verizon wireless

Back in 2011, Verizon began throttling data output for the top 5% of its 3G customers on unlimited data plans. The carrier had just picked up the iPhone, and was in the process of rolling out its LTE network, so it needed a low-cost way to save bandwidth.

Fast forward to today, and Verizon issued a press release announcing a similar policy for LTE customers. Starting in October, the company plans to start “optimizing its network,” which is a nice way of saying it’s going to start throttling high-volume users…

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

While all major wireless carriers employ tools to manage the traffic on their networks, Verizon Wireless uses network intelligence to slow the speeds of only some of its heaviest users on unlimited data plans, and only when those users are connected to a cell site that is experiencing peak usage at that particular time. Once the heavy usage eases, or the user moves to a different cell site, the user’s speeds return to normal. Verizon Wireless’ practice of Network Optimization ensures that all customers have the best wireless data experience possible.

Starting in October 2014, Verizon Wireless will extend its network optimization policy to the data users who: fall within the top 5 percent of data users on our network, have fulfilled their minimum contractual commitment, and are on unlimited plans using a 4G LTE device. They may experience slower data speeds when using certain high bandwidth applications, such as streaming high-definition video or during real-time, online gaming, and only when connecting to a cell site when it is experiencing heavy demand. (Note: Does not currently apply to government or business accounts that have signed a major account agreement.)

Again, this will only affect the top 5% of LTE users—using 4.7GB or more per month—that are still on unlimited data plans, and only when their cell site is experiencing peak usage. Users who don’t want to be throttled can switch to a new usage-based plan.

To be honest, the move isn’t all that surprising. Verizon has the largest and longest-running LTE network in the US and we’ve been hearing reports for months now that data speeds in major cities like New York have slowed to a crawl because of the traffic.

I’m currently on a grandfathered unlimited plan with AT&T on LTE, and I’m wondering how long it takes before they follow suit.

  • disqus_i3A1Bo3NlI

    They do already throttle at 5gb’s on AT&T Cody, i know because it happens every month to me. i call and they try to switch me over to a usage based plan every month. I always say no, and they tell me it will be restored on my new billing cycle. This is lame because they are just forcing you to change your plan, and spend more money. its not fair to the people who have been loyal customers from day one, who have never been or missed a bill. Especially for grandfathered plans. what a way to treat your elders, lol

  • So unlimited = limited?

    • 1d3rboy

      In this case, unlimited means the amount of data, not speed. A dripping faucet will still fill the sink.

      • Exactly which means the amount of data you can use in a month is limited by the speed that you are being throttled by (another words not unlimited).

      • M_thoroughbred

        Yeah but no matter what you still are getting unlimited data just not at the speeds you’re accustomed to. I’m not saying that what they’re doing is right but that’s the work around they can come too. Phone carriers have become the next cable company.

      • Antzboogie

        Thats like saying speed doesnt matter. Just a thought. 3g gets the page loaded right? All you have to do is wait 5 min per page, lol.

  • Foellarbear

    Well, this sucks. I depend on my unlimited plan for my primary internet. I hope the towers I live near aren’t bogged down a lot because I go waaay over 4.5 GB per month.

    • chris125

      And you’re the type of customer that Verizon wants to throttle to free up space for others

      • White Michael Jackson

        that excuse doesn’t work anymore.

      • chris125

        How doesn’t it? It’s not meant to replace your home internet…

      • Mitchell Flores

        Says who

      • DJ_CodeBlue

        Yeah what Mitchell said…

      • Foellarbear

        yeah… and that’s what Verizon wants you to believe… whats the difference between how to receive your internet? Internet is Internet no matter how you put it. Whether it comes through a cable provider or through a cell phone company. It makes no difference.

      • Foellarbear

        The cell phone and cable companies are just a monopoly. They will tell you one thing and all the non-informative people will believe it. I can guarantee you that there is plenty of bandwidth space for others. This is a simple tactic that Verizon is implementing to eventually steer all the unlimited data users away from their unlimited data plan. Verizon’s network infrastructure can easily handle the very few people that are still on the unlimited data plan that actually exceed the 5 GB limit.

      • chris125

        Oh I Agree. Verizon has tons of spectrum they don’t use and jus sit on so others can’t use it to beef their networks up

  • iRy757

    I use about 18GB a month on average and I’m an unlimited data customer with Verizon. This news is disappointing.

    • Manuel Molina

      I’m usually 34 to 50 a month. For all the money I’m paying these dicks.

    • Dani Hayes

      I’m with AT&T and still manage to use 10gb a month when throttled.

  • Eikast

    AT&T has been throttling since the iPhone 4.
    Verizon will only throttle those on a month to month plan (meaning that they’re not in a two year contract). Luckily for me and some others, we took advantage of an error on Verizon’s website in October and was able to upgrade to a new phone and extend our unlimited data contract by two years.
    Verizon allowed us to keep our unlimited data and our new phones.

    • NandoNY177 .

      I did the same thing, I wonder if it will ever happen again lol

    • Rowan09

      Didn’t Verizon upgrade customers who signs a new 2 year contract to new data plans or did you get grandfathered in? Verizon is slow anyways when compared to AT&T and T-Mobile.

  • Lordrootman

    Lawsuit is on the way

    • Paul Edmund


      • @dappa_yute

        yes I see a lawsuit … AT&T got sued over something similar like this awhile back. I’m in NY where I experience this and I’ll say that I’m about 20x’s that as I stream my sling box at times which will put me at 100GB at times (without a doubt I’m suppose to be at the ‘top’ of vzw 5% easily)

      • Foellarbear

        same here… extremely disappointed..

    • Antzboogie

      They should lol. Funny how everything unlimited is always a lie until the fine print. 😉

  • Rowan09

    I made that switch from AT&T and I’m loving it especially for traveling abroad.

  • disqusted

    The small handful of those who have managed to somehow slip past all other attempts by Verizon to f**k you out of the unlimited data plan they promised everyone then in a very calculated manner began to force people out of by imposing exclusions that would remove eligibility from 90% of users within a year or two… All of you who managed to get this far— first, congratulations, impressive feat. Second, did you think that eventually they wouldn’t find a way to f**k you, yet?

    It’s almost like the US government! Promise is all these freedoms and rights and then slowly begin to exclude and nullify those little by little. Before you know it, you’re bent over. Verizon is much the same. They’re part of a capitalist oligopoly, where there are few players and powerhouses. Namely, the big four. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint & T-Mobile. They collude to control prices and the market. They crush any attempts by new competitors to enter the market, and they collude to find ways to screw customers and get their money without giving each other any special benefit. Other than they mutually benefit from agreeing on ways to dominate the “free market”.

    “As a quantitative description of oligopoly, the four-firm concentration ratio is often utilized. This measure expresses the market share of the four largest firms in an industry as a percentage. For example, as of fourth quarter 2008, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile together control 89% of the US cellular phone market.”

    “Oligopolistic competition can give rise to a wide range of different outcomes. In some situations, the firms may employ restrictive trade practices (collusion, market sharing etc.) to raise prices and restrict production in much the same way as a monopoly. Where there is a formal agreement for such collusion, this is known as a ‘cartel’. A primary example of such a cartel is OPEC, which has a profound influence on the international price of oil.”

    Fun. Apparently this is already done for me. That was from Wikipedia’s entry for “oligopoly”. Apparently other industries, there are 6 major film studios, 7 TV and high speed internet powers, 2 beer ones, 2 airliners, three food service ones, 3 video game ones, 6 publishers, etc. Can you name these industry dominating superpowers of capitalism? It’ll be fun. See if you truly know who that is behind you, reaming you. ‘Whose c**k is that inside of me?’ That’s what we can call it. Answers are in aforementioned Wiki article. Good luck!

  • Foellarbear

    I feel your pain Manuel… I’m in the same exact boat with you. Why pay for internet from two different providers when your already receiving internet from one?? Makes no sense.

  • Truffol

    Would be interesting to see how much of Verizon’s overall LTE bandwidth these 5% users use haha.

  • Thomas

    XLTE before throttling, it is going to be tuff for Verizon to make it slower.