Verizon May Slow Down Those Hogging Unlimited 3G Data Plans

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This should come as a surprise to nobody and outrage almost nobody, but “unlimited” cellular internet access doesn’t always mean unlimited and fast cellular internet access.

In light of Verizon’s recent $30-per-month unlimited data plan requirement for smartphone owners, the company has also slipped this little tidbit onto its website and made it official starting today:

“Verizon Wireless strives to provide customers the best experience when using our network, a shared resource among tens of millions of customers. To help achieve this, if you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand. Our proactive management of the Verizon Wireless network is designed to ensure that the remaining 95% of data customers aren’t negatively affected by the inordinate data consumption of just a few users.”

In plain English: If you surf the web on your new iPhone for an absolutely mind-numbing amount of time, Verizon will slow the phone’s internet connection down until the bill after your next bill is due.

I’m not sure how you’d make it into the top 5% of data hogs on Verizon but it would almost have to entail more than simply surfing the web on your phone.

Verizon’s Wi-Fi hotspot feature doesn’t allow for unlimited data, so you’d almost have to use one of many workarounds or hacks to get your phone unofficially working as a non-sanctioned Wi-Fi hotspot and then use it as the main internet connection for all the computers in your house.

Potentially more concerning because it effects all of Verizon’s smartphone users is an additional quip that states the following:

“We are implementing optimization and transcoding technologies in our network to transmit data files in a more efficient manner to allow available network capacity to benefit the greatest number of users. These techniques include caching less data, using less capacity, and sizing the video more appropriately for the device. The optimization process is agnostic to the content itself and to the website that provides it. While we invest much effort to avoid changing text, image, and video files in the compression process and while any change to the file is likely to be indiscernible, the optimization process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on your device.”

Let’s hope the “likely to be indiscernible” part holds up—nobody likes overly compressed photos and videos. Whatever the case, it’s almost like Verizon is bracing for some kind of highly-in-demand phone to become available on its network in the near future. And it seems important that this phone doesn’t cause the network to buckle, like the same phone may or may not have done to a competing network that may or may not exist in real life.

[via BGR]

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