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Verizon gives customers extra mobile data to deal with COVID-19

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

More cellular carriers are taking steps to ensure people can stay online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Verizon (Engadget's parent company) is giving consumer and small business customers an extra 15GB of LTE data speeds per month on their plans, with no action required. This applies regardless of the device you're using, and whether your service is a regular subscription or prepaid. It's not the completely unlimited access you might hope for, but it could help you stay online if you depend on your phone's data for work.

Fios and DSL users don't have data caps, Verizon reiterated.

The provider is also offering some breaks for those facing a financial hit from the coronavirus outbreak. It's waiving overage charges and late fees, and will waive broadband and voice charges for existing Lifeline customers. If you need wired internet access, Lifeline customers will get a $20 per month discount on Mix & Match plans that lower their service to $20 per month for a 200Mbps plan. You'll eventually have to rent the router, but those charges are waived for 20 days.

It's not necessarily difficult for Verizon to implement some of these moves. When many states are effectively on lockdown, there's likely to be less demand for mobile data in general. We'd add that other carriers have implemented their own measures, such as T-Mobile's new $15 5G plan and AT&T's expansion of its Access low-cost internet plan to more households. Providers are bracing for a significant impact from stay-at-home orders and mass closures for businesses, and efforts like this could be crucial to both keeping people online and preventing a steep drop in subscribers.

Update 3/23 7:20PM ET: Verizon reiterated that there haven't been caps on landline broadband to start with -- we've updated accordingly.