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Verizon Now Throttling Top 'Unlimited' Subscribers On 4G LTE 274

Posted by timothy
from the we-meant-un-un-un-unlimited dept.
PC Magazine (along with Forbes, Reuters, and others) reports that those on the rightmost edge of the graph for Verizon's "unlimited" 4G LTE service are about to hit a limit: [T]hose in the top five percent of Verizon's unlimited data users (which requires one to pull down an average of just around 4.7 gigabytes of monthly data or so) who are enrolled on an unlimited data plan and have fulfilled their minimum contract terms (are now on a month-to-month plan) will be subject to network throttling if they're trying to connect up to a cellular tower that's experiencing high demand." As the article goes on to point out, though, [A] user would have to hit all of these criteria in order to have his or her connection slowed down. There are a lot of hoops to jump through, giving even more weight to the fact that Verizon's throttling — while annoying on paper — won't affect a considerable majority of those still holding on to their unlimited data plans.
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Verizon Now Throttling Top 'Unlimited' Subscribers On 4G LTE

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  • 1 or 1 million (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2014 @05:42PM (#47540149)

    It doesn't matter. If customers are paying for it, throttling them should be seen as illegal. I've been a Verizon Wireless customer for over a decade and these recent decisions to screw their own customers have led me to the decision I don't want Verizon anything. Not their phones, Internet, anything. Switching to T-Mobil this week.

  • Re:1 or 1 million (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mattwarden (699984) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @05:52PM (#47540179) Homepage

    Unlimited bandwidth is not possible. You can make it illegal all you want. It doesn't trump physics.

  • by TheMeuge (645043) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @05:55PM (#47540193)

    This has nothing to do with their network infrastructure, and everything to do with the fact that they would like you to pay out of pocket to stream media on their network. With a 10gb monthly limit on my 4 user plan, if I go away on a trip and watch 3-4 netflix movies in HD, I've used up my entire monthly allowance, and then streaming becomes pay-per-view at $10+ per movie.

    They are annoyed that they have customers who still have an "unlimited" plan, and they are effectively converting those users to having a usable 5gb plan.

  • Re:1 or 1 million (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi (1415755) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @05:58PM (#47540199)

    Unlimited bandwidth is not possible. You can make it illegal all you want. It doesn't trump physics.

    Solution: Don't lie and call it unlimited. The point is that customers are paying for something Verizon calls "unlimited" which is not actually unlimited. The customers contracts are up so they can put those customers on other plans, the problem is when they still call the altered plan "unlimited."

  • Re:1 or 1 million (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Saturday July 26, 2014 @06:02PM (#47540211) Journal

    Neither is downloading an unlimited amount in a finite period at any finite speed, no matter how fast. The point of an unlimited bandwidth plan is so that one does not experience any unexpected fees for excessive usage, regardless of how much they actually end up using the service. If Verizon doesn't have the infratstructure to support its subscribers having such plans, then they shouldn't be offering them.

    The fact that they literally can't download an infinite quantity of content in a month is irrelevant.

    If you're just adverse to the notion of "unlimited bandwidth" you can think of unlimited bandwidth plan, as actually a cap at whatever the theoretical maximum could be if they were downloading 24/7 at full speed for the entire billing cycle, the maximums of which are dictated by the physical hardware and technology... which is only limited by what we can do today, but if the technology improves, the cap goes up with it, with no defined upper bound. And that's the "unlimited" that is being referred to.

  • by gTsiros (205624) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @06:04PM (#47540223)

    that takes 5 GB per month?

    do you HAVE to stream entire movies and music to it?

    why not copy stuff to its storage and maybe save some wireless bandwidth?

  • Re:1 or 1 million (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @06:05PM (#47540231)

    It sounds like theyre saying this is only on cell towers under high demand: That means it is literally impossible to fulfill requests from all connected subscribers at full time. In that case, QoS is the correct thing to do.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Saturday July 26, 2014 @06:10PM (#47540251) Journal
    If the idea of "unlimited" bothers you, then think of an unlimited plan as being capped at whatever the technology currently being used would allow you to download 24/7 at whatever speed the network can support, for the entire billing cycle. As technology improves, that limit goes up... without any predefined limit.

    Which is, of course, what "unlimited" means. So in reality, the term is quite accurate. The fact that a person can't physically download an infinite amount of content in a finite period because network speeds are finite is entirely irrelevant.

  • by ljw1004 (764174) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @06:50PM (#47540381)

    At first I read about Verizon throttling their "unlimited data plan" customers and I got concerned.

    But then I read that the throttling will NOT affect the majority of customers who are paying over the odds for an unlimited data plan that they don't actually need. That's good. So long as they're not affected, things are okay. Please go ahead with your plans, Verizon!

  • Re:1 or 1 million (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haruchai (17472) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @07:14PM (#47540473)

    And yet they're still throttling Netflix?

  • Re:1 or 1 million (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2014 @08:41PM (#47540733)

    Unlimited bandwidth is not possible. You can make it illegal all you want. It doesn't trump physics.

    Solution: Don't lie and call it unlimited. The point is that customers are paying for something Verizon calls "unlimited" which is not actually unlimited. The customers contracts are up so they can put those customers on other plans, the problem is when they still call the altered plan "unlimited."

    you really have two choices: 1. punish the heaviest users; 2. punish everyone.

    pick one.

    Nonsense. Just state what the real plans are with the appropriate prices and let the customer choose what they want. The free market in action. Just stop the fraud.

  • Re:1 or 1 million (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DRJlaw (946416) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @09:09PM (#47540861)

    Unlimited bandwidth is not possible. You can make it illegal all you want. It doesn't trump physics.

    Nobody sane claimed that Verizon was offering unlimited bandwidth. Bandwidth was quite obviously limited to 3G speeds, and then subsequently LTE speeds.

    Verizon offered unlimited "data," as in no artificial limit on the amount of data that you could download using that bandwidth. Verizon subsequently imposed artificial limits on the amount of data that users could download per month on other plans. Verizon is now limiting bandwidth based upon the amount of data one has downloaded combined with a somewhat arbitrary measure of congestion -- they don't bother to specify what utilization threshold a cell base station has to cross to be considered "congested" so as to trigger the limitation.

    Physics has nothing to do with that limitation. Physics does not dictate that a shared resource be preferentially allocated to those not on an "unlimited" plan because the provider quite badly wants to push users onto pay-per-quantity plans without taking the PR hit necessary to actually terminate the now month-to-month unlimited contracts.

  • Re:1 or 1 million (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @11:10AM (#47543129) Homepage

    "you really have two choices: 1. punish the heaviest users; 2. punish everyone."

    So now people who purchase and pay for a service, then actually use it, are wrong-doers who should be punished? You have, of course, presented a false dichotimy. They have been serving me the data at the current rate without "punishing" anyone. That is the service I paid for, and it is what they have profited from. Their only valid choices are: 1) Don't sell the service 2) Sell the sevice, and then provide the service for which they have been paid.

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