The photos and videos you have on your smartphone are important to you. But are you protecting them adequately?

Backing up your data is always a good move. And there are plenty of cloud storage options available to do some from tech giants such as Apple, Amazon and Google.

Now, Verizon has jumped into the game with its Verizon Cloud service, which gives you unlimited storage of photos, videos and other files for $19.99 monthly.

Available to Verizon Wireless and Verizon Fios subscribers, Verizon Cloud lets you store photos, videos, documents and other data using an app that’s available across Android or iOS phones and tablets, and Windows and Mac computers.

The primary account holder can add four additional accounts; each account can create private files requiring a PIN or biometric authentication.

“We heard from consumers that storage limits is a pain point for them,” Todd Oberstein, Verizon’s executive director of consumer mobile products. “We know storage can get used up very quickly, and we know that’s why different providers are providing more and more (cloud storage). We just said, ‘You know what, let’s just make it unlimited.’ That way it provides peace of mind for customers because they don’t have to think about it anymore.”

Verizon’s cloud storage entry comes as the nation’s wireless providers are expanding their 5G networks. “It’s going to be easier to download movies,” Oberstein said. “You’re not going to have to worry about that any more” he said, because you can offload large video files to the cloud.

Those data appetites will grow the U.S. consumer cloud storage market to $500 billion annually in the next five years, and Verizon is in a good position to get a bigger share, says Daniel Ives, managing director, equity research at Wedbush Securities.

“Verizon and other carriers are in the sweet spot to monetize this growing opportunity,” he said. “While competition is fierce, carriers like Verizon have built a moat as more consumers utilize cloud storage despite increasing price points.”

© Verizon Wireless A screen shot from the Verizon Cloud mobile app.Still, there are many ways to store your data in the cloud. And don’t forget, it’s good data sense to also have another copy somewhere of your important photos, videos and documents – perhaps stored on a hard drive or USB drive.

graphical user interface, website: iCloud Photos© Apple iCloud Photos

How the cloud services compare

At nearly $20 a month, Verizon’s service may seem like princely sum for a piece of the cloud, but it’s the only one to offer unlimited storage for all kinds of data. Here are some other options:

Apple iCloud. Sign up and get 5GB of storage free. For more, you can pay 99 cents for 50GB. Upgrade to the 200GB ($2.99 monthly) or 2 terabyte plan ($9.99 monthly), and you can share those with your family.

AT&T Personal Cloud. After a 30-day free trial, you pay $4.99 monthly for 500GB or $9.99 monthly for 2TB. Under the plan, you must maintain your AT&T wireless service.

Amazon. Amazon Prime members get free unlimited photo storage, plus 5 Gigabytes of video storage. Other customers get 5GB of total storage free. Need to store more? You can expand your Amazon Drive to 100GB for $1.99 month, 1TB for $6.99 monthly/$59.99 annually, and 2TB for $11.99 monthly/$119.98 annually (capacity: about 280 hours of HD video). Prime members can share storage with family members.

Although it’s aimed more at businesses, consumers can use Amazon Web Services (AWS) Simple Storage Service (S3) to store up to 50GB  for $0.023 per GB ($23 per TB). The price per GB declines slightly as you store beyond that amount of data.

Box. Individuals can sign up for 10GB of free storage. The Personal Pro plan gives you 2TB of storage $14 monthly/$120 annually.

Dropbox. The Personal Plus plan gives one user 2TB of storage for $11.99 monthly/ $9.99 annually. The Family plan lets up to six users share 2TB for $19.99 monthly/$16.99 annually.

Google. You get 15 GB free, but for additional storage there’s larger Google One plans (all shareable with up to five family members) including 100GB for $1.99 monthly/$19.99 annually, 200GB ($2.99 monthly/$29.99 annually), or 2TB for $9.99 monthly/$99.99 annually.

Microsoft OneDrive. Beyond the free OneDrive Basic, which gets you 5GB of storage, individuals can can expand to 100GB for $1.99 monthly or get 1TB within the Microsoft 365 Personal package ($6.99 monthly/$69.99 annually), which comes with Excel, Word, Outlook, Powerpoint and Skype. Families can opt Microsoft 365 Family OneDrive ($9.99 monthly or $99.99 annually), which includes 6TB, shareable by six family members.

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