Light Reading
Verizon's heaviest LTE data users who are still holding on to unlimited data plans will soon see their speeds throttled if they hop on a congested cell site.

Verizon Applies 3G Throttling Policy to LTE

Sarah Reedy
7/25/2014
50%
50%

Back in 2011, Verizon began throttling its heaviest 3G data users in a bid to move them to its higher capacity LTE network, but now -- three years later -- it's applying that same policy to 4G unlimited users. (See Verizon Embraces 4G Traffic, Throttles 3G.)

Verizon Wireless has so far been the most effective US wireless operator at migrating its customers away from unlimited data plans. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) reported this week that, of the four largest US operators, Verizon has the fewest still on unlimited -- 22% compared with 44% on AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and 78% on Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. , which both still market unlimited data. (See Verizon Continues 4G LTE Capacity Spend in Q2 .)

Now Verizon wants to drive those numbers even lower by applying its "Network Optimization" policy to LTE as well. Droid Life first discovered that it will begin slowing down network connections for those heavy unlimited data customers that "have fulfilled their minimum contract term" on LTE and are on a heavily-trafficked cell site. The policy kicks in on October 1, and Verizon says that throttling could last as long as the current billing cycle or even into the next.

Wondering if you could be one of the affected customers? Verizon says it should only affect its top 5% of data users, but it will apply to those who meet the following criteria:

  • have an unlimited data plan;
  • are in the top 5% of data users, meaning they use 4.7 Gbytes of data per month or more;
  • have fulfilled their minimum contract term, and;
  • are on a congested cell site.

These customers can, of course, use WiFi more often and better monitor and manage their network usage with Verizon's data tools, but the carrier is hoping they'll choose the option to move to one of its More Everything shared plans and away from unlimited. (See Verizon Manages Its Own Data Destiny.)

While its 3G throttling policy was aimed at migrating customers to LTE -- it said at the time that it welcomed the traffic on its 4G network -- applying it to LTE is all about economics: Shifting the remaining 22% of its customers away from unlimited deals will bring in more revenues for the operator, even if the policy only affects a small subset of customers.

CIRP says that because of Verizon's success in squashing unlimited plans, 51% of its customers pay at least $100 per month, compared with only 47% at Sprint, 46% at AT&T, and 33% at T-Mobile. Usage-based data plans and shared buckets are clearly the most attractive option for Verizon, and it's hoping to increase their adoption by making unlimited data increasingly less attractive to its customers.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(12)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Michelle
50%
50%
Michelle,
User Rank: Moderator
7/28/2014 | 11:21:48 PM
Re: 3G v LTE
"So how can companies make intelligent decisions to bring in the profits without seeming unfair to their customers?"

This is a great question. Internet service providers happily throttle traffic at regular intervals.
briandnewby
50%
50%
briandnewby,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/28/2014 | 7:01:19 PM
Re: 3G v LTE
Mark, you're right.  As a business geek, I admire companies that know their profitability limits.  As a customer before anything else, I hold these companies in great disdain. 

Signed, Conflicted in KC

Anyway--good points to all my, um, points.
MarkC73
50%
50%
MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/27/2014 | 3:24:06 PM
Re: 3G v LTE
For the we don't want you part, the insurance industry works this way, I mean for car insurance, even if you aren't at fault but an accident magnet, you cause too much cost, your insurance goes up or you can't get insurance.

In theory, I agree with you, they shouldn't change unlimited, but basically they are abiding by their contracts and the industry itself is moving to per bit buckets, hopefully that means better control of costs and the competitive market will make it go towards lower costs.  Whether it goes mostly to the bottom line or lower fees, well we can all debate that later.

I definitely agree on your point of congestion control, though this should only be a damage control measure until the bottleneck relieved, some connectivity for all is far better than everyone just loosing random packets and having to retransmit.
briandnewby
50%
50%
briandnewby,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/27/2014 | 2:46:29 PM
Re: 3G v LTE
I'm a throttling opponent, I guess (I didn't really have a throttling position until just now), but aside from the lack of customer focus here, isn't throttling something all carriers do (wireless and land-line, and even utilities) at some point or other to manage volume load?

I guess the part that struck me as fair with this post was that throttling might be done in a congested cell site.  That seems reasonable.  Now, I think everyone should equally be throttled down because, other than in an emergency, the true issue is less than stellar network planning.  I guess throttling just a few limits the unhappy customers and Verizon is really telling those higher volume users, "We don't care if you leave and, actually, we'd rather you do."

The wireless industries is one that has embraced the idea of "bad customers."  As a customer of many things, I don't like that concept at all.  But in a competitive industry, and if you are the scale of Verizon, it probably is shareholder-friendly.

Heck, even the term throttling smacks of a non-customer-focused view.  I know it's been around for a few years, but the electricity industry has managed peak levels for decades and surely used some other softer phrase.
MarkC73
50%
50%
MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/27/2014 | 1:58:30 AM
Re: 3G v LTE
The question will be how much will they be throttled and for how long?  Didn't seem like it was very specific.  My own speculation is that Vz cares more about PR than these high bandwidth users.  Any readers on an unlimited Vz plan?
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/26/2014 | 12:36:00 PM
Re: 3G v LTE
Exactly Dan,  I can't remember the pricing that many years back when data was unlimited but it was for the most part more expensive than today.  I think that is the reason why many users, myself included, who really weren't using that much data switched off the plans when they could finally save money.  Verizon will figure it out in a way that benefits the majority of their customers.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/26/2014 | 11:53:30 AM
Re: 3G v LTE
Verizon operates a very effective network with excellent coverage and speeds. Some of that has to obviously do with how the company has been able to mete out unlimited data. I did not know that the company had so few unlimited subscribers, which likely is limited to businesses and power users that are paying a ton of money for those services.
kq4ym
100%
0%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/26/2014 | 9:03:07 AM
Re: 3G v LTE
But as the customer useage changes and the highly used cell sites get overloaded, what's to protect the consumer from unreasonable changes to pricing schedules. 

If the changes affect the  "top 5% of data users, meaning they use 4.7 Gbytes of data per month or more" today, what's the rule going to be next month? 

So how can companies make intelligent decisions to bring in the profits without seeming unfair to their customers?
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/25/2014 | 2:53:09 PM
Re: 3G v LTE
My first thought was, darn I should have stayed on my unlimited plan!!!  But the reality is that I still save a bunch per month and when I have heavy usage I can pay for it.  For the consistently heavy users, staying unlimited can make a lot of sense.  As you point out, it is on congested towers so unless all the heavy users are there, it will affect a very small percentage of users.
SReedy
50%
50%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
7/25/2014 | 2:15:29 PM
Re: 3G v LTE
That's true, AT&T throttles after 3GB on its 3G HSPA network or after 5 GB on its LTE network, so Verizon is more generous. And the fact that it (supposedly) only applies to congested cell sites should mean it affects even less people. 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 2

10|21|14   |   8:51:00 AM   |   (0) comments


ARRIS CTO Network Solutions Tom Cloonan discusses why many if not most MSOs will continue with integrated CCAP, while addressing why some are also looking at two futuristic, distributed access architectures: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 1

10|21|14   |   9:01   |   (0) comments


SCTE Sr. Director of Engineering Dean Stoneback discusses the pros and cons of distributed access architecture (DAA) and its various forms, which range from basic Remote PHY to full CMTS functionality in the node.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 2

10|21|14   |   3:58   |   (0) comments


ARRIS Senior Solution Architect Eli Baruch talks about how MSOs can enable public and community WiFi through 1) outdoor access points, 2) businesses seeking to offer WiFi to customers, and 3) residential WiFi gateway extensions.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 1

10|21|14   |   10:15   |   (0) comments


SCTE Director of Advanced Technologies Steve Harris discusses WiFi deployments, drivers, challenges and advances, including 802.11ac, carrier-grade WiFi, community WiFi, Hotspot 2.0, Passpoint, WiFi-First and voice-over-WiFi.
LRTV Custom TV
Advantech Accelerates 100G Traffic Handling

10|17|14   |   7:56   |   (0) comments


Paul Stevens from Advantech explains why handling 100GbE needs a whole new platform design approach and how Advantech is addressing the needs of equipment providers and carriers to give them the flexibility and performance they will need for SDN and NFV deployment.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Holland's Imtech Traffic & Infra Discusses Huawei's ICT Solution and Services

10|16|14   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Dimitry Theebe is from the business unit at Imtech Traffic & Infra which delivers communications solutions for transportations. His partnershp with Huawei began about a years ago. In this video, Theebe speaks more about this partnership and what he hopes to accomplish with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Comprehensive Storage Solutions Vital for SVR

10|16|14   |   6:16   |   (0) comments


SVR Information Technology provides cloud services for academic and special sectors. With Huawei's support, SVR and Yildiz Technical University has established Turkey's largest and most advanced High Performance Computing system. CSO Ismail Cem Aslan talks about what he hopes Huawei's OceanStor storage system will bring for him.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mexico's Servitron's Impression of Huawei at CCW 2014

10|16|14   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Servitron is a network operator in Mexico that has been in the trunking industry for the past 20 years. Its COO, Ing. Ragnar Trillo O., explains at Critical Communications World 2014 that his company has been interested in the long-term evolution of LTE technology and its adoption for TETRA.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Dubai

10|16|14   |   2:06   |   (0) comments


Abdulla Ahmed Al Falasi is the director of commercial affairs, a telecommunications coordinator for the government of Dubai. Their areas of service span across multiple industries, including police, safety, shopping malls and more. In this video, Abdulla talks about his department's work with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Lights Up Malaysia Partner Maju Nusa

10|16|14   |   1:59   |   (0) comments


Malaysia's Maju Nusa is an enterprise partner to Huawei in networking, route switches and telco equipment. At this year's Critical Communications World in Singapore, CTO Pushpender Singh talks about what Huawei's eLTE solutions mean to his company and for Malaysia.
LRTV Custom TV
Evolving From HFC to FTTH Networks

10|15|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Todd McCrum delves into the future of cable's HFC plant, examining how DOCSIS 3.1 and advanced video compression will extend its life and how the IP video transition will usher in GPON and EPON over FTTH.
LRTV Custom TV
Exploring the Future of Cable Access

10|15|14   |   6:23   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Brett Wingo looks at where cable access architectures are heading, discussing the impact of DOCSIS 3.1, CCAP, Remote PHY, SDN, virtualization of cable networks and related technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Forget the Internet, Brace for Skynet
Stephen Saunders, 10/15/2014
HBO Will Go OTT in 2015
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/15/2014
Google: Carriers & Cloud Providers Need to Cooperate
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/16/2014
Could Data Be the New 'Currency'?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/16/2014
CBS Takes OTT Plunge
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed