Verizon starts throttling iPhone users

Verizon posted a “Data Disclosure” page today revealing the company’s “throttling” plans for high bandwidth customers which is currently defined as:

As of August 2011, the top 5% of data users were using 2 GB or more of data each month.

We found it particularly interesting because it is likely to affect Verizon iPhone customers who purchased their 3G iPhone 4 unlimited plan at launch.  The policy went into place on September 15th.

Will I be affected by Network Optimization?
Only a small percent of customers will be affected.  To be affected, you must be:

  • A data customer on an unlimited data plan;
  • Have a 3G Verizon Wireless device (if you have a 4G LTE device you will not be impacted); and
  • Among the top 5% of data users in a given month.

Then, you will only be affected:

  • When you are on the 3G network; and
  • When you are connected to a congested cell site.

If Verizon has 50 million data subscribers (guess:>50% of 95 million subs), that is 2.5 million subscribers.

Interestingly, Verizon is telling customers who are affected to upgrade to a 4G phone.  Apple obviously doesn’t (yet?) offer a 4G iPhone so they will be steering iPhone users to other devices.

Reps are being told to offer these as solutions to customers who want to avoid throttling:

  • Upgrade to a 4G LTE smartphone
  • Migrate to a usage-based (tiered) data plan
  • Use WiFi more often

Verizon says this isn’t officially throttling because it is only put in place on congested cell sites.  However, those who want truly unlimited plans in the US might want to consider a Sprint iPhone which is highly likely to come in a month or so.

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