Verizon Playing it Safe, Throttles Data Speeds for Bandwidth Hogs
There’s no doubt that Verizon has sat back, watched and learned as AT&T launched the iPhone as the exclusive US carrier, and shortly thereafter its network became crippled, in large part due to bandwidth hogs.
Carriers know all about these bandwidth hogs: they make up a very small percentage of data users, but take advantage of the unlimited data plans by using up as much as humanly possible, subsequently sucking up the majority of the available bandwidth and making life miserable for anyone else using a smartphone on the network.They’re the ones watching Netflix and listening to Pandora all day. They just can’t get enough internet.
And AT&T’s network crashed and burned in some areas as a result, turning the largest GSM carrier the punchline of the joke across the nation.
Verizon, concerned about how these data-heavy users would affect the network for everyone else, took some lessons from AT&T’s struggles and as of yesterday is throttling back data speeds once anyone reaches a soft limit of 2 GB or above. Here’s Verizon’s words exactly:
Verizon Wireless strives to provide customers the best experience when using our network, a shared resource among tens of millions of customers. To help achieve this, if you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand. 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.
So if you’re a bandwidth hog, consider yourself warned: if you were on AT&T’s grandfathered unlimited data plan, you had it GOOD.
There are no specific details on how much the speeds will be throttled, nor what the term “periodically” will refer to (does that mean only once in a while, or just another word for “constantly”?), but we’ll report on more details as they come.
It appears that if you already had an unlimited data plan prior to yesterday, your data won’t be throttled. In other words, if you purchase an iPhone 4 with Verizon, consider yourself throttled.
This is the first in what will surely be a series of moves by Verizon Wireless designed to help prevent its network from struggling the same way AT&T’s has. Nobody is quite certain as to how long it will take Verizon to drop the unlimited data entirely to opt for tiered data plans similar to how AT&T is currently structured, but CEO Lowell McAdam has made it clear that the unlimited plan offer is only a limited-time deal.
So what do you think? Good deal, or horrible news? I guess it depends on whether you’re part of the 5% or not.