Verizon to Begin Spot Throttling of High-Usage Customers on Unlimited LTE Plans

Following a report by Droid Life yesterday, Verizon has now confirmed to Gigaom that starting October 1 the carrier will begin spot throttling of certain high-usage customers connecting to carrier's LTE network. The policy affects users on grandfathered unlimited data plans that are no longer offered and who rank in the top five percent of data users at Verizon.

verizon_lte_reliable
While Verizon has had a similar policy in place for its 3G network for several years, the extension of it to the LTE network that now handles 76 percent of the carrier's data traffic will be noticeable for a number of users.

On October 1, Verizon will start throttling back LTE speeds on its heaviest unlimited-plan subscribers when they move into congested cells on its networks. What that means is that when the network gets crowded, Verizon will prioritize 4G customers who buy their data by the gigabyte over unlimited plan customers who fall into the top fifth percentile of monthly data usage.

As of today, the top five percent consists of customers who use 4.7GB or more of data each month, though that number will fluctuate month-to-month as traffic patterns change.

Rather than blanket throttling of users speeds when they hit certain thresholds, Verizon will be weighing demand on individual cell sites and assigning these unlimited users lower priority and thus slower speeds than other customers during periods of high demand.

Verizon said that its new policy will only apply to customers who have fulfilled their contract terms (so if you renewed your data plan under contract in the last two years, you’re safe). The policy remains in effect for a subscriber for the entirety of a billing period. If you’re still in the top 5 percentile of users at the end of that month, then the throttling policy continues for another billing period. But if you’re not, then all restrictions are lifted – at least until your next bill.

With the explosion in smartphone usage in recent years, carriers have been turning to throttling to help manage demand on their networks. The policies are also being used to encourage users to move away from the unlimited data plans that were popular in the early smartphone days but which have been phased out by carriers in a shift to tiered data plans in which the amount users pay is tied to their data usage.

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Top Rated Comments

mac.cali Avatar
130 months ago
I support this. If you want more you should be forced to pay more.

Then don't offer something if you didn't intend to honor it like you advertised it. :rolleyes:
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
benh911f Avatar
130 months ago
These carriers can't keep calling these plans "unlimited" if they're not actually unlimited.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Prof. Avatar
130 months ago
I support this. If you want more you should be forced to pay more.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Justinb51 Avatar
130 months ago
I support this. If you want more you should be forced to pay more.

That's BS!

Some if us were forced to buy unlimited plans when we signed up! (I for one didn't want unlimited!)

It's not our fault that it's not advantageous for the carrier now.

(Now I love unlimited, no worries)

If I make an error I have to pay for it! Time for the carriers to have to deal with it. Not to mention the prices on these plans are outrageous any way. These carriers are making money hand over fist!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
benh911f Avatar
130 months ago
They technically are unlimited, the speed however is not, and that's how they get away with it ;)

But it's all part of one plan. The speed is part of the plan. Limiting the speed is limiting the plan. :p At least in my opinion.

un·lim·it·ed
ˌənˈlimitid/
adjective
not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity, or extent.

Since the speed is being restricted, I don't consider that unlimited.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ManWithAPlan Avatar
130 months ago
Last nail in the coffin...bu bye VZ, hello T-Mobile....did the T-Mobile Test Drive a month ago, and the coverage and throughput was insane compared to Verizon LTE. VZ has really gotten horrible lately, even in parts of the Northeast here, and T-Mobile is truly unlimited for 80 bucks/month. Done and done.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)