Verizon Warns Unlimited 4G LTE Customers Of Plans To Throttle Top 5 Percent

Verizon Wireless has a message for data hogs subscribed to its unlimited 4G LTE service, and to paraphrase, it goes something like this: 'Slow your roll, or we'll slow it for you.' To be more specific, starting in October of this year, Verizon will begin throttling the data connections of users who fall within the top 5 percent of data users subscribed to an unlimited plan using a 4G LTE device.

This is essentially the same policy Verizon rolled out to its 3G subscribers three years ago. Now that more people are hopping onto 4G LTE networks, Verizon is trying to make sure that a relative few don't ruin experience for the masses.

Verizon Wireless
Image Source: Flickr (Mike Mozart)

"We understand that our customers rely on their smartphones and tablets every day. Our network optimization policy provides the best path to ensure a continued great wireless experience for all of our customers on the best and largest wireless network in the U.S.," said Mike Haberman, vice president – technology, for Verizon Wireless.

Those who end up with a throttled connection may experience slower data speeds when using high bandwidth applications, such as streaming high-definition content or during real-time, online gaming sessions. To minimize the impact, this will only occur when connecting to a cell site when it is experiencing heavy demand, Verizon says.

What are your thoughts on this policy? Should Verizon throttle the top 5 percent so that the rest of its users experience smooth data connections, or does this breach the promise of unlimited data?
ThomasCrosbie 4 months ago

And here I am in Australia, paying $40 a month for a measly 2Gb on 3G. Go figure.

PaulBanner 4 months ago

I only ever hear bad stuff about telecomms companies in the US. Do any of them give you what they offered and what you pay for?

CliffVincent 4 months ago

hahaha verizon... dont they understand what UNLIMITED MEANS?!

CliffVincent 4 months ago

thats prety normal here in the states actually even though they claim we get more... we dont

ThomasCrosbie 4 months ago

That's about $47USD.

Unlimited calls text and MMS with 2GB data for 30 days on prepaid. One of my friends got charged $50 per GB over her allowance, of which she used 4GB... But that's another telco and on a plan. I'd still rather US telcos though

brandy47 4 months ago

I would agree with this if they had simply grandfathered in unlimited data, but they didn't. Instead they make their unlimited users pay full price for their phones. If I'm already paying a premium on my phone I shouldn't get throttled as well.

ThomasTaege 4 months ago

This really sucks for those who managed to get grandfathered in on unlimited plans. But verizon isn't doing it just to be the bad guy, they are trying to make sure that everyone gets a good experience. Honestly what are you downloading over lte if you use more than 2gb anyways. I have a jail broken phone and still rarely come close to the 2 gb mark.

TipiTom 4 months ago

My experience with Verizon's "unlimited" data plan is that it has been throttled all along. I take issue with this article calling me a "data hog." One factor in my choosing this plan was that it had allegedly unlimited data. Verizon shouldn't have sold me a data plan they couldn't support.

JaroslawPogoda 4 months ago

hearing about verizon now a days pains me greatly money whores isp and wireless carrier, what makes me mad is that they charge like hell yet they want more it is redic that the infrastructure in us has not been upgraded since 2005. what verizon is doing just ridiculous now a days

shadowphaxe 4 months ago

I don't have Verizon, but I know I pretty frequently go over 2GB. I use Google Play for all my music (streaming) and I'll play a lot of games and all on my phone. If all of these companies took the tax breaks and such they received to actually do what they were supposed to, there wouldn't be all of these issues now. Verizon should get their act together and provide what they're selling.

RonFleming 4 months ago

The overall message behind this policy is this: "We're calling it unlimited because that's a snazzy marketing buzzword in cellular service plans, but in reality, it's really not."

Not only that, but by "grading on a curve" rather than spelling out clear-cut limits to what your data dollars are actually buying you, they have guaranteed that at least 5% of their customer base will not get the "unlimited" experience they are otherwise being promised. I'd much rather they go back to imposing hard caps, and offer an equitable solution for purchasing more data. At least that way you know upfront what you're dealing with. And from a technical standpoint, instead of trying to offer speeds that are faster than users' own home broadband connections, maybe they should look to use that increased bandwidth to support more users at sustained reasonable speeds with the capacity they have. I'd rather have 5 Mbps that I can use freely than 50 Mbps that I can utilize for about 3 minutes before I have to worry about hitting some nebulous throttling threshold.

Sometimes I wonder if those responsible for designing these policy decisions give any thought to the actual use case for the types of customers who would be attracted to marketing for the "fastest 4G speeds." Or maybe they just don't care, once your credit card charge as successfully gone through.

StevenEllis 4 months ago

My opinion this doesn't breach the contract of unlimited. It's still unlimited, but slower when you reach a limit. And some of the people on unlimited plans abuse it and use it as there entire Internet connection, so it's a good idea.

MichaelHermida 4 months ago

thats really crap of them doing that.....

NickModrowski 4 months ago

It's sad that Verizon feels the need to cry abuse and throttle the users rather than upgrade their infrastructure and provide more bandwidth. Services are just going to become more data intense as time goes on, so they may as well bite the bullet now, expand and be ready for the future.

thabusdriv3r 4 months ago

Time to start using my Wifi on my phone at home. I still have my unlimited 4G on my family plan. I believe I only use around 8GB a month, but I have family members that use 14GB each month. I believe will probably be one of the targets for slower data speeds. No matter if I get throttled or not, I'm still keeping my unlimited 4G. So Verizon, BRING IT!

ChrisHunter 4 months ago

There is no possible way to abuse a service you pay for and were promised. If you pay for bandwidth you should be able to use the bandwidth 24/7 at the advertised speeds.

RyanLaberinto 4 months ago

Why do providers even throttle? I know its to help everyone else, but they are paying for that internet. They shouldn't lower their speeds just because they use more than most people. They are paying for a service, they need to get the what they are paying for.

ThomasTaege 4 months ago

Yeah, verizon is definitely in the wrong here. The more I think about it I realized verizon should definitely give the customers what they've offered and make upgrades on their end to meet customer demand. There's really no excuse to handle it any other way.

xXxDOYLExXx 4 months ago

Ha just a few articles back it talks about their double digit earnings, yet they can't fork out a few dollars to build up their infrastructure to allow unlimited data?.......

acarzt 4 months ago

"Unlimited Data" and "Unlimited Bandwidth" are not the same thing. They are paying for unlimited data, and Verizon is not limiting their data, they are simply limiting the speed at which they can obtain that data.

It sounds like they are just going to implement QoS which will provide the end user's with unthrottled bandwidth up to a certain percentage or available bandwidth is in use. A QoS policy will attempt to make an even amount of bandwidth available to all user's that are currently connected. So if 100Mbps of bandwidth is available, then 1 connected user can get up to 100mphs. With 10 user's connected without QoS, a single user with more sessions open can take up most of the bandwidth and cause everyone else with a single session open to suffer. With 10 user's connected and QoS turned on, they can evenly distribute bandwidth to make 10Mbps available to each user.

JaredBKnudson 4 months ago

It's not abuse of users, if anything it's them trying to make as many users as possible feel welcome by not letting the 5% who use the most bandwidth ruin the experience for everyone else.

ChrisFarscapeFredKim 4 months ago

LOL its funny how people like to agree with giant telecom business. Then they shouldn't offer unlimited.

That's the problem when u only have 4 telecom companies. Lack of competition means more shitty services and more you have to pay

RoseCawley 4 months ago

Very sensible argument. But I do agree with Nick that they need to upgrade their infrastructure to accommodate it's user base.

MADSKILLZ412 4 months ago

Nothing really unlimited about it, but I don't even use Verizon so I shouldn't complain.

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