On Friday, Verizon Wireless stated (opens in new tab) that beginning October 1, it plans to throttle the speed of a specific group of 4G LTE customers with unlimited data plans. The move is part of the company's Network Optimization policy (opens in new tab) that launched three years ago, which limits the bandwidth of the company's top 5 percent 3G customers.
"We understand that our customers rely on their smartphones and tablets every day. Our network optimization policy provides the best path to ensure a continued great wireless experience for all of our customers on the best and largest wireless network in the U.S.," said Mike Haberman, vice president – technology, for Verizon Wireless.
According to the company, it uses "network intelligence" to slow the speeds of its top 5 percent data gulpers still on the legacy unlimited data plans. These customers will experience a data slowdown if they're connected to a cell cite that's experiencing peak usage. Once that heavy traffic has subsided, or the user moves to a different cell site, then Verizon will sling the floodgates back open.
As for the new group of 4G LTE customers, users who will see the throttling on Verizon's network will (1) be in the top 5 percent of data gulpers (aka more than 4.7 GB in a single billing period), (2) have fulfilled their minimum contractual commitment, (3) are on unlimited plans using a 4G LTE device, and (4) are connected to a congested cell tower.
"They may experience slower data speeds when using certain high bandwidth applications, such as streaming high-definition video or during real-time, online gaming, and only when connecting to a cell site when it is experiencing heavy demand," stated the press release.
Verizon stopped selling unlimited data plans back in 2012, and switched to a Share Everything Plan that pushes customers into paying for pools of data that can be shared with other members of the same plan. Those on the Share Everything plans will not be affected by the Network Optimization throttling.