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Verizon Brings Back Unlimited Data Plan

(CBSNews) Verizon customers once again can have access to unlimited data. 

The country’s largest wireless carrier reintroduced an option for unlimited data plans on Monday, after eliminating such plans in 2011. New customers will be able to get unlimited talk, text and data for $80 a month for one line. The package goes up to $180 for four lines. As part of the rollout, Verizon is also offering a new phone to customers who switch.

The move follows competitor T-Mobile’s aggressive touting of its own unlimited plan -- the only data option it offers. Sprint offers unlimited data as well, while AT&T offers it only to customers who are DirecTV subscribers. 

Verizon users should be able to take advantage of 4G LTE speeds until they reach 22GB of data, at which point it could be throttled as the network “may prioritize usage behind other customers in the event of network congestion,” according to the company’s press release. 

Effectively limiting customer use of unlimited data is common among carriers, although Sprint and T-Mobile wait for a higher threshold to slow down users.

Verizon in the past has experimented with ways to exempt customers from data caps. Last year, it introduced a program where advertisers could pay to send users content that wouldn’t count against their data limits. The carrier also exempted its own streaming video from the data caps.

The company is also moving increasingly into media content with a number of acquisitions. In 2015 Verizon acquired AOL, the owner of the Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget, in a $4.4 billion deal. Last year, Verizon announced it would acquire the core business of Yahoo (YHOO) in a transaction valued at $4.8 billion, although revelations of massive data breaches at the internet company have cast uncertainty on the deal.

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