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Verizon initiates 'network optimization' to throttle bandwidth of heavy data users

post #1 of 97
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After first notifying customers of the upcoming practice in February, Verizon has now put "network optimization practices" into effect that will throttle the bandwidth of the top 5 percent of data users on its network, just weeks ahead of the launch of Apple's iPhone 5.

The wireless carrier had announced the policy in February ahead of the launch of the iPhone 4 on its network, but Droid-Life reports that the company has notified customers that, beginning Thursday, the practice has gone into effect.

"Beginning 9/15, we will start identifying customers who meet these criteria and will expand to others in the base after customer communications are completed. Network Optimization Practices only goes into effect when an Internet or Smartphone device with an unlimited plan/feature falls into the top 5% of data usage and is on a congested cell site," the company wrote in an email to customers.

Users marked for the periodic speed reduction will have the limitation last for the remainder of the current billing cycle and into the following. According to Verizon, the top 5 percent of data users on its network use 2GB or more of data each month.

A FAQ on the company's website indicates that full implementation of the program may take several weeks.

Verizon representatives are reportedly being told to recommend that customers either upgrade to a 4G Long-Term Evolution device, migrate to a usage-based (tiered) data plan or use Wi-Fi more often in order to avoid throttling.

In response to criticism over the policy, Verizon alleges that it is not throttling the same way as its competitors AT&T and T-Mobile are, as it is only slowing connections when users are on a congested cell site. In July, AT&T announced that it would begin reducing the speeds of the top 5 percent of its heaviest data users.

The new policy comes into effect within weeks of the expected launch of Apple's next-generation iPhone. Verizon has said it expects to participate in a simultaneous launch of the so-called iPhone 5 alongside AT&T, and possibly Sprint. The iPhone 5 is widely believed to sport a faster A5 processor and an 8-megapixel camera.
post #2 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In response to criticism over the policy, Verizon alleges that it is not throttling the same way as its competitors AT&T and T-Mobile are, as it is only slowing connections when users are on a congested cell site.

Only while on the cell cite? Yeah right:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Users marked for the periodic speed reduction will have the limitation last for the remainder of the current billing cycle and into the following.
post #3 of 97
What happen to the days of verizon mocking AT&T for havin a incompetent network before the vz iPhone?


Chumps..A so called "superior" network shouldn't have a bandwidth problem..
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post #4 of 97
Ah, at first I thought that it referred to FiOS! Good grief!
post #5 of 97
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post #6 of 97
I'm so screwed. My billing cycle just ended yesterday, I used 7.14 GB of mobile data this month. VZW will no like me.
post #7 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obsidian9 View Post

I'm so screwed. My billing cycle just ended yesterday, I used 7.14 GB of mobile data this month. VZW will no like me.

Only if you're on a congested cell site. I suppose that's pretty ambiguous, though.
post #8 of 97
I have no problem with them doing this. Clearly, the intent seems to be to keep one person from ruining the wireless data capabilities of maybe a hundred other users. I'm far more likely to be in that hypothetical group of a hundred than that group of one.
post #9 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by heffeque View Post

Ah, at first I thought that it referred to FiOS! Good grief!

Me too till I woke fully up! I was imagining NetFlix

BTW, you have FiOS in Spain?
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post #10 of 97
My daughter won't have any problem as she used less than 1 gig and that included her month of hot spotting thank goodness. It seems like a little bate and switch saying unlimited use then if you use it they get upset because you use it. Just saying.
post #11 of 97
Determining data usage for the top 5% is a dynamic and challenging problem.

I surmise that all people's billing cycles are different, and that the volume of data usage changes over time (either in a pattern such as week vs. weekend and/or increasing as more people are using smartphones).

My naivety is speaking here, but it seems that one could be in top 5% one minute and out the next. It would be interesting to see more details on how they do this, plus example data.

I'm not against this at all, but in addition to the relative amount of data as a criterion, there should be a magnitude element, like "top 5% and greater than 2 GB/month", IMO (although I think 2 GB / month is quite low).
post #12 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwhiteco View Post

My daughter won't have any problem as she used less than 1 gig and that included her month of hot spotting thank goodness. It seems like a little bate and switch saying unlimited use then if you use it they get upset because you use it. Just saying.

Agreed, I bet there will be a tiny [1] after the word 'unlimited' in their advertising from now on that will be a reference to a footer in 3 point text saying "[1] Not really"
Why not simply state the facts clearly what ever they are? I'm sure most people understand the need for a cap of some kind to be fair to all but we should know exactly what it is and how it applies. No need for tricks. This is yet another of so many situations where the US BCP needs more teeth to bite those that play games (BTW I wish they'd apply this to political ads and speeches from all concerned). I quote: Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive; Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and Advertisements cannot be unfair. Wouldn't it be refreshing if these things were enforced!
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post #13 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flash_beezy View Post

What happen to the days of verizon mocking AT&T for havin a incompetent network before the vz iPhone?


Chumps..A so called "superior" network shouldn't have a bandwidth problem..

Throttling is so yesterday's news. Now it's the at&t/T-Mobile merger that has the whiners up in arms. I was watching Lewis C.K. on the comedy channel last night and his description of our society as a bunch of self-important, douche bag whiners with delusions of entitlement was spot on.

And gluttony, of food or data, is one of the deadliest of the seven sins.
post #14 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

I have no problem with them doing this. Clearly, the intent seems to be to keep one person from ruining the wireless data capabilities of maybe a hundred other users. I'm far more likely to be in that hypothetical group of a hundred than that group of one.

And, eventually, more than 5% of all users will fall into the top 5% at some point. The top 5 this month will be throttled for this and next month. This will allow a new group to achieve top 5 status. it will be possible that up to 10% of users could be throttled in any one month because the program extends beyond one month.

I understand your point and even, to a point, agree with it. One small group of users should not cause harm to the entire class. But, the way to fix that is not throttling. Let heavy users pay for the excessive bandwidth.
post #15 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwhiteco View Post

My daughter won't have any problem as she used less than 1 gig and that included her month of hot spotting thank goodness. It seems like a little bate and switch saying unlimited use then if you use it they get upset because you use it. Just saying.

Not at all. You still have unlimited data - it's just that once you exceed a certain figure, your access slows down.
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post #16 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bsginc View Post

And, eventually, more than 5% of all users will fall into the top 5% at some point. The top 5 this month will be throttled for this and next month. This will allow a new group to achieve top 5 status. it will be possible that up to 10% of users could be throttled in any one month because the program extends beyond one month.

I understand your point and even, to a point, agree with it. One small group of users should not cause harm to the entire class. But, the way to fix that is not throttling. Let heavy users pay for the excessive bandwidth.

It's entirely reasonable to think that "top 5%" is a dynamic list. I really doubt it's meant to be a list you get on and stay on causing the list to potentially mean "top 50%" or something like that.
post #17 of 97
So if they are recommending 4g, does that mean that LTE won't be throttled or that an LTE site is just less likely to be congested?
post #18 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

I have no problem with them doing this. Clearly, the intent seems to be to keep one person from ruining the wireless data capabilities of maybe a hundred other users. I'm far more likely to be in that hypothetical group of a hundred than that group of one.

First they came for the top 5%, but I did not speak out, because I am not in the top 5%...
post #19 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsteeno View Post

Determining data usage for the top 5% is a dynamic and challenging problem.

I surmise that all people's billing cycles are different, and that the volume of data usage changes over time (either in a pattern such as week vs. weekend and/or increasing as more people are using smartphones).

My naivety is speaking here, but it seems that one could be in top 5% one minute and out the next. It would be interesting to see more details on how they do this, plus example data.

I'm not against this at all, but in addition to the relative amount of data as a criterion, there should be a magnitude element, like "top 5% and greater than 2 GB/month", IMO (although I think 2 GB / month is quite low).

I suspect the "and greater than 2 GB/month" caveat you mention at the end is already effectively covered by the "applying to overloaded cell sites" lingo that was mentioned in the announcement.
post #20 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

It's entirely reasonable to think that "top 5%" is a dynamic list. I really doubt it's meant to be a list you get on and stay on causing the list to potentially mean "top 50%" or something like that.

Well what Verizon is worried about is users over 2 GB per month not if a user falls in the top 5%. Right now they just happen to be the same. If everyone started using 30 GB of data tomorrow, Verizon would be worried about a lot more than the top 5%.
post #21 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bsginc View Post

And, eventually, more than 5% of all users will fall into the top 5% at some point. The top 5 this month will be throttled for this and next month. This will allow a new group to achieve top 5 status. it will be possible that up to 10% of users could be throttled in any one month because the program extends beyond one month.

I understand your point and even, to a point, agree with it. One small group of users should not cause harm to the entire class. But, the way to fix that is not throttling. Let heavy users pay for the excessive bandwidth.

If the users who get throttled think paying for their usage, instead of having others pay for their usage, is a better option, they are encouraged to do that. It's what everyone without an unlimited plan does.
post #22 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bsginc View Post

I understand your point and even, to a point, agree with it. One small group of users should not cause harm to the entire class. But, the way to fix that is not throttling. Let heavy users pay for the excessive bandwidth.

Or maybe, build enough infrastructure to handle your customer's demands?

Personally, I like the way T-Mobile does it. You get unlimited data at full speed, up to 2 Gigs. After 2 Gigs per billing cycle, you get reduced speeds for the balance of the billing cycle. Easy, predictable and fair. They tell you up front what to expect, and the deal is the deal.

The way Verizon is doing it, you get screwed in month 2 if you need lots of data in month 1. Not only that, you never quite know if or when you will reach the cap. By using percentages instead of hard numbers, they can screw around with impunity.
post #23 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Or maybe, build enough infrastructure to handle your customer's demands?

Personally, I like the way T-Mobile does it. You get unlimited data at full speed, up to 2 Gigs. After 2 Gigs per billing cycle, you get reduced speeds for the balance of the billing cycle. Easy, predictable and fair. They tell you up front what to expect, and the deal is the deal.

The way Verizon is doing it, you get screwed in month 2 if you need lots of data in month 1. Not only that, you never quite know if or when you will reach the cap. By using percentages instead of hard numbers, they can screw around with impunity.

I see it from the other angle and give more credit to VZW than T-Mobile. VZW is essentially saying that we're not even going to do this unless it becomes a problem at a specific cell site.
post #24 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

If the users who get throttled think paying for their usage, instead of having others pay for their usage, is a better option, they are encouraged to do that. It's what everyone without an unlimited plan does.

VZ's stock price is up over 50% in the last 3 years, and they currently pay a dividend of over 5%. I think that the "others" you refer to need not refer to your fellow customers.

ISTM that those who have paid for unlimited data should get exactly what they pay for, rather than being subject to a changing deal for an unchanging price. The stockholders, who put capital at risk based upon the deals made with customers, should accept the risk and, if necessary, make somewhat less profit.
post #25 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

I see it from the other angle and give more credit to VZW than T-Mobile. VZW is essentially saying that we're not even going to do this unless it becomes a problem at a specific cell site.

If VZ sells more data plans than their existing equipment can handle, then IMO they need additional infrastructure. Maybe instead of throttling 5% of existing customers, they should increase network capacity to handle the traffic that is generated by their ever-increasing customer base? Seemingly, they are increasing the subscriber base faster than they are increasing network capacity able to handle the new customers.

If a customer uses data, and then later VZ sells huge amounts of data plans in his neighborhood without increasing network capacity, the original customer gets screwed.
post #26 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

If VZ sells more data plans than their existing equipment can handle, then IMO they need additional infrastructure.

If a customer uses data, and then later VZ sells huge amounts of data plans in his neighborhood without increasing network capacity, the original customer gets screwed.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

If you think VZW is doing nothing to increase capacity, then say so and give some evidence to support it.
post #27 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

First they came for the top 5%, but I did not speak out, because I am not in the top 5%...

Then the came for the texters, but I did not speak out because I am not a texter
post #28 of 97
I wonder if the bandwidth cost of monitoring this more than the actual usage.
post #29 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Agreed, I bet there will be a tiny [1] after the word 'unlimited' in their advertising from now on that will be a reference to a footer in 3 point text saying "[1] Not really"
Why not simply state the facts clearly what ever they are? I'm sure most people understand the need for a cap of some kind to be fair to all but we should know exactly what it is and how it applies. No need for tricks. This is yet another of so many situations where the US BCP needs more teeth to bite those that play games (BTW I wish they'd apply this to political ads and speeches from all concerned). I quote: Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive; Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and Advertisements cannot be unfair. Wouldn't it be refreshing if these things were enforced!

I thought the US gov't was trying to remove regulation from industry, and if they can't do that, defund regulatory agencies that act as watchdogs of consumer protection. And all this in the name of growth and 'jobs creation.' This is what you get when such an agency has no teeth or the gov't sends an industry insider to the chair of that agency. Otherwise, we'd have free text messaging by now, there never would've been unlimited plans issued in the first place, and the largest mobile providers wouldn't have price collusion (nevermind the fact there are only 2 of them).

Finally, why doesn't Verizon just be the better person and give some arbitrary threshold before throttling. If they say top 5%, all they are doing is discouraging their own customers from using the products they purchased. If they put a cap of 2, 3, 4, or 5 GB before throttling, at least the customer would know what they can use before they'd get throttled and wouldn't have to wringe their hands every time they want to use their phone. Or better yet, build a 4G network that's worth upgrading to a tiered data plan. And for the sake of all things holy, put more than one or two tiers in the plans!!! This whole 2GB for tier 1, 4GB w/ tethering for tier 2, and oh there's no tier 3 plan is a bunch of bananas, excuse my language. :-P Some people (not me) want/need to use more data, let them pay for it. If you charge $70 a month for 10GB, you'll make more money off those users. And then I won't have to hear them complain about how they're getting throttled for using their jailbroken iPhones to illegally tether to a network and now they can't play WoW over 3G anymore.

Oh sorry

/rant
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post #30 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Me too till I woke fully up! I was imagining NetFlix

BTW, you have FiOS in Spain?

Nah, FTTH isn't picking up steam in Spain yet, but cable companies are starting to offer nice speeds: 30/1, 50/5 and 100/10 Mbps with EuroDOCSIS 3.0 with no bandwidth caps or throttling.

I was just amazed with how in the US right now Comcast, AT&T and all these companies are going backwards instead of forward, and seeing the Verizon thing I immediately thought about FiOS with a 2 GB data cap and sh¡t my pants
Good to see that the cap is on the wireless network and not their FiOS

And in a couple months I'll be going back to America... but to the Southern part of the continent. Lets hope internet connections in northern Brazil aren't too bad \
post #31 of 97
So since I'm grandfathered into the discontinued 3GB plan, if I actually try to use what I'm paying for I will be punished for it??? What about the peeps that have the 5GB plan?

I can understand some of the complicated things these carriers are dealing with. However making their own customer base the villains for actually taking them to task that they will receive what they pay for is not a very healthy business model.
post #32 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsteeno View Post

Determining data usage for the top 5% is a dynamic and challenging problem.

Well, as soon as you start throttling the top 5%, they drop off and there's now a new top 5%... Use this to throttle everyone ;-)
post #33 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Throttling is so yesterday's news. Now it's the at&t/T-Mobile merger that has the whiners up in arms. I was watching Lewis C.K. on the comedy channel last night and his description of our society as a bunch of self-important, douche bag whiners with delusions of entitlement was spot on.

And gluttony, of food or data, is one of the deadliest of the seven sins.

Who's whining? We just understand that less competition is harmful to the marketplace for the consumer. Higher prices, less features, less service...all come with less competition. Those that truly believe in a free market society should also believe there should be ample competition in the marketplace, and avoid oligopolies and monopolies.
post #34 of 97
So, I have a mi-fi device, recently upgraded for the 4G network (and it is faster) with a 5Gb plan. Interesting too, upgrading the device caused them to reduce my monthly charge to $50.

According to this article I shouldn't expect to be throttled because I have a tiered plan and not unlimited. I'm paying for it by contract. I get that.

For those on "unlimited" plans, it's VRZ definition of unlimited. Which we have seen they can redefine with 6 month's notice. That sucks.
post #35 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kavok View Post

So since I'm grandfathered into the discontinued 3GB plan, if I actually try to use what I'm paying for I will be punished for it??? What about the peeps that have the 5GB plan?

I can understand some of the complicated things these carriers are dealing with. However making their own customer base the villains for actually taking them to task that they will receive what they pay for is not a very healthy business model.

I think we're alright. It states that if you are on a tiered plan you don't get throttled.
post #36 of 97
i would imagine that cell phone users are hoping that sprint will pull off a miracle.

keep their prices the same
improve their service so that people can at least make a phone call
update their customer service so that people can actually get customer service

i would love to move my verizon account (over 10 years) to another carrier (maybe sprint) who appreciates and does the right thing.
post #37 of 97
...the REQUIREMENT of having a smartphone data plan that comes from your voice/text provider. To have to pay $30 a month for each line even if you are using wifi 90% of the time. I have 3 smartphones on my plan and have to pay $90.00 a month for 200mb - that's all we use. What I would like is for the requirement to be lifted and the option of using a 3rd party dongle for 4G (like a Clear 4G device) that could be put in my pocket. I would use the Verizon dongle if they were competitive - but right now - since there is no competition for cellphone data without chucking the entire phone - there is no incentive to offer better service or pricing. I live in California and am actually looking into the proposition process to see if something like this could be put on the ballot....

Would you vote in favor?
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post #38 of 97
Why aren't there any law suits against these telecommunication companies? When people sign a contract for unlimited data and can't get unlimited data then that is a breech of contract. Why aren't people going to their states attorney generals offices and filing complaints?

Throttling people to a slower speed is not allowing unlimited data. It is choking their ability to get unlimited data, because at the slower speed they won't be able to get the same amount of data they otherwise could receive.

At home I use sixty-five to eighty gigabytes of data each month. I use Skype, Netflix, and several different music streaming sources. I'll be moving into an RV next year. Even if I cut my usage in half as a mobile user it wouldn't come close to that 2 GB maximum.

The whole problem with the USA mobile networks is the government is in the pockets of the telecommunications companies. The government won't enforce contracts or require more upgrades to the networks.

In the 80s the telephone and cable TV companies promised to upgrade their networks to fiber optics in exchange for allowing monopolies within geographical areas. They didn't ever fulfill their commitment. The government just let them get away with it.

Wireless services are raping the public and it makes me wonder just how long the citizens will put up with it. There just isn't enough competition.
post #39 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

Why aren't there any law suits against these telecommunication companies? When people sign a contract for unlimited data and can't get unlimited data then that is a breech of contract. Why aren't people going to their states attorney generals offices and filing complaints?

Throttling people to a slower speed is not allowing unlimited data. It is choking their ability to get unlimited data, because at the slower speed they won't be able to get the same amount of data they otherwise could receive.

That is nonsense. The person is still allowed as much data as they can use, albeit at a slower speed.

If you want to use your interpretation, then I could sue because they won't allow me to download 50 petabytes of information in one month.

Or, I could sue an 'all you can eat' buffet for not allowing me to come there every night for the rest of my life after paying for one meal.
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post #40 of 97
I think it is common knowlwedge that if your service provider changes something material on your contract, you can break it without having to pay the ETF. Is there any way this could qualify?

Sure it is still unlimited data - but the spirit of the offer is different.

Any lawyers here?
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