Verizon Plans to Throttle ‘Unlimited’ 4G Networks Customers This Fall

Verizon’s 4G networks soon will start feeling a little less unlimited for customers who don't pay for data by the gigabyte. According to GIGA OM, Verizon will start prioritizing traffic so that customers who pay for mobile data by the gigabyte get access over customers who use  Verizon’s unlimited plans. The new policies will only apply when the network gets crowded, according to Verizon. Verizon will start doing this in October, according to the report.

What that means is that when the network gets crowded, Verizon will prioritize 4G customers who buy their data by the gigabyte over unlimited plan customers who fall into the top fifth percentile of monthly data usage.

According to the report, the top five percent consists of customers who use 4.7GB or more of data each month, though that number fluctuates month-to-month as traffic patterns change.

Verizon launched the same policy, called Network Optimization, in 2011 for its 3G unlimited plan subscribers, but at the time it claimed to place no restrictions on its LTE network.

Verizon is in the final stages of an LTE upgrade, which (it claims) will double or triple 4G network capacity in 350 markets around the country. Verizon’s new networks are capable of handling subscribers’ growing demands for mobile bandwidth, but the company decided to implement the new 4G policy this year in to prepare for future demand, a Verizon spokesman told GIGA OM.

Verizon also said that "relatively few" customers would be affected by the policy, and even those who are will see their speeds restricted under relatively few circumstances. Verizon isn’t, for example, implementing a hard or soft cap and then throttling back down to 3G or 2G levels for the remainder of a billing period any time a customer hits it.

Verizon plans to start notifying unlimited plan customers who could be affected by the policy in the first week of August.

Source: GIGA OM

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