Verizon made waves this month when it announced an expanded partnership with Disney that bundles Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu into the carrier‘s latest unlimited data plans. For families in particular, this seems like an appealing value proposition. However, as with most things, the devil is in the details. To help you determine if Verizon‘s new unlimited plan bundles are right for your streaming needs, I‘ll provide a comprehensive look at what‘s included, how prices compare, the pros and cons, and what it means for the future of streaming and telecom partnerships.
The Evolution of Verizon‘s Unlimited Plan Bundles
First, some history. Verizon discontinued unlimited data plans completely in 2012. But fierce competition from T-Mobile and Sprint forced Verizon to reintroduce unlimited options in 2017. From the start, Verizon looked to add value through partnerships with streaming services and content providers.
For example, their initial 2017 unlimited plan included a free Apple Music subscription. Over the years since, Verizon has continued to iterate their unlimited plan offerings by adding new services and tiers. Last year, they partnered with Disney to offer 12 months of Disney+ for free.
The latest Disney-focused bundles represent the natural progression of Verizon using entertainment perks to attract and retain unlimited data customers. Next, let‘s look at exactly what‘s included in these new plans.
Comparing Verizon‘s New Unlimited Plan Options and Prices
Starting August 20, here are the unlimited plans that will bundle Disney streaming services:
|Plan||Price Per Month (For 4 Lines)||Included Streaming Services|
|Play More Unlimited||$180||Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+|
|Get More Unlimited||$220||Disney+, Hulu ESPN+, Apple Music|
To get the Disney streaming bundle, you‘ll need to opt for the Play More or Get More unlimited plans, which start at $45 per month per line. The entry-level Start Unlimited and Just Kids plans don‘t include Disney.
Also note that you must sign up for a family plan with a minimum of 4 lines to access the Disney bundle. There is no streaming bundle for individual unlimited plans.
Comparing Play More vs. Get More, the extra $10 monthly cost for Get More may be worth it for heavy Apple Music users, since a standalone subscription runs $10 per month.
How Verizon‘s Bundled Plans Compare to the Competition
Verizon isn‘t the only wireless carrier using streaming service bundles to attract customers. Here‘s how Verizon stacks up against the competition:
|Carrier||Bundled Streaming Services||Starting Price Per Month|
|Verizon||Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+||$180 for 4 lines|
|AT&T||HBO Max||$160 for 4 lines|
|T-Mobile||Netflix||$140 for 4 lines|
AT&T is Verizon‘s chief competitor when it comes to unlimited plan perks. While their bundles don‘t include Disney, AT&T does offer the highly popular HBO Max service. However, Verizon‘s Disney combo is superior for families with kids.
T-Mobile‘s Netflix bundle compares well on price, but doesn‘t match Verizon in terms of name brand appeal and variety. Overall, Verizon seems to have the edge for family-focused streaming bundles right now.
Evaluating the Pros and Cons for Consumers
Should you switch to Verizon unlimited and get the Disney streaming bundle? Here are the key pros and cons to consider:
- Saves $5-$15 per month compared to subscribing separately
- One centralized bill for wireless service and top streaming video
- Appeals to a wide range of family members with Disney+, sports (ESPN+), and adult content (Hulu)
- Locks in Disney bundle as long as you‘re a Verizon customer
- Disney+ bundle with wireless could attract switchers from other carriers
- Large family plans get expensive, even if per service cost is lower
- No partial bundle options – Get More required despite only wanting Disney+
- Miss out on special deals and promotions from Disney
- Difficult to change or cancel one service if preferences change
- Locks you into Verizon making it hard to switch carriers
The bottom line – if you‘re already a heavy Verizon user and want all three Disney services, the bundle saves you money. But the lock-in and lack of flexibility could be drawbacks for some customers.
What the Disney Deal Means for Streaming Services
Beyond the implications for consumers, Verizon‘s Disney deal also has an impact on the streaming services themselves. Disney is likely eyeing a huge influx of new subscribers to all three platforms.
When Disney+ first launched, Verizon offered 12 months free to unlimited customers which resulted in an estimated 15 million signups. Expect another jump from the expanded Disney bundle.
Short term, these types of wireless partnerships are a subscriber acquisition dream for entertainment platforms. But some analysts warn there are risks of restricting long-term revenue growth and data collection down the line.
It will be important for Disney to eventually transition bundled wireless subscribers into full paying direct customers. If not, the upside of massive exposure from telecom deals like this one will be limited.
Predicting the Future of Streaming/Telecom Bundles
It‘s evident that partnerships between streaming services and wireless carriers are a win-win right now. What might the future hold for these types of converged offers? Here are some predictions:
- Wireless competitors will rush to cut partnerships with other top streaming services in order to match Verizon‘s Disney bundle
- Verizon will look to expand offerings by bundling HBO Max, Discovery+ or other services at attractive prices
- Smaller streaming players could get acquired as telecoms eye bringing content in-house
- Carriers without strong entertainment bundles will be pressured to cut prices or improve network quality to compete
- Down the line, permanently converged wireless/home broadband/entertainment bundles seem inevitable
The lines between telecom, internet, and entertainment will only blur further as streaming cements itself as the future of video. Carriers like Verizon now hold the keys to connected living and will continue using original content to win subscribers.
For now, families looking to save on multiple streaming services can enjoy the perks of Verizon‘s generous Disney bundle. But personal streaming preferences may still warrant going a la carte. The best option depends on viewing habits and how willing you are to lock into the Verizon ecosystem long-term.