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Top 5% of Verizon's unlimited data users over 3G now subject to Network Optimization

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Top 5% of Verizon's unlimited data users over 3G now subject to Network Optimization
Starting last Thursday, Verizon has put into operation a plan that throttles data speeds for those 3G unlimited plan users that are in the top 5% of data users per month. The carrier put up a "Data Disclosure" page that says that currently, the top 5% use 2GB or more data per month. The throttling will occur only when an affected user is connected to a congested cell site. Verizon is telling high-use customers that they can avoid throttling by switching to a 4G phone, switching to a tiered data plan, or by using Wi-Fi more often. The carrier is actually calling this "Network Optimization" and says it is not throttling because the slower data speeds will occur only on congested web sites. Verizon says real throttling occurs 100% of the time.

Verizon says it offers many ways to monitor your account during the month. From a PC you can go to "My Verizon" or "My Verizon Mobile" from a handset to obtain real time usage data. The carrier also offers a Data Use Calculator where you can plug in how many minutes of video or music you stream over Verizon's 3G pipes every month and get an estimate of much data you are consuming. Available on Big Red's Android phones and some BlackBerry models is a widget that will show your data usage with a quick glance at the screen. You can also click on the widget to reach "My Verizon".

95% of Verizon's 3G customers with unlimited data plans will not be affected. You probably will be under the 2GB monthly threshold even if you send 7,500 emails a month, visit 750 web sites, stream 150 minutes of music, watch 1 hour of high-resolution video, 5 hours of low-resolution video and upload 60 pictures. You should also be outside of the top 5% of data users if during the month you sent 7,500 emails, visit 150 web pages, view 1 hour of hi-resolution video, 5 hours of low-resolution video and upload 300 pictures.

Separate from Network Optimization, in certain markets, Verizon has already started its previously announced Video Optimization which means that data is sent efficiently in order to benefit the greatest number of users and could affect the way certain data files appear on your phone.

Typical data use on a smartphone

Typical data use on a smartphone

As far as throttling Network Optimization is concerned, even business customers are affected. Talk and text are not reduced to lower speeds, but browsing,email, music and video streaming  are. Streaming is the most affected since it uses the most data. Verizon says that the slower speeds cannot be pre-determined and depend on the number of users are on a cell site at a time and what data applications are being used. And while no alerts can be set to go off when you come close to the 2GB threshold, Verizon is working on some type of early warning system. Unfortunately, there will be no adjustments to your bill if you are affected by Network Optimization. After your monthly billing cycle ends, you will not be throttled unless you go back over the 2GB limit again.

As the carrier has repeatedly made clear, you can reduce your chances of being in the top 5% and going over the 2GB monthly bar by using Wi-Fi whenever possible, switching to a 4G device, switching to a tiered data plan, or perhaps the most unsatisfactory option-cutting back on multimedia use and browsing on your phone. You can check out the entire web page by clicking on the sourcelink.

source: Verizon via 9to5Mac

56 Comments
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posted on 18 Sep 2011, 07:33 1

1. Michael111111111 (unregistered)


wow this sucks, in Singapore we get 10gb / month for only 12 USD and that's with tendering allowed without any limitation as long as we don't cross the 10gb mark.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 11:07 1

18. iKingTrust (banned) (Posts: 716; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


wow thats amazing

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 11:57

21. Michael111111111 (unregistered)


Yeah, competition makes things go cheaper for the consumers.
That is the price for all 3 major carrier here, Singtel, M1, and Starhub.

It starts at 10USD per gb per month at first and drop rapidly after 3 months to what it is now.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 13:29 3

25. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


well u also have to think about how small of an area those carriers have to cover. they are able to make a greater service for a much cheaper price...

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 07:46

2. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


I always feel uncomfortable comparing smaller networks to the ones in the US. A lot of foreign carriers are limited to the area of just a few states in the US and about the same user base for those states. But I do think they overcharge for data.

I knew this would happen though. AT&T completely threw off the gloves on data and Verizon isn't the bad guy because they didn't start it..."just going with the market trend." We will keep seeing this until people start communicating a different way. This is why voice plans are going down and text/data plans are going up.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 09:36 2

5. dandirk (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Aug 2011)


Just because someone else jumps off a bridge doesn't mean you have to.

I agree, the coverage that US customers demand in such a large country could be a reason for costs/limits... but maybe not...

I know nothing about the costs of running a 3g/4g network but it could be possible that they are making a TON of money off their current pricing.

While crappy it's what the "market" can bear, until people drop service due to cost/features why would they drop prices/increase limits etc???

AT&T/VZW are the big players on the block, they almost always mimic each others moves, eventually. One view could be that they both have similar problems/costs... another is they are essentially price fixing.

THAT is the reason why the t-mo buyout is bad for consumers.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 14:58

35. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


"THAT is the reason why the t-mo buyout is bad for consumers."

+n. Couldn't have said it better. If AT&T-Mobile goes through, be prepared to be f*cked on pricing and service levels.

posted on 19 Sep 2011, 02:38

51. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


I'm not saying it's right at all. But I think if you're going to be against something, you at least need to figure out the throughout process behind what's going on. I think the only front I will defend cellular carriers is on size and scope of their network. We can't look at all parts of the world and see that this carrier offers unlimited data for $10 and expect that it will work on larger carriers.

But again, Verizon will follow AT&T. People have short memories almost Nineteen Eighty Four style. AT&T does it and in a few months, it's how things are always done so why be mad at Verizon for adjusting to market trend? I saw the same thing from the time AT&T dropped unlimited for air cards and Sprint was the last to follow. Even though it happened in a small window, people weren't outraged at Sprint.

posted on 19 Sep 2011, 13:19

57. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)


3g is more expensive than LTE for Verizon.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 09:17 1

3. thatjackal (unregistered)


Wait, they aren't throttling my 4G yet? I was under the impression.... shweet.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 09:31 1

4. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


I knew that the threshold was going to be 2gb. But at least they've instructed people on how to avoid it, like WiFi.

I don't blame wireless carriers for doing what they did. It's the customer's fault for not using WiFi and causing network congestion. If people just used WiFi, AT&T wouldn't of been so bogged down and causing all these problems.

This is probably going to be a temporary. As we start to transition to more mobile technology and networking, they're going to have to bring back unlimited data because there just won't be any other way, the manufacturer's devices are going to require unlimited data.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 10:23 1

8. BrockSamson (unregistered)


I love how they suggest that you use wifi instead of cell data to avoid congestion yet won't let you use the phone without a cell data plan.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 14:33

34. Penny (Posts: 1665; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)


The point about it being the user's fault for not using WiFi instead would be valid if AT&T didn't implement a cap there as well. If they tell me to go use WiFi to get unlimited data, I would tell them that they recently capped my DSL data as well. The worst part is how they always say it will only affect the top 2%, then next time they lower it and say the top 5%, and then after that they'll eventually say the top 10%...

I agree that unlimited will eventually be back, but the carriers will hold off on it as long as possible. The technology to easily provide true unlimited data will come around, then it will take the consumers a while to realize it can be easily implemented and demand it of the carriers, and then finally the carriers will be forced to offer it.

BTW, this comment applies to both AT&T and Verizon, and all the other Telecom oligopolies out there.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 09:48 2

6. darth8ball (Posts: 520; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)


Saying that 5% of the 3g users use over 2GB a month, is a stretch IMO the top 5% of users are over 10GB a month probably is the right amount for the top 5%. That is why that is the number allowed for the new pricing as the highest plan

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 11:15

20. KParks23 (Posts: 678; Member since: 13 Oct 2010)


I agree 2 gb is not much data I'm at 6 gigs and still got 15 days left.. Pandora and netflix and YouTube is the culprit I'm not sure where VZW is getting there numbers from but I'm not buying it top 5% should be around 7 or 8 gigs.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 09:53 1

7. dandirk (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Aug 2011)


Unlimited is Unlimited use a dictionary and educate yourself... This is NOT the customer's "fault" it is a problem Verizon made for itself.

That said... IF this works like Verizon is saying, only throttling on congested towers etc, I really do have to commend them on it. This is one of the few policies that seem to take logical approach to manage traffic.

Personally though I think this is just a ploy to get people to tiered service. 2+GB is the 5% of high users? Why do they then have a 3GB plan (which is effectively the lowest a smartphone user can get)? Seems like it would make more sense the "unlimited" cut-off would be 3GB???? Would it not???

These limits and tiered structure is also telling... If 2+GB is truly the top 5% of usage... Why isn't there 1GB and 2GB etc plans????

I agree though unlimited probably will come back... I would assume this will happen with LTE-Advanced. Wireless carriers if they were smart, would try and take over the ISP market. With high enough speeds, people would be more then willing to pay to have all their internet connectivity under one bill.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 10:31

10. remixfa (Posts: 14600; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


unlimited data isnt coming back. they've been trying to get away from it for years. People will pay to have it all under 1 bill, but people will pay more for it to work anywhere, which is why VZW gets to charge so much to begin with... because it works everywhere.

posted on 19 Sep 2011, 14:28

58. darth8ball (Posts: 520; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)


Don't think your a VZW customer, 2GB is the lowest , then 5GB then 10GB, there is no 3GB.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 10:30 3

9. remixfa (Posts: 14600; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


wow, so you are going to pay VZW prices for "unlimited" and then be throttled at 2gb for the trouble? on their pokey "3g" service??!?!?!? no offence, but at this point in the game, 1mbs 3g is throttled.. lol. wow

i normally defend VZW pretty readily, but im having a hard time with this one. I could see a 5gig throttle back, but 2?!? Not at that pricing. VZW has network to spare as they spend more than anyone making sure of it so its not about network integrity.

Tmobile throttles back, but 2 gig with unlimited talk and text starts at 60 a month, not 140... and thats for full speed 42mb/s 4g, not 1mb/s 3g.

posted on 19 Sep 2011, 08:03 1

52. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Yes to me something is wrong with this Verizon pricing structure. I agree throttling should begin at 5 GB, that is fair. 2 GB especially with the YouTube, Netflix, Hulu’s of the world & all the new upstarts is just not enough. Why even offer those services on a Smartphone if they are going to get throttled after 2 small GB's. That is not even mentioning air-cards. I think this is going to get unbearable, & change will happen yet again. The way mobile tech is advancing 2 GB to the average user will just not be enough.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 10:44

11. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


I see this as Verizon breaching the contract terms they have with their unlimited data users, they effectively are killing unlimited data because the throttling, if it works like tmobile, will be so horrendous you might as well not even use your phone until your allotment comes back.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 10:44

12. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


if the affected Verizon customers are smart, they would file a class action lawsuit against them and start looking for another carrier. Unfortunately, given that they choose Verizon despite the highest prices in the industry, I dont see this happening.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 20:35

46. KFear (unregistered)


read the contracts. it is not a breach

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 10:50 2

13. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Android phones are data hogs. They consume data and ruin it for everyone.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 11:02 5

16. nwright94 (unregistered)


When i owned my iPhone on a 200mb plan, i was always getting data overages even when i never used it. I had E-mail fetching turned to manual and i didn't use the internet. I would somehow go to 600mb by the end of the month. We called AT&T and they said iPhones have "ghost data" problems and they can't control it. I got an android phone an had no problem keeping under 200mb and my wp7 is even better with data. So i think you meant to say "iPhones are data hogs". Afterall, verizon and AT&T both got rid of unlimited AFTER they got the iPhone, not android.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 13:48

29. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


uh huh, sure. And I'm the king of switzerland.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 14:10 4

30. remixfa (Posts: 14600; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


actually, miz that was a hugely reported problem for a while. Maybe u should look in PAs old articles and read up on it.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 22:10

47. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I remember those reports, but I don't believe he was being billed for 600mb without using Internet. Sounds like user error.

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 22:14 2

48. nwright94 (unregistered)


If you look online alot of peoples ghost data pushed them to near 600mb. I'm dead serious, i didn't use the internet when i was on the 200mb plan. I had data turned off. Believe me or don't believe me, but that iPhone was terrible on data.

posted on 19 Sep 2011, 11:57

54. remixfa (Posts: 14600; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


there was some pretty high usage numbers. it wasnt actually a problem with the phone as much as it was with ATT autobilling every iphone so much data, and a rogue app that was sending data nonstop. 2 seperate issues that both resulted in ghost data.

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