Verizon’s Cheaper Welcome Unlimited Plan Takes On T-Mobile’s Base Essentials

What’s happening

Verizon has introduced a cheaper plan called Welcome Unlimited that is available to both new and existing users.

Why it matters

The plan is aimed at those who want Verizon’s service but don’t need its fastest 5G networks, streaming perks or discounts on new devices.

Verizon has a new unlimited plan with a lower price, but you’ll want to keep in mind a few things. Introduced on Tuesday, the new “Welcome Unlimited” plan is the cheapest unlimited offering the carrier now sells, with one line available for $65 per month and four lines going for $120 per month ($30 per line, per month).

For one line that marks a $5 per month saving compared to the company’s 5G Start plan and a $20 monthly savings if you have four lines on an account and all have that plan.

Available to new and current customers, like Start the plan includes access to Verizon’s 4G LTE and low-band 5G Nationwide networks. “Welcome Unlimited opens the door for more people to switch to the network more Americans rely on, at a highly-competitive price,” Manon Brouillette, CEO of Verizon’s Consumer Group, said in a press release. “Today, we are making it easy for customers to leave their wireless provider and join Verizon at an entry-level price point when they bring their own device.”

That latter point is particularly important and is a sign of the many strings you’ll want to keep in mind when signing up for this plan. There are no device promotions available for Welcome Unlimited, so if you want to get a new iPhone or Galaxy and still keep the lower rate you should look to buy a device elsewhere and then bring it to Verizon. The carrier’s aggressive promotions that offer up to $800 off a new phone with a trade-in (and a pricier unlimited plan) don’t apply to this plan.

Read more: Best Verizon Deals Available Now

Unlike the Start plan, Welcome Unlimited doesn’t have a hotspot data allowance and you can’t “mix and match” lines on a family plan. If you want Welcome then all lines on your account will need to have that plan and downgrading to this option will forfeit any credits or discounts and promotions you may be getting on devices.

There aren’t any perks like a free subscription to The Disney Bundle (Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus). While Verizon initially told CNET that you wouldn’t be able to add a portable hotspot, tablet, smartwatch or connected device the company has since clarified that those devices can be added to a Welcome plan.

Welcome Unlimited lacks access to Verizon’s fastest 5G networks (what it calls “5G Ultra Wideband” or “5G UW”), even if your phone supports it. Whereas T-Mobile and AT&T include access to all of their 5G networks with new and old unlimited plans, Verizon continues to see its faster network as a more premium feature that requires pricier plans.

Frank Boulben, chief revenue officer of Verizon’s Consumer Group, tells CNET that the carrier plans to continue with this two-tier network approach “for the foreseeable future” noting that the company is still seeing “more and more customers getting on our premium experience” and upgrading to those pricier plans.

For those looking to save money, however, you should know that Verizon is still allowing combining the Welcome plan with its discounts for teachers, first responders, military, veterans and nurses. If you or someone on your family plan qualifies, your monthly bill could potentially drop even further with four lines running $100 per month instead of $120 (not including taxes and fees and assuming you enable automatic payments).

There is also a discount for students (one line for $55 per month, two lines for $85) as well as one for those bundling wireless service with Verizon’s home internet.

The Welcome plan is the latest move by a wireless carrier to introduce an offering that cuts the perks in exchange for a lower monthly rate. In April T-Mobile added a new “Base Essentials” plan that was cheaper than its then-lowest Essentials offering but with a smaller amount of high-speed data (20GB per month versus Essentials’ 50GB).

Compared to T-Mobile’s other plans the Base Essentials also lacks free Netflix, the inclusion of taxes or fees in the sticker price or international texting and data in 210+ countries. Like Verizon’s Welcome plan, those on Base Essentials similarly can’t take advantage of any device promotions T-Mobile is offering.

T-Mobile also caps the number of people you can have on Base Essentials, which starts at $45 per month for a single line, maxing out at four lines per account. Verizon doesn’t have the same cap for Welcome (it allows for up to 12 lines), with five lines running $125 per month and each line above that going for an extra $25 per line, per month.

Verizon’s newest offering as carriers continue to adjust rates and plans. In May Verizon announced a new “economic adjustment charge” that was a $1.35 hike per line, per month for voice lines. AT&T Rival raised rates on some of its older plans in May amid the ongoing rise in inflation.

Update, 8:54 am PT: Story updated to reflect that Verizon is allowing for connected devices on the Welcome Unlimited plan.

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