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4G/3G/WiFi

Verizon Embraces 4G Traffic, Throttles 3G

Verizon Wireless 's "network optimization plan" quietly went into effect last week, meaning the carrier began throttling its heaviest 3G data users. It has been plotting this move since February, but enacted it now to encourage these heavy users to upgrade to its fast-growing Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. (See Verizon Sells Out iPhone Pre-Orders, Throttles 3G.)

Throttling will only affect those 3G customers on unlimited data plans that fall in the top 5 percent of data usage and are on a congested cell site, stipulations that Verizon thinks makes it more desirable than its competitors. Users that fall into this category will experience reduced speeds for their current billing cycle and the one following.

Verizon is using this strategy to reduce traffic on its network, but also as a way to encourage its customers to upgrade to LTE smartphones on a more lucrative tiered data plan. Verizon engineer Harrison Duong told Light Reading Mobile at last week's developer conference that it welcomes data traffic on its LTE network, and that includes traffic from chatty apps and from consumers. (See Verizon Rallies Developers for LTE and Photos: Verizon's Developer Conference .)

Why this matters
Verizon already covers more than half of the urban population with LTE, and it's on track to blanket its entire 3G footprint with the faster network by 2013. This is an advantage it will market to consumers and hold over AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s head for as long as it can. (See AT&T LTE Launch Set for Sunday, Verizon Wireless Covers 160M+ With LTE and Verizon Says LTE Will Match 3G Footprint in 2013.)

As part of its bid to make 4G more accessible, the carrier Monday unveiled a new LTE Pantech Co. Ltd. smartphone for $99, significantly less than all its 4G phones to date.

As of now, Verizon does not throttle its LTE users, although it also doesn't offer them unlimited data. Verizon says that it reserves the right to include 4G LTE users at a later date, but right now throttling only applies to its 3G network.

For more
Read up on Verizon's LTE migration below.



— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:53:22 PM
re: Verizon Embraces 4G Traffic, Throttles 3G

I'm not sure about their depth of coverage, but I know the Xoom still doesn't have LTE. Customers have gotten letters about the planned upgrade, but a Moto spokesman told me on Friday that they're still working on it.

MeerkatMac 12/5/2012 | 4:53:22 PM
re: Verizon Embraces 4G Traffic, Throttles 3G

Unlimited data plans on LTE, or they can keep the network all to themselves.  Customers aren't going to stand for metered traffic, when the can buy all-they-can-eat from any number of competitors.  Verizon needs to make up its mind - do they want to be in this business, or do they not.  Consumers aren't footing the bill any longer for greedy corporations that continue to look to the end consumers, not other corporate citizens, to fatten-up their profits.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:53:22 PM
re: Verizon Embraces 4G Traffic, Throttles 3G

Any comments last week on how much of each market Verizon actually covers? Their coverage maps don't tell a full story -- just wondering how big the gaps are (for instance I believe they have now twice noted that San Francisco has "expanded' coverage or somesuch wording for "we didn't finish the first time.").


Also -- what's up with the Xoom? Does it have LTE yet?

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:53:22 PM
re: Verizon Embraces 4G Traffic, Throttles 3G

Any comments last week on how much of each market Verizon actually covers? Their coverage maps don't tell a full story -- just wondering how big the gaps are (for instance I believe they have now twice noted that San Francisco has "expanded' coverage or somesuch wording for "we didn't finish the first time.").


Also -- what's up with the Xoom? Does it have LTE yet?

btaira 12/5/2012 | 4:53:21 PM
re: Verizon Embraces 4G Traffic, Throttles 3G

Who is offering unlimited 4G LTE data right now?

Esigns 12/5/2012 | 4:53:14 PM
re: Verizon Embraces 4G Traffic, Throttles 3G

Yes

billsblots 12/5/2012 | 4:53:12 PM
re: Verizon Embraces 4G Traffic, Throttles 3G

My daughter just texted me 10 minutes ago to say her Thunderbolt is showing 4G in Chesterfield County, Virginia, 15 miles south of Richmond.  She moved back here from Orange County, CA this summer where she had 4G last winter and spring.


Not that there's any doubt because the phone would not indicate 4G unless it was a recognizable VZW LTE, but she confirmed it was "so F-----g fast!".


She also had picked up 4G near Williamsburg, VA along I-64 a couple of weeks ago.


4G is not mapped as anywhere in Virginia away from DC, and not supposed to be in this area until well into 2013.  I don't know if VZW is just testing or if it will be left on permanently.


I was in no rush to get a smartphone although I'm eligible for upgrade because 4G was not supposed to be here for at least a year, but if the premature 4G here stays up I will certainly be looking forward to a hopeful LTE iPhone 5, or possibly a new iPad with LTE?


This is unexpected and exciting.  Money just flies out of my wallet.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:52:23 PM
re: Verizon Embraces 4G Traffic, Throttles 3G

Apparently the Xooms will get their Verizon LTE update tomorrow..finally. They made the Sept deadline though!

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