Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

Summary: Verizon has notified customers still on unlimited data plans that heavy may result in curtailed network speed.

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Smartphone customers in the U. S. must be wearing a "slap me" sign on their backs if the latest notification from Verizon is any indication. When Big Red joined the club and went to tiered data plans that allowed overage fees, those with existing unlimited plans were feeling good as they got grandfathered in. Verizon figured out how to coax those folks onto the tiered plans by promising to throttle the network speed for unlimited plan customers who are in the top 5 percent of data usage.

Verizon doesn't like calling the service curtailment "throttling", as they prefer the term "network optimazation".

The difference between our Network Optimization practices and throttling is network intelligence.  With throttling, your wireless data speed is reduced for your entire cycle, 100% of the time, no matter where you are. Network Optimization is based on the theory that all customers should have the best network possible, and if you’re not causing congestion for others, even if you are using a high amount of data, your connection speed should be as good as possible. So, if you’re in the top 5% of data users, your speed is reduced only when you are connected to a congested cell site. Once you are no longer connected to a congested site, your speed will return to normal. This could mean a matter of seconds or hours, depending on your location and time of day.

In other words you can't predict when this will happen, what you can do to prevent it, nor how long you will be "optimized". Sounds like throttling to me.

The only customers subject to optimization are 3G (not 4G) customers with unlimited plans. Bandwidth curtailment will only happen when a top data user is connected to a congested cell tower. While not being specific about what sort of data usage will put you in the top 5 percent, the FAQ at Verizon states that currently that is "2 GB or more of data each month".

Full details about the optimization are on the Verizon web site.

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, Mobility, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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31 comments
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  • I don't mind this

    to be perfectly honest. I know it sounds wrong, but when you think about it there are users out there with Torrent clients running on their cell phones. Should I have to deal with sluggish service when I'm trying to find a restaurant, look at a map or download a PDF from a work e-mail because someone else is running running full bore all the time? No. It's the right thing to do. I use my phone quite a bit and I've never gone over 1GB, yet I don't tether either.
    LiquidLearner
    • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

      @LiquidLearner
      I don't care if they do it, but they should have the guts to call a spade a spade.
      ZazieLavender
      • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

        @ZazieLavender
        Indeed its a spade.
        Verizon is spinning it as the users (fault) spade.
        kdsand
    • I do mind this!!!

      I have the unlimited plan and other than the occasional YouTube video i only use my phone to look up restaurants, hotels, and other such services. However i am on the road a lot and usually average 3 GB per month. I don't want to have my data limited simply because I'm in a area that I am not familiar with and would like to eat somewhere else than a fast food diner every week.
      bloooo70
  • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

    I tether a few times a month and I still don't manage to go over 2 - 3 GB (I have 5gb plan with T-Mobile). If folks are managing to use 5gb+ - then they should be throttled if they are part of a regular data plan.

    HOWEVER, is watching Netflix streaming videos "abusing" the service? Because watching a few movies on your Verizon iPad2 and you are now an "abuser"...

    I don't think there really is a solution yet. Other than try and use WiFi as much as possible when needing to do data intensive things like watching movies.
    trance2tec
    • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

      @trance2tec
      The issue is those original plans were unlimited and then grandfathered in as unlimited not unlimited but limited with these limits. I have no idea how if you have a smartphone how you wouldnt go over 2GB a month I use that almost daily. I use live gps, i tether I watch movies and I download games and send tons of email but then again I am on Boost unlkimited and pay $35 a month for true unlimited via sprints network with no restrictions or throttles.If you call it unlimited then you can not later had limitations. Sounds a bit illegal to me and a way fro a company like Verizon who has some horrible plans already to try and force customers into a more exspensive 4G plan through deception.
      Fletchguy
    • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

      @trance2tec I believe you have a case for US court - watching movies was shown in the ads as something you can do on their network. If suddenly this is not the case then...
      pupkin_z
  • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

    I wonder how long it will take for a class action suit to get started over this.
    triktags
    • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

      @triktags@...
      I would bet itsa already being put together. Thats why Sprint will end up dominationg with their true unlimited plans and their Boost option which I have the $50 a month with shrinkage unlimited everything plan. I use my evo on it and now pay total $35 a month for unlimited text, calls, data, tethering and no contract or throttle on usage.
      Fletchguy
  • Sounds reasonable

    I'm OK with this. I have an unlimited 3G plan but am not what you'd call a heavy user. It's nice to know that the few people at the top end of the curve are going to have to give us lower-traffic users priority.
    GDF
  • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

    I don't see the big deal. As most people have said, they fall into the lower 95% of the population. The top 5% that are using 5, 10, 15 GB per month doing god-knows-what, should be throttled (or optimized, as VZ likes to put it).

    I'm on AT&T and I wanted tethering so I gave up my unlimited data plan on my iPhone 4. No sweat. I've never gone over, nor do I ever plan to. I use WiFi at home, work, Starbucks, BAM, B&N, cafes, restaurants, etc. Most places offer it now. I only ever use tethering in the car if my wife wants to use her laptop or iPad while we're driving or if I'm in an airport or traveling and the hotel charges for WiFi (which is ridiculous, but best saved for another time).

    However, there are people out there (people at my work included) that use their iPhones to stream Pandora 8 hours a day. That's a huge amount of data. Have 7 million people doing that all day every day and you've got a huge drain on the already strained cellular networks (not just AT&T, but Verizon, TMobile, Sprint, etc.). It's not fair that some people abuse it just because they can. Not to mention people that are using their phones as wireless hot spots at home because they are too cheap to buy home internet service...

    I see no problem limiting the network hogs. Nobody needs that much data on a cell phone anyway. Go get a laptop and cozy up with a cup of coffee at a cafe and download all you want.
    heymatthew
    • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

      @heymatthew
      Doing god knows what?? I assume you dont stream movies to you phone or send media emails for work or use gps on your phone as these eat bandwidth quick and your saying its ok for verizon to sell customers unlimted plans but later say your unlimited plan is now unlimited with these limits?? Thats like when crazy dems say tax the rich for doing good so those who slacked off don't have to and the others will just pay for them.
      Fletchguy
    • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

      However, there are people out there (people at my work included) that use their iPhones to stream Pandora 8 hours a day. That's a huge amount of data. Have 7 million people doing that all day every day and you've got a huge drain on the already strained cellular networks (not just AT&T, but Verizon, TMobile, Sprint, etc.). It's not fair that some people abuse it just because they can. Not to mention people that are using their phones as wireless hot spots at home because they are too cheap to buy home internet service...

      this is not always the case. i drive truck. i pay for unlimited 3g/4g and pay 30 extra a month for unlimited tethering. i pay my bill, and i am a very heavy user.... 65+gb a month. at home i use my other network but with pandora, gps, and my weather maps alone that puts me over the 2 gigs.
      jlawver1977
    • "too cheap"

      There is no high speed internet service where I live offered right now. We can't even get HD channels except via satellite. Satellite internet service is not practical or affordable for the averge user, with low cap limits and imposed fees.

      I use my 3G connection so that I have internet access at a reasonable speed at all... so it's not just that people are too cheap... some of us don't have another viable option.
      Christ Pettitt
  • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

    So let me get this straight... I pay them $100+ a month for high speed service. They take the money and use it to advertise, and get more customers on the network than it can handle. Then they tell the new customers that I am an abuser, and cut my service? Yeah that sounds fair. <br><br>How about they stop offering services they can't provide and then blaming the customers for it. Don't sell an unlimited plan if it is in fact limited. Invest in more cell sites if you want to have more customers.<br><br>How would people like it if cable companies started turning off your tv after you watched too much because your abusing it and messing it up for other people. Seriously. Verizon and AT&T are just sucking as much money as they can out of these networks at the cost of quality service, and blaming the customers.
    mrefuman
    • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

      @mrefuman
      Lol spot on oh and comcast kinda started doing that as when i signed up years ago my highspeed was for unlimited bandwidth and as of January they quietly changed that to 500 GB a month or they cut your service and will discontinue your service altogether
      Fletchguy
    • hee hee

      thanks, that made me laugh.

      It's not a 1:1 comparison, but it does illustrate how ludicrous the cell phone industry's actions appear to be in the eyes of the average consumer.
      brokedownsystem
  • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

    Just one more setp in the direction of driving customers away - anyone who thinks about this will have to reason that the next steps will be even more limiting, or else they will beg for more money. So much for listening to the voice of the customer.
    OTOH, it seems that many wireless customers just don't think about long term relationships with their provider, and only shop for "instant convenience", so they will be surprised when the next brick hits.
    Willnott
    • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

      @Willnott
      Thats why Sprint wins with Boost. No contract no limts and it starts at $50 a month but every 6 months paying on time you take $5 off your monthly bill. I pay $35 a month unlimited talk, text, data, tehtering no throttle or limits. I tether my Galaxy tablets and laptop away or on the road and have no obligation for all right at $35 a month. Doesnt get better
      Fletchguy
  • RE: Verizon begins throttling service for remaining unlimited 3G customers

    I seldom went over the 2GB threshold with my Droid X but it seems when I traded to the iPhone, my data limits are always over 2GB. Funny thing is I tethered and used GPS frequently on the droid but never on the iPhone because the iPhone GPS sucks compared to Google Maps. However to call the top 5% those over 2GB is stretching the truth IMO. Over 5GB I might believe.
    trainer_1