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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