Verizon Wireless to begin throttling its highest data users

Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless

A memo on Verizon’s website confirms the wireless carrier will begin throttling its highest data users as a way to manage network traffic. The memo points to new ” optimization and transcoding technologies” that will help the wireless carrier better manage its network. While most of the network optimization involves data compression, the wireless carrier confirms it will throttle the network speeds of its highest data users. This network management technique is common among wired ISPs and it is not surprising to see a similar strategy being adopted by Verizon Wireless. This throttling policy will apply to customs who subscribe to a new data plan or feature on or after February 3rd, 2011.

Not coincidentally, this is the same date pre-orders for the iPhone 4 began on Verizon Wireless. Any Verizon customer who purchases an iPhone 4 will be subject to these new terms. Similar to wired ISPs, those customers who consume the most data will have their data connection throttled periodically for the current and next billing cycle. According to Verizon, this new policy will “ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand.” Verizon expects this policy to affect a mere 5% of its users. 95% of its customers will be unaffected by this new policy.

The timing of this policy change suggests Verizon is preparing for the iPhone 4 using a variety of network management techniques. We often think of the hardware side of the equation when considering a carrier’s wireless network capacity. The installation of new towers and improved back haul are the two techniques mentioned when it comes to a discussion of network improvement. Hardware improvement is only one side of the story and many ISPs use a combination of hardware and software solutions to manage their broadband network. While consumers may shudder at thought of throttling, it is an accepted network management technique.

For those who are interested, the full text of the memo is available on the next page.

[Via BGR and Verizon Wireless]

  • This is stupid. People who drive hummers aren’t forced to use shittier gas simply because their car uses more of it.
    If you’re paying for the data, you should get the same speeds as anyone else.

    • Shifty


      • Dude

        I agree with Shifty’s succinct comment. To make the original analogy actually relevant…its not about the quality of the gas, its about the size of the road. If 95% of the cars on the road fit within the lanes, it makes no sense to make the road wider over its entire length for the 5% of overcompensating douche-bags who don’t understand the mechanics of need vs desire. Every driver would all pay for the needs of a 5% minority if Jordan’s desire’s were met.

        Get a fat pipe if you want gobs of bandwidth, and pay a premium. Its reasonable, not stupid.

  • Anyone else get the AWFUL change when you updated your Android w Verizon and it changed the dial pad to BLACK, AND IN THE SUN YOU CAN’T SEE IT ! and you can’t change it.. already called “they are working on it . . .

  • Guest

    The guys at CERN (yes, that Large Hadron Collider place) have basically had to invent a newer internet capable of handling all the data the LHC will put of into their many, many networked PCs that’s in place to gather all this data. I think it was mentioned that a HD movie sent and downloaded in under 30 seconds.

    Let’s use that, wifi the whole damn place with mesh networks, and toss the cellular data providers on top of the 8-track heap. It’s obvious they aren’t up to the task in a nation where we all want netflix, kids using tablets in schools and vocal Facebook updates beamed to your car.

  • Fed up

    Verizon, cable internet companies and all the rest are doing nothing different here than just taking a page from the big 3 business model book. The rest of the world can get cars that do 60 mpg, but hit the shores of a country where a vehicle, not train, is the dominant mode of transport and all the sudden they’re struggling to get 23mpg.
    Are we that ass backwards here now that we can’t manage better data speeds than we do yet Switzerland can top it by a factor of 5? Does technological know-how suddenly fall into some mysterious blackhole once you arrive in the U.S.? I think not and seeing that Verizon and others profit margins are just about as high as the oil companies tells the tale.

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