Although has been doing some type of speed throttling since 2011, Verizon is now rethinking how it will optimize its 4G network after running into trouble over its latest plan to slow down network speeds for unlimited LTE users.
Verizon Wireless said this summer it would throttle back network connections for heavy unlimited data customers that have both fulfilled their minimum contract term on LTE and are on a heavily trafficked LTE site, starting this week. At the time, Verizon said that this would only affect the top 5% of its data users, but it was enough to incite the backlash of consumer advocacy groups and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , which questioned the validity of the plans. (See Verizon Applies 3G Throttling Policy to LTE and FCC Boss 'Disturbed' By Verizon Throttling .)
As a result, Verizon said Wednesday it would not move forward with its LTE optimization plan, although 3G throttling will remain in practice. The carrier issued a statement explaining that it was committed to providing an "unparalleled mobile network experience" and takes that responsibility seriously. The statement continues:
- We've greatly valued the ongoing dialogue over the past several months concerning network optimization and we've decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans. Exceptional network service will always be our priority and we remain committed to working closely with industry stakeholders to manage broadband issues so that American consumers get the world-class mobile service they expect and value.
Verizon's stated goal was network optimization for the good of all its customers, but the carrier was also looking to move those lingering unlimited customers over to its more lucrative More Everything data plans. It's far from the only operator that uses throttling as motivation either. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) throttles bandwidth use after 3GB on its 3G HSPA network or after 5GB on its LTE network, and some of T-Mobile US Inc. 's "unlimited" data plans come with a provision to lower speeds after a cap is reached.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who originally called Verizon's optimization plan "disturbing" for basing network management on data plan distinctions rather than on network architecture or technology, commended the carrier for rescinding it.
"I salute Verizon Wireless’s decision. This is a responsible action, and I commend Verizon's leadership on this issue," Wheeler said in a statement.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading