Verizon Wireless expands Apple Music partnership, now included with top unlimited plans

Verizon's most expensive unlimited plans now include Apple Music at no additional cost. (Monica Alleven/FierceWireless)

Verizon’s partnership with Apple Music is getting a boost.

What began as a promotional offering for a six-month trial of Apple Music for all customers on unlimited plans has been expanded into a built-in feature for customers on the carrier’s most expensive unlimited plans.

Verizon’s Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited customers can now get Apple Music at no additional cost in perpetuity—or at least until Verizon changes the structure of its plans. Verizon says it will continue offering the six-month Apple Music promo for customers on the Go Unlimited plan.

The move strengthens Verizon’s position in a market where bundled entertainment services have quickly become the norm. AT&T provides access to HBO for customers on select plans, and the same goes for T-Mobile with Netflix and Sprint with Hulu. It could also encourage customers on Verizon’s Go Unlimited plan to upgrade to a top-tier plan to gain ongoing access to Apple Music—especially if they’ve grown accustomed to the service since the promotion began five months ago.

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The timing of the change may have been part of the plan all along, considering customers who originally took advantage of the six-month trial will soon be faced with a decision to pay $9.99 a month out of pocket for continued access to Apple Music. A single phone line on Verizon’s Beyond Unlimited plan costs $85, or $10 more than a Go Unlimited plan. If a Go Unlimited customer is paying for Apple Music already, the cost of upgrading to Beyond Unlimited would essentially be a wash.

“When we introduced six months free of Apple Music to Verizon unlimited subscribers, we said it was just the beginning of a great collaboration between Verizon and Apple to bring music streaming to our loyal customers,” Angie Klein, Verizon’s vice president of marketing said in a prepared statement. “Our customers loved the offer, so we’re expanding the value of Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited plans by including Apple Music at the same plan price.”

Apple and Verizon haven’t disclosed terms of their agreement, but it’s likely adding millions of customers to Apple’s service. Speaking at the Citi 2019 Global TMT West Conference earlier this month, Verizon Wireless President Ronan Dunne said 20% of all new customers are signing up for the Apple Music offer.

“The key thing there is that unlimited is not simply one size fits all,” Dunne said, according to a transcription of his on-stage interview by Seeking Alpha. He hinted at more mix-and-match offerings for customers down the line, including opportunities to bundle additional entertainment services from Verizon Media Group, which includes Yahoo, AOL, Tumblr, HuffPost, TechCrunch, Engadget and other media properties. “You will see us continue to evolve when we think there’s ways of adding incremental value to the customer.”