similarly not be able to start a six-month free trial if they switch their Verizon plan. 

As with other Verizon unlimited plans, those with multiple lines can take advantage of the carrier’s “Mix and Match” feature and switch just one line to a new Play More or Get More plan to get the free Disney bundle while leaving the other lines as they were. 

Since the Disney bundle is one per account, this could be a way for a family with multiple Play More plans to keep their free Apple Music (which is one subscription for each individual line) while still getting family access to all the Disney streaming services. 

Other changes Verizon is making include adding 720p HD video streaming available for those on its new Do More plan and allowing up to 50GB of monthly high-speed data for its new Play More or Get More plans. (The Play More option previously had 25GB of monthly high-speed data while Get More offered 75GB. Do More remains the same at 50GB of high-speed data per month). As with other Verizon plans, these can be turned on through the My Verizon app.

The company’s $35 per month “Just Kids” plan will also be getting unlimited data, though speeds there are maxed at 5Mbps. 

First nationwide 5G details

In addition to updating its unlimited plans, Verizon also revealed some details on its upcoming 5G low-band network slated to launch nationwide later this year. 

While the carrier will still require a Play More, Do More or Get More plan to able to use its faster, 5G millimeter-wave network (currently live in parts of 36 cities around the country), it will be making its low-band 5G network available to all of its users regardless of data plan so long as they have a compatible 5G device. This includes those with new unlimited plans as well as those who have older, shared data plans. 

All of Verizon’s 2020 5G phones will be able to connect to either network, though those who bought one of the carrier’s 5G phones last year, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G or Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, will need to get a new device as the 2019 phones lack the proper chip to connect to the low-band 5G network.

There is still no firm timeline for when Verizon will launch its nationwide network, with the nation’s largest carrier continuing to lag behind rivals AT&T and T-Mobile in the 5G race.

The gap between the carriers only expanded in recent weeks. In July AT&T announced that its low-band network now covers 205 million people while earlier this month T-Mobile announced that its 5G network now reaches roughly 250 million.

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