Verizon is giving cellular customers free data — if they stream through Fios

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Jonathan Weiss/123RF
Verizon customers will soon be able to stream as much as they want — if they use the company’s Fios streaming service. Verizon has announced that Fios will no longer count against customers’ data plans, so if you use Fios, you’ll be able to stream as much as you want without having to worry about data.

To take advantage of the new feature, you may need to download the latest version of the Fios app, and you’ll need to be a Verizon cellular subscriber and a Fios streaming customer, of course.

“The Fios Mobile App allows you to stream 140-plus live channels outside of your home, watch your recorded DVR shows and movies while on the go, and access thousands of On Demand titles,” said Verizon in a statement.

The move is somewhat controversial, and previously would not have been allowed because it would have violated net neutrality laws. In the last few months, however, the Federal Communications Commission’s leadership has changed, as has its stance on zero-rating, or allowing some specific services to not count against data plans. The downside here is that it puts all other streaming services at a disadvantage — for example, if you decide to stream through Netflix, it will count against your data. Services like T-Mobile’s Binge-On were able to get through previous rules because they didn’t prioritize particular streaming services — they just offered data for streaming in general.

It’s not all that surprising that Verizon is making moves like this. Carriers like T-Mobile have been increasingly eating up Verizon and AT&T’s market share, and while neither of the two carriers are in danger of being overtaken by T-Mobile just yet, they will need to remain competitive in order to ensure they remain in the top spots in the U.S. We’ll likely see more features like this from the carriers in the near future.

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