Verizon has been throttling unlimited 3G data subscribers for years now, but never 4G LTE users. Until today, when they announced this morning that beginning October 1st, the top 5% of 4G LTE data users who coincidentally meet a series of other factors will get throttled. According to DroidLife, a recent report showed that over 20% of Verizon data users were still on an unlimited data plan, so it’s no surprise that Verizon would want to push these users to a tiered data plan.
Verizon doesn’t want to call the change “throttling”, rather, they refer to as “Network Optimization”. Though the silver lining in all this is that this doesn’t mean you’re going to be “optimized” constantly. The following is the list that Verizon released that you must meet to have your data throttled:
- Top 5% of data users (you use 4.7GB of data per month or more)
- Enrolled on an unlimited data plan or feature
- Have fulfilled their minimum contract term
- Are attempting to use data on a cell site that is experiencing high demand
Basically, the chance of getting throttled only kicks in when you use about 5GB of data a month. After that, you must be in an area that is experiencing high data traffic. So chances are if you in the middle of Manhattan on a Tuesday, expect some slowdowns during peak hours. Rather, these policy chances shouldn’t effect you too much if you’re located in a rural Ohio.
So how can you avoid throttling you ask? Switch to a MORE Everything plan, which is basically a family share plan for group accounts and normal tiered data for individual.
The official FAQ about the change from Verizon can be found below. You can also read the full statement from Verizon here.
Why did you implement Network Optimization practices for customers with unlimited data plans? We are well known for our wireless networks and we are dedicated to ensuring that our customers have the best wireless experience possible. Our network is a shared resource with tens of millions of customers. We implemented Network Optimization practices to ensure that all of our customers have the positive experience they expect.
Am I affected by Network Optimization? Only a small percent of customers will be affected. To be affected, you must be a data customer on an unlimited data plan who is among the top 5% of data users.
What about the other 95% of data customers? The overwhelming majority of our data customers, 95%, are not impacted at all. The relatively high data consumption of just a small portion of data users could cause congestion for the rest of users, so we’re making this improvement to ensure that everyone continues to experience the nation’s best, most reliable network.
Is this the same as throttling? No, this is not throttling.
How is this different than throttling? The difference between our Network Optimization practices and throttling is network intelligence. 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. So, if you’re in the top 5% of data users, your speed is reduced only when you are connected to a cell site experiencing high demand. Once you are no longer connected to a site experiencing high demand, your speed will return to normal. This could mean a matter of seconds or hours, depending on your location and time of day.
How will I know if I’m in the top 5% of data users? As of March 2014, the top 5% of data users were using 4.7 GB or more of data each month.
I’m a small business customer, will this affect me? Anyone on an unlimited data plan and in the top 5% of data users is subject to Network Optimization. If you think this will impact your business, contact your sales representative or go into your local Verizon Wireless Communications Store to discuss other service plans to meet your needs.
Does this affect my calling? Texting? This will not affect your texting or voice calls.
Once my data speed is reduced, am I going to be under Network Optimization forever? No. You will be subject to Network Optimization for that billing cycle and the following cycle. When subject to Network Optimization you will only be affected when connected to a cell site experiencing high demand. Otherwise, your data will operate as normal.
Can my data speed be reduced more than once? Can it be done consecutively? Yes, if you are consistently in the top 5% on an unlimited data plan, you will continue to be subject to Network Optimization when connected to a cell site experiencing high demand.
Is there a way for me to avoid the possibility of having my data speed reduced? If you’re on an unlimited data plan and are concerned that you are in the top 5% of data users, you can switch to a usage-based data plan as customers on usage-based plans are not impacted. Information on our usage-based data plans can be found at http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/explore/?page=data.
How slow should I expect my phone to function? Because this process is in place to ensure the best service to our customers, the speed will vary at any given time. It will depend on how many users are on the same site at that time and what data applications are being used on that site at that time.