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Verizon brings back unlimited data plan on 4G network

Verizon says it will offer unlimited data plans for subscribers, several years after it joined competitors in backing away from bottomless data packages.

In a statement, the company said Sunday that with Verizon Unlimited, cellular users would get unlimited data use on smartphones and tablets, in addition to video streaming, hotspot and calls to Mexico and Canada.The plan, which launches on Monday, will cost $80 for unlimited data, calls and texting or $45 per line for four separate lines carrying the same features.

There was a catch, however: Verizon added that after 22 GB of data usage on any one line, the company might "prioritize usage behind other customers in the event of network congestion." Verizon also said it will maintain its existing data plans for those who didn't want unlimited data.

Pedestrians walk by a Verizon Wireless store on January 22, 2015 in San Francisco, California.
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Pedestrians walk by a Verizon Wireless store on January 22, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

In 2011, Verizon Wireless ceased offering unlimited plans to new smartphone subscribers, and recently announced that unlimited customers using more than 200 GB of data per month would have to downgrade to limited plans or get disconnected.

The announcement was significant, as carriers have gradually made it costlier for subscribers to use unlimited data plans. Usage has spiked as smartphones and tablets became increasingly ubiquitous, with users moving away from consuming media and web surfing on traditional computers.

AT&T still offers bottomless data but has hiked the cost for grandfathered plans, making it increasingly costly for data junkies. Starting in March, AT&T subscribers using unlimited data plans will pay $40 per month.