Verizon makes its 'unlimited' plans even more complicated

Mix and match your way through higher-than-average prices.

In a move that is somehow both incredibly simple and bafflingly complicated, Verizon has launched a new unlimited data plan and is shaking up the way its family plans work. The carrier -- which seems to have a very loose understanding of what "unlimited" means -- has introduced an "aboveunlimited" plan option, which is apparently more unlimited than the existing "gounlimited" and "beyondunlimited" plans. And it's pretty pricey.

The new plan includes unlimited data with up to 75GB for HD video, 20GB of mobile hotspot data at LTE speeds, five "TravelPasses", which each offer a day of international data usage per month, and 500GB of Verizon Cloud service. Prices range from $60 to $95 a month -- a bullish price point given increasingly competitive offers from Verizon rivals. Sprint recently introduced an unlimited plan for just $15, for example.

So now there are three unlimited plans in the mix, family plans just got a bit more complicated because Verizon is introducing a new "mix and match" model. The company concedes that a one-size-fits-all approach isn't particularly useful for families that have different needs, so from June 18 you'll be able to choose the appropriate unlimited plan for each individual family member. Get what you need without paying for stuff you don't use.

Customers choose how many lines they need, and that row gives the price of each plan for each family member. Add them all up, and that's your monthly bill. So if, for example, you had a plan with three lines, one with gounlimited, one with beyondunlimited and one with aboveunlimited, it would be $50 + $60 + $70 -- a total of $180.

Verizon president Ronan Dunne has dismissed the idea that the plan is too complicated. "It's very simple," he said in an interview this week. "We're confident people will enjoy the choice." He added that customers are free to switch tiers at any point, and didn't rule out a cheaper option in the future.