Verizon begins throttling top 5% of data users

Verizon is in a reliability and efficiency war with AT&T right now. While it used to be a given that AT&T’s GSM network had nothing on Verizon, and blame was typically placed squarely on the shoulders of the iPhone, Verizon’s entry into the iPhone world is nothing short of a stress test on their networks, especially when customers are going to be specifically looking out for any dropped calls or service failures.

According to BGR, Verizon will now start implementing data throttling for the top 5% of its data consumers. The memo uncovered by BGR defends the other 95% in this move, saying, “our proactive management of the Verizon Wireless network is designed to ensure that the remaining 95% of data customers aren’t negatively affected by the inordinate data consumption of just a few users.”

Verizon, of course, won’t actually call it throttling, instead opting for the more neutral “optimizing.” Some of you will be happy to hear that the regular user will get better service, while the movie downloaders amongst us will be upset that their previously unfettered bandwidth is now being reserved for those that may not need it. However you look at it, this could be an admission that Verizon isn’t 100% ready for the sudden influx of iPhones onto their network. As there hasn’t been very many complaints about Verizon service up until now, it seems that the most probable reason for this action is in preparation for the coming iConquest.

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I live in a country where everything is the contrary, we used to have "fair usage policy" on broadband and mobile connections but some months ago, they removed it and made everything " UNLIMITED "

Geniusguy said,
I live in a country where everything is the contrary, we used to have "fair usage policy" on broadband and mobile connections but some months ago, they removed it and made everything " UNLIMITED "
I predict in the next 2 decades (20 years) everything will be truly unlimited world wide.

Maybe I just have conservative usage patterns on my Droid2, but I don't come anywhere close to those kinds of numbers from 3G usage. My phone jumps on any of the several (secured and trusted) Wi-Fi networks that I'm routinely in range of (home, work, university, etc).

It's likely a lot more expensive/complicated to add more wireless bandwidth than, say, terrestrial internet (cable, fiber, whatever). I don't know what cell towers cost, but they probably don't come cheap and are just one part of the magnificently complex system that is a network like Verizon's. If a few people getting throttled ensures that everyone else has bandwidth, then whatever. Really not a big deal, and supposedly a very small percentage of customers would be affected anyway.

Kaidiir said,
Maybe I just have conservative usage patterns on my Droid2, but I don't come anywhere close to those kinds of numbers from 3G usage. My phone jumps on any of the several (secured and trusted) Wi-Fi networks that I'm routinely in range of (home, work, university, etc).

It's likely a lot more expensive/complicated to add more wireless bandwidth than, say, terrestrial internet (cable, fiber, whatever). I don't know what cell towers cost, but they probably don't come cheap and are just one part of the magnificently complex system that is a network like Verizon's. If a few people getting throttled ensures that everyone else has bandwidth, then whatever. Really not a big deal, and supposedly a very small percentage of customers would be affected anyway.

The cost is middle of the road when it comes to mobile towers - the big obstruction to any building is the local NIMBY's who think that their little Johnny or Susies brain will be fried if a mobile phone is erected hence you'll find that most of the cost is associated with complying with regulations, compensating neighbours and fighting legal battles. If it were just a matter of building more towers then it would have been years ago but the reality is more complex than just putting up a tower and walking away.

for years verizon has been saying that they can handle the iphone now they are switching all the policies because of it, obviously their network cant handle it, time for me to run over to sprint, if sprint announces the iphone am going to metropcs. i wonder if they will throttle all the iphones that they might sell?hmmm verizon the crap of communication

So do iPhones use more data than Android phones? I'm not sure why they would exactly... it isn't like the iPhone is Verizon's first smartphone. Maybe a lot of folks currently on feature phones will switch over because of the iPhone and that is their concern?

It has nothing to do with the iPhone given the huge number of android handsets. It has everything to do with a huge influx of customers which will bring smart phones with them, increasing the ratio of feature phone to smart phone users on the whole network.

I do not see the problem with this as due to technological constraints, 3G data is a public shared resource that is not unlimited, and to prevent tragedy of the commons (the few using most of the resource leaving little for everyone else), fair use policies need to be enacted so that the community achieves all the benefits from the resource.

So why leeches may utilise the network to the fullest, it will make the network fairly unresponsive for the rest of the users who may only want to load a 100 kB page, but expect it to load near instantly.

You can experience this if you ever go to a music festival in the middle of a city, and you cannot make a phone call or send an SMS all day due to congestion on both Optus and Vodafone. Mobile networks are not designed to serve the capacity of 20 000 km^2+ over a small area.

I'm surpised someone has hasn't sued Verizon or AT&T over there usage of the term "Unlimited" in there plan names.

I can understand the technical reason behind what there doing but if I'm going to pay a arm and leg to use Verizon I want to get what I pay for. Which is why I'm happy with my WP7 phone on T-Mobile, yeah the reception might not be as good but they still have truly unlimited data plans .

eviltwigflipper said,
I'm surpised someone has hasn't sued Verizon or AT&T over there usage of the term "Unlimited" in there plan names.

I can understand the technical reason behind what there doing but if I'm going to pay a arm and leg to use Verizon I want to get what I pay for. Which is why I'm happy with my WP7 phone on T-Mobile, yeah the reception might not be as good but they still have truly unlimited data plans .

That's why everywhere you see them say it, they also have a little number or star next to it that reference another portion of that add saying some restrictions apply. legal loop holes.

eviltwigflipper said,
I'm surpised someone has hasn't sued Verizon or AT&T over there usage of the term "Unlimited" in there plan names.

I can understand the technical reason behind what there doing but if I'm going to pay a arm and leg to use Verizon I want to get what I pay for. Which is why I'm happy with my WP7 phone on T-Mobile, yeah the reception might not be as good but they still have truly unlimited data plans .

Exactly! "Unlimited" means.... exactly that: unlimited! At least the so called "fair usage policy" or whatever they call it should be exposed very clearly and customer should be required to specifically sigh it for acceptance as it should be for every vessatory clause included in contract with cosumers. Granted with our "representatives", people who get to Capitol Hill thans to the money poured by the same companies the behaviour of which they are supposed to overview in the best interest of the people it is a long way to Tipperary.............

ILikeTobacco said,

That's why everywhere you see them say it, they also have a little number or star next to it that reference another portion of that add saying some restrictions apply. legal loop holes.

Exactly. A company can state the most outlandish lie so long as there is an * and a footnote that supplies enough language for wiggle room.

eviltwigflipper said,
I'm surpised someone has hasn't sued Verizon or AT&T over there usage of the term "Unlimited" in there plan names.

I can understand the technical reason behind what there doing but if I'm going to pay a arm and leg to use Verizon I want to get what I pay for. Which is why I'm happy with my WP7 phone on T-Mobile, yeah the reception might not be as good but they still have truly unlimited data plans .

T-Mobile "throttles" and "optimizes" already. If you go over 5Gb (You know, top 5 percent), you get throttled down to 56k dialup speeds. They also compress images when you use the default epc apn. Verizon may do more optimizing or compressing with videos and stuff though. I don't think t-mobile does anything with videos.

Fritzly said,
Exactly! "Unlimited" means.... exactly that: unlimited! At least the so called "fair usage policy" or whatever they call it should be exposed very clearly and customer should be required to specifically sigh it for acceptance as it should be for every vessatory clause included in contract with cosumers. Granted with our "representatives", people who get to Capitol Hill thans to the money poured by the same companies the behaviour of which they are supposed to overview in the best interest of the people it is a long way to Tipperary.............

Personally I have nothing against 'acceptable use policies' but it is amazing they never actually define what 'acceptable use' actually is - is it 1GB per day? 5 gb per month? 400 minutes per month? a maximum of 2 hours per call? the ISP I was with had an 'acceptable use policy' but never actually defined what acceptable - I downloaded 85-90Gb one month and I was told my use was 'unacceptable' - but whose metric is it acceptable or unacceptable?

We'll se what those Verizon fan boys will say when verizon's network takes a nose dive when everyone starts using their iPhones.

Quick Shot said,
We'll se what those Verizon fan boys will say when verizon's network takes a nose dive when everyone starts using their iPhones.

I doubt it will, they have a ton of smart phones on it already, and a LOT of andriod phones... if they can handle that, they can handle the iPhone

Quick Shot said,
We'll se what those Verizon fan boys will say when verizon's network takes a nose dive when everyone starts using their iPhones.

I think it'll be more funny when the Verizon network doesn't break a sweat while AT&T's network still sucks after people leave to Verizon....

Buttus said,

I think it'll be more funny when the Verizon network doesn't break a sweat while AT&T's network still sucks after people leave to Verizon....

True. that's extremely possible.
I recently received an email from AT&T stating that they improved the network in my area during peak hours. So far I have not noticed a difference.
And honestly, the only reason I'm staying with AT&T is because they grandfathered unlimited data for my iPhone and I use a whole lot of bandwidth...

See unless im reading it wrong, this is the way it should be. Dont have set limits but have it so that you can go ahead and knock yourself out, but if you drain too much so it kills the network, then your gonna get restricted. Cannot be fairer really

MattStocker said,
See unless im reading it wrong, this is the way it should be. Dont have set limits but have it so that you can go ahead and knock yourself out, but if you drain too much so it kills the network, then your gonna get restricted. Cannot be fairer really
Negative.

That is 100% an excuse. If an ISP is offering a 1MB/s unlimited connection then you should be able to use it 24/365 at 1MB/s.

If the ISP can not handle that then it should NOT be allowed to offer the user the 1MB/s.

This is known as overselling and sadly is common practice today in pretty much everything. Should be illegal!!

I'm not surprised. Nothing is truly unlimited nowadays. There's always some sort of "fair usage policy" in place to prevent the few from ruining things for the many.

Reminds me of an actual quote from one of the ISPs I used a few years ago. "Yes, your internet service is unlimited as long as you stay below the 5GB limit." (Actually, I don't recall the exact amount of the limit, so I used 5GB as a place holder.) I couldn't figure out how it could be unlimited when it had a limit.

SoCalRox said,
Reminds me of an actual quote from one of the ISPs I used a few years ago. "Yes, your internet service is unlimited as long as you stay below the 5GB limit." (Actually, I don't recall the exact amount of the limit, so I used 5GB as a place holder.) I couldn't figure out how it could be unlimited when it had a limit.

Most dialup providers set a limit on the number of connected hours. Usually right around 250 hours. Only a couple didn't have a limit and I regularly exceeded 400 hours a month. One month was just over 700 hours. Blame my early downloading habits.

SoCalRox said,
Reminds me of an actual quote from one of the ISPs I used a few years ago. "Yes, your internet service is unlimited as long as you stay below the 5GB limit." (Actually, I don't recall the exact amount of the limit, so I used 5GB as a place holder.) I couldn't figure out how it could be unlimited when it had a limit.

yeah we had the same thing here in NZ called big time from Telecom/Xtra NZ download as much as you like but don't go over 20GB every month or we'll move you to another more expensive account

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
"You're not allowed to use what you pay for!"

What's next? "You watch too much cable, we're gonna cut you off!"

Cable does not operate like a mobile phone tower hence there isn't the bandwidth, congestion and and contention that can happen with a mobile phone tower hence the comparison is stupid.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Cable does not operate like a mobile phone tower hence there isn't the bandwidth, congestion and and contention that can happen with a mobile phone tower hence the comparison is stupid.


Someone was spanked as a child.

The Laughing Man said,

Someone was spanked as a child.

Except he's right, at least when comparing to watching cable TV.

Kaidiir said,

Except he's right, at least when comparing to watching cable TV.

Cable internet is a shared medium though...

Ok, well what if this same company was cutting people off for making too many calls?
What if Netflix started cutting off users who downloaded more than others, even though it's unlimited?
I shouldn't even have to make comparisons. It's just common sense, if you have an "unlimited" plan, it's unlimited, or that's how it should be.

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
Ok, well what if this same company was cutting people off for making too many calls?
What if Netflix started cutting off users who downloaded more than others, even though it's unlimited?
I shouldn't even have to make comparisons. It's just common sense, if you have an "unlimited" plan, it's unlimited, or that's how it should be.

Of course but no one has ever denied that - to market something as unlimited knowing full well that it would be impossible to deliver on such a promise is a stupid business decision that should never have left the office in the first place.

Fred 69 said,
Cable internet is a shared medium though...

You can easily add more capacity that you can in the case of a mobile phone tower; people don't suddenly move to a particular area each year during the summer and start using up all the bandwidth in that area temporarily. Go to any major holiday resort and watch the slowness of mobile broadband because of the number accessing facilities in an otherwise quiet area. You're comparing a fixed network to a mobile network to which the use and number of people in a given area fluctuate.