Print 44 comment(s) - last by Arkive.. on Jul 28 at 4:10 PM

Verizon Wireless will reduce your LTE speeds if you're in the top 5% and are connected to a congested cell site

If you’re a Verizon Wireless customer that managed to make it this long with an unlimited LTE data plan, your “all-you-can-eat buffet” of data downloads might soon be hindered if you’re in a high-population area. While Verizon Wireless has made great strides in moving its customers to More Everything plans, it still has some stragglers still clinging to unlimited data plans from yesteryear.
As a part of its “Network Optimization” policy, Verizon Wireless customers with unlimited data plans (that meet certain criteria) will see their speeds temporarily reduced. The change in policy, which was first noticed by Droid-Life, states that your data speeds could be reduced if the following conditions are met:
  • You are on an unlimited LTE data plan
  • You are among the top 5 percent of data customers (this means you’ve used more than 4.7GB during a billing cycle)
  • You are connected to a cell site that is experiencing heavy congestion

Under Verizon Wireless’ Network Optimization policy, users will not see their data speeds reduced for the remainder of the billing cycle — they will only see reduced speeds when they are connected to a congested cell site. Once the customer has moved to a less congested cell site, service will return to normal LTE speeds “in a matter of seconds or hours, depending on your location and time of day.”
Verizon Wireless doesn’t want to call this tactic “throttling”, so it explains:
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.
Verizon Wireless’ new policy for unlimited LTE customers will go into effect on October 1.

Sources: Droid-Life [1], [2], Verizon Wireless

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Call it what it is you weasels
By LBID on 7/25/2014 2:55:59 PM , Rating: 5
It's throttling, pure and simple.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By drycrust3 on 7/25/14, Rating: -1
RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By xxbluesaintxx on 7/25/2014 4:33:10 PM , Rating: 2
As I recall, it was a massive Chicago billboard reading "UNLIMITED DATA AT VERIZON" that led to my mutually agreed upon contractual agreement many years ago with said Verizon.

Perhaps it's seller's remorse? Perhaps their double selling network capacity?

That said, a little throttling during high congestion now and then(in theory) doesn't bother me too much yet.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By BRB29 on 7/28/2014 7:20:59 AM , Rating: 3
a little throttling during high congestion now and then(in theory) doesn't bother me too much yet.

If they're throttling you then it means they had the capacity but decide to just limit you. If it was congestion, then the speed would just lower naturally. Verizon just want to lower their bill while charging you the same price.

What is really happening is that they don't want to honor their contract due to cost. This is pure BS. Don't sell Unlimited Data at a certain price if you can't afford to sell it at that price. It's not even about expense, Verizon is clearly profitable with wide margins. They're just being greedy and screwing over customers. I hope Tmobile take advantage of this and convert more customers.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By FITCamaro on 7/28/2014 8:41:38 AM , Rating: 2
That contract has since ended though and now you are under a new one. By your own choice. Not Verizons. You're no longer tied to a cell phone company by your number. Only your desire to keep using the service. If you don't like the new terms, leave.

Sure it'd be great if we could all use as much data as we wanted without any problems for others. But that's not the case. Bandwidth and the ability of towers to handle traffic is limited. Verizon is still building out its LTE network.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By Arkive on 7/28/2014 12:27:45 PM , Rating: 2
As much as I hate to agree with him, FITCamaro is right. All of us who have desparately clung to our unlimited plans are no longer under contract with Verizon, we are merely operating on the same plan, whjich Verizon is free to modify at it's convenience and we are free to leave as well. I guess the good news is this might actually save me a few bucks since I can subsidize my next phone instead of paying full price to avoid losing unlimited.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By hughlle on 7/25/2014 5:39:52 PM , Rating: 4
No, it is a case of selling a service you cannot support. If you can't handle people being heavy users, then you shouldn't be selling them a supposedly unlimited contract.

How on earth is it logical to penalize someone for making use of the benefits of their contract?

It is very simple, if your network cannot handle the demands your contracts will create, then you should not offer that contract.

By xxbluesaintxx on 7/25/2014 9:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
Fractional reserve data contracts

Like a bank rolling the dice and lending 10 times the amount they have on deposit, the data carrier writes more data contracts then they have data to cover. A congested area is like a bank run. Not enough data to cover the withdrawals.

Throttling is like a "Bail in", where the data of those who the carrier has the highest liability, is confiscated to cover the with withdrawals and keep the carrier solvent.

Verizon is to big to fail.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By mushkins on 7/26/14, Rating: -1
RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By Ahnilated on 7/28/2014 9:52:50 AM , Rating: 2
I hate to tell you but you need to look up the word "Unlimited". It doesn't mean you can throttle me at any point you want. Verizon's contract with me is "Unlimited" IE Without Limits. That means I can use my max speeds all month long because that is what I was sold and the contract they agreed upon, anything less is a violation of that contract. That would mean they could be sued for violating a contract plain and simple.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By Arkive on 7/28/2014 4:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
Your confusion is that you believe you are under contract. If you still have unlimited, you are not. You are month to month. And guess how often your terms and conditions can change under a plan like that: month to month. I agree though, use of the word "Unlimited" is unsavory at best and deceptive at worst.

By FITCamaro on 7/28/2014 8:43:15 AM , Rating: 2
They no longer offer that service for sale though. They CHOOSE to allow you to continue to operate under the old terms. Contractually they are not required to. Your contract for that specific plan has ended.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By daboom06 on 7/25/2014 4:26:43 PM , Rating: 3
i'm biased and a little sore that i didn't get in on it before everyone quit offering the unlimited lte, but... if i can't have it then NEITHER SHOULD ANYONE ELSE.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By Motoman on 7/26/2014 10:56:09 AM , Rating: 2
It is absolutely absurd that cell phone provers and ISPs can use the word "unlimited" in the names of products that are clearly, irrefutably, *wildly* LIMITED.

Massive dropping of the ball by regulatory authorities. If we had brains in our head, companies would have to accurately describe and name their products and services. And as of right now, every company currently using the word "unlimited" to name/describe such products needs to be taken out behind the barn and shot in the head.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By testbug00 on 7/27/2014 1:51:55 PM , Rating: 1
except, there is no data cap on the service, yes? Henceforce, unlimited data.

One could argue that due to their being a bandwidth limit on such "unlimited" plans due to their being a max speed and a max amount of time inside a period of service you are charged for.

However, throttling the speed at which someone gets data does not stop the amount of total data you are allowed to use, right?

By xxbluesaintxx on 7/27/2014 5:47:48 PM , Rating: 2
Except throttling is limiting.

That's the purpose.

RE: Call it what it is you weasels
By Motoman on 7/27/2014 7:38:00 PM , Rating: 3
except, there is no data cap on the service, yes? Henceforce, unlimited data.

No, that kind of "reasoning" is why you need to remove yourself from the gene pool.

What does throttling do? It limits the speed of your connection. Hence, limited.

Not unlimited. Limiting something in one way, but not another way, is not unlimited. When you place the first limit, of any kind, it's limited.

All persons who don't understand this fundamental, irrefutable truth, kindly stop breathing.

4.7 GB?
By xxbluesaintxx on 7/25/2014 3:51:44 PM , Rating: 2
I'm using 60+ GB a month. I think I'm finally a 1%er.

RE: 4.7 GB?
By puter_geek_00 on 7/25/2014 4:45:45 PM , Rating: 5
Whoa! That is a LOT of n00dz and Pr0n. Your arms must be huge.

RE: 4.7 GB?
By ProfFarnsworth on 7/25/2014 6:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
That comment is a 5 star post!

RE: 4.7 GB?
RE: 4.7 GB?
By xxbluesaintxx on 7/25/2014 6:46:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ahh shucks. And on my 1st post.
Welcome to the dailytech comments section xxbluesaintxx.

Good times.

RE: 4.7 GB?
By seta on 7/26/2014 5:54:49 AM , Rating: 2
Pfft. Amateur.

Hitting 200GB two weeks in on an unlimited plan down here in AUS.

Although, I'm technically I'm not really using it as a phone...

RE: 4.7 GB?
By elleehswon on 7/26/2014 10:36:07 AM , Rating: 2
damn, dude. take it easy on that thing. you might need to make kids some day.

RE: 4.7 GB?
By drycrust3 on 7/27/2014 12:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
Although, I'm technically I'm not really using it as a phone...

That is exactly the problem with unlimited plans: there is a temptation to use it in ways that weren't thought of when the network was designed. Not that using it in other ways is wrong, it is innovation. The problem is that when you are using it in ways outside of the "statistical norm" then the extra demand you place on the network could easily be to the detriment of other users, and that is the problem.
In about 10 years time you could well find most people will be using a mobile network connection to connect their home computer to the internet, and that only people like gamers will actually have a broadband connection. The reason for this is the cost of mobile connections is dropping because of continued investment in this area.

RE: 4.7 GB?
By Rukkian on 7/28/2014 12:31:29 PM , Rating: 2
With the amount of people I hear that are using it like you, I cannot believe I am considered the 5%. I use 7-8GB/month, with about 6.5GB of that on Netflix. I have a 40 minute bus ride to/from work and watch Netflix on the bus.

I am not worried about being throttled, however, as the place I use my data is in the middle of nowhere just riding along I-80 in Iowa with no big cities less than 200 miles away.

By VoodooChicken on 7/25/2014 4:39:43 PM , Rating: 2
Even with heavy wifi use, I've been getting between 4-7 GB on Sprint data, my brother has broken 10 GB twice. Getting to be less and less worth it.

RE: So just ONE dvd worth of data gets you strangled
By Spuke on 7/25/2014 5:28:17 PM , Rating: 2
I did 27GB in a 3 day period once.

By Lord 666 on 7/25/2014 9:52:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'm up to 91gb for the month and the billing cycle started 7/4 using a 295 XLTE device. Huge difference vs regular LTE in both signal penetration and stability.

By Lord 666 on 7/26/2014 12:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
Nope... 40 computers and ip phones behind a cradlepoint with the 295 card on government plan. Have to reach out to VZW and make sure this card is exempt from this "throttling."

Just Verizon being Verizon.
By theplaidfad on 7/25/2014 3:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
Is anyone else shocked? I know I am. /sarcasm

RE: Just Verizon being Verizon.
By havoti97 on 7/25/2014 5:29:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just shocked they haven't done it sooner. Better for business. I own their stocks.

RE: Just Verizon being Verizon.
By testbug00 on 7/27/2014 1:54:39 PM , Rating: 2
pretty sure the actual price of data used is measured in cents per GB, more likely, multiple GBs per cent.

All this means is they have to spend less to expand their network capacity, this may or may not affect that.

Marketing -.-
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/26/2014 7:27:09 AM , Rating: 2
Providers are so focused on "We provides the fastest service anywhere" they totally overlook the natural fallout of having all that speed -- people actually using it.

Their priority should not be having the fastest speed. Network speeds are just fine with today's LTE. They should all be focusing on network capacity. The reason they need to throttle is they just don't have the capacity to deal with large numbers of people making heavy use of their network. Fixing their capacity issues will get them farther down the road than short monthly bursts of speed.

Capacity is what will get them new customers that will stay with them. Promising unlimited data and LTE speeds may get customers in the door, but throttling them down to almost nothing after downloading a single DVD, will have those new customers looking for other providers with more consistent performance as soon as their contract expires (or sooner for those without a contract).

RE: Marketing -.-
By mushkins on 7/26/2014 8:44:35 AM , Rating: 2
Except why are you downloading a DVD using your smartphone?

Seriously, what are you going to do with a DVDs worth of data on your smartphone? If you're using 4G service on your phone as a permanent residential internet connection, you're already in violation of the terms you agreed to and they can shut you off. You should be on one of their 4G home hotspots with an increased data plan, or pay for actual wired residential service if its available.

The only people complaining about this are the people blatantly abusing the system and are in violation of their contract in the first place.

RE: Marketing -.-
By Labotomizer on 7/26/2014 10:53:20 AM , Rating: 1
Verizon doesn't promise unlimited data to any new customers and hasn't in over 3 years. The only ones who do that are Sprint and T-Mobile, and if you want to downgrade your service availability and quality in order to get unlimited data knock yourself out. I don't use a lot of cell data since I have WiFi at home, work, friend's houses, a lot of bars/restaurants have it, etc.

You're complaining for the sake of complaining.

Since when is prioritizing 5% of people a good thing?
By xdrol on 7/27/2014 7:48:44 AM , Rating: 2
All cellular networks are shared resource among all users. If your sorry ass is hogging the network all the time, others will have a worse service. Verizon is probably making 95% of users happier with this.

Start whining when you are connected as a lone user in the middle of the desert and you are throttled.

I hear "they should invest more into the network". Yeah, I guess setting up another PoP is just a matter of days, and does not require engineer weeks planning, government sitting on permissions for month, dealing with locals around the planned site protesting, and stuff.

By Ahnilated on 7/28/2014 10:00:37 AM , Rating: 2
So it is ok for Verizon to screw 95% of their customers by charging them too much for their service. Then they try to screw the last 5% that actually use their service like their contract says they can. Wow you people are ignorant and drank that cool aid and went back for seconds and thirds.

By ProfFarnsworth on 7/25/2014 6:09:24 PM , Rating: 2
How is this new? They have been doing this years, ever since the tiered packages of data plans. I know the work around to keep my unlimited data and have been getting new phones without any changes to the plan. It's stupid that they have to do this when data transfer is getting cheaper.

By jangelelcangry on 7/25/2014 10:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
Please upgrade to real 4G already and stop the throttling nonsense.
Correct me if I am wrong.

Thank you Mario but...
By xxbluesaintxx on 7/25/2014 10:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
Unlimited data plan throttling is like unto a plumber who after a perilous quest had defeated the unthrottled and tax laden bill called Koopa, is then told by a red fungus "Thank you Mario, but your data is in another tower".

Service sucks here anyways
By NaterC on 7/26/2014 11:16:38 AM , Rating: 2
Funny seeing this article. After moving to a major city from a rural area where 4G LTE was our primary internet connection (and worked great), I'm thinking of cancelling my 12+ year service with Verizon altogether. The data connection here flat out sucks. The phone is constantly locked up switching between 3G/4G, and when it is connected the speed feels like dial-up. Kinda makes having a smartphone pointless. (and there's two unlimited lines on my plan)

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