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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 96
    kreshkresh Posts: 379member
    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.



  • Reply 2 of 96
    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..
  • Reply 3 of 96
    Ah, at first I thought that it referred to FiOS! Good grief!
  • Reply 4 of 96
  • Reply 5 of 96
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 96
    morkymorky Posts: 172member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 96
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 96
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    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?
  • Reply 9 of 96
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 96
    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).
  • Reply 11 of 96
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    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!
  • Reply 12 of 96
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,782member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 96
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 96
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 96
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 96
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 96
    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%...
  • Reply 18 of 96
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 96
    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%.
  • Reply 20 of 96
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    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.
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