Verizon Makes Sweeping Data Plan Policy Changes

Verizon Makes Sweeping Data Plan Policy Changes

Well, this isn't going to sit well with consumers. And it's something that AT&T executives just have to be smiling about. Currently, AT&T doesn't throttle user data; they have implemented caps, but not a throttle plan. And now, it's one more reason to keep that iPhone 4 on AT&T instead of switching to Verizon. It's difficult to tell how long this particular data has been available from Verizon Wireless, but the timing of the discovery couldn't be worse. New policy changes at Verizon Wireless could very well impact data users, particularly those who rely on heavily on a mobile broadband card or a tethering plan.

Verizon is now saying that they hold the key to your data usage, and if you exceed your threshold, they'll throttle you for the rest of your existing billing cycle and the immediate next billing cycle. That's up to two full months of throttling if you're caught using too much data. The company will reserve the right to do so for the top 5% of heavy data users, but given that customer numbers change all the time, that could include you one day but not the next, we're guessing. The change is being made right as the iPhone is about to launch, and it's probably not a coincidence. iPhone users will be relying on data quite heavily, and Verizon is doing everything they can to prevent a mess that AT&T has, which is to say that some users are suffering due to heavy use by others.


But who is Verizon to make that call? Who is Verizon to say that one email is more important than one YouTube video? We're all paying for the service, so why throttle users who take advantage of the product they buy? It just seems backwards to us, but not at all surprising. Also, Verizon is reserving the right to manipulate data coming and going on the network. For example, if you're streaming Netflix to a smartphone, they could throttle that data and strip out bits to make the streaming easier. You're not likely to see the difference on a small phone, but what if you can? You have no way to argue. Also, if you're uploading a high-res image for an important gallery, Verizon can now strip colors and bits to make the upload easier, effectively destroying your image.

It's not going to go over well, that's for sure, but at this point we kind of doubt that anything will change. The days of unlimited use is over, sadly.
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Hmm... in canada, at the moment, Wind mobile has a similar agreement...

Unlimited data... but up to 5gbs.... after that they slow it down... Which isnt too bad for a deal. But i understand the frustration... going from unlimited, to lower/capped service for the same price.... Yikes!! Unfair. Same things happening in Canada with regular internet haha

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It's just BS, pure and simple.

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What a way to screw your loyal customers, big red. All this in the wake of the "Vphone" announcement....we were doing just fine without Apple's product and had plenty of options in 2011 anyway from tegra 2's to LTE's and much more.

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I agree with you realneil and dodgers2213 It is BS, and the iPhone is just basically calling home to the cash cow. I would really laugh if they screw it all up b4 the iPhone goes live, and the iPhone performs for the like a wet noodle. I am a big red customer for now, but I am one with no contract. So I am watching and looking! One thing I laugh about is corporate America seems to forget we have the Internet sometimes. This will be all over everything before new customers can even come in. Where as I am sure the ones who have been waiting and are existing customers to a great part have already upgraded. New subscribers cannot come in until next week from what I have heard. A weekend is coming and everyone with internet access will know this before Monday I bet.

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Lately big red has been making me mad. It seems that they are becoming more and more like ATT with this iphone issue. I havent had a problem with big red, but i think its time for a new carrier. One that doesnt tell me what to do or bows to a phone that is "magical"

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Humm.....This must explain when Verizon was asked how they would handle all the traffic on the network, they stated that it would not be a problem.

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It's not BS at all. In fact, it's a fabulous idea and I support them for implementing it.

When the iPhone came to AT&T, it choked the company's network for years. Service in major cities was terrible, Apple was enraged at AT&T's inability to upgrade fast enough, and AT&T poured billions into upgrading year after year. I don't know how wide the gap is now, but a few years ago iPhone users tended to use enormously more data than any other smartphone owners--the gap was somewhere in the 5x - 15x range.

This is an entirely valid QOS measure. It preserves Internet access for everyone, it doesn't force Verizon to send out bills hammering consumers for exceeding usage plans and taking a pounding per GB, *and* it's severe enough that people are likely to monitor their usage (assuming Verizon has an app / online tracker for this).

I dont' like throttles. I don't like AT&T's so-called data plans either; I'm lucky enough to be on a grandfathered unlimited data plan. If I had to pick between getting slapped with a $150 data bill or a throttle, I'll take the throttle. Especially if it perceives Internet for everyone else.

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I agree with you Joel, after all we are only talking about a small number of people being effected. If they are going over their limit, then they should move up to a higher tier to avoid being throttled. Let's face it, right now there is only so much bandwidth to go around.

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I agree on one part Joel, that people with the $10 dollar data plan will be affected.

Our fears are founded on the part that Verizon could throttle their unlimited plans which cost $29.99 or more, just think if they decided to throttle data on their unlimited plans just so they could accommodate the iPhone, and yes, I've looked and I can't find a higher tier for data plans. If you can find one yourself Joel then link me up.

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Taylor,

You appear to be confusing bandwidth and data. Unlimited data means you can transfer as much data as you like. Unlimited *bandwidth* means you suck down that data as fast as you like. Purchasing an unlimited data plan does not, ipso facto, grant you unlimited bandwidth from which to consume your unlimited data. 

Put more practically, "data" is essentially an infinite resource. Bandwidth is not. No elite/tiny group has the right to suck up all the bandwidth and deny others use of the same any more than the rich "deserve" access to the majority of clean water, clean air, or food. Bandwidth is a common resource amongst subscribers. Like all common resources, it must be protected abuse/overuse by particular minorities. In this case, that minority is the group of people who believe unlimited data conveys unlimited speed. 

If enough of that minority don't like it, they'll complain enough that AT&T will build you an ultra-elite tier of high-speed space in which everyone has so much bandwidth, no one can complain. They'll probably also charge at least $30-$50 a month for it to reflect the cost of creating such an elite, speed-guaranteed service for such a relatively small number of people. If history is any guide, no one will actually want it. People don't actually want to pay for what they use--they want to continue to feel entitled to consume 10x more than everyone else because they think a particular misunderstanding, or unjust law, or unfair cultural discrimination gives them the right to do so. 

It's not fair in such cases worldwide (and the "tragedy of the commons" is a really, really, enormous worldwide problem).  It's not fair here. 

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Joel H:
No elite/tiny group has the right to suck up all the bandwidth and deny others use of the same any more than the rich "deserve" access to the majority of clean water, clean air, or food. Bandwidth is a common resource amongst subscribers. Like all common resources, it must be protected abuse/overuse by particular minorities. In this case, that minority is the group of people who believe unlimited data conveys unlimited speed. 

There are no elite or tiny groups that buy bandwidth plans only to use up the bandwidth, and thank you for clarifying that unlimited data does not mean unlimited bandwith. They should of suggested that right on the webpage where it said "unlimited data".

This is related to the iPhone. Correct me if I'm wrong but some people do use up a lot of bandwidth (being downloading apps, streaming videos, transferring data) on their Verizon phones. The iPhone will amplify that probably because so many people will be using it on an almost daily basis, no network would be able to handle the load and even with billions of dollars in upgrades they might do, I'm not sure if they'll be able to truly handle the load.

While it is true that no user should steal the bandwith, it is also unfair that Verizon would exhibit such penalties on heavy data users (though some of them will watch their data usage more carefully.) If Verizon lessened the whole punishment thing then I'd be more accepting of it but as it is, I'm not accepting of it. (This applies to large amounts of data like videos, applications, high-resolution pictures, Skype. Not for things like internet pages, which should work even if the bandwith was being stolen. I agree that throttling preserves basic data bandwith usage, but not general internet usage.)

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I agree with you that such things should be explicitly clarified; the telcos benefit very conveniently from the confusion between data and bandwidth. .

 

There are no groups that explicitly fish, or use water, or any number of other various things just "to use it up." If you want a look at this problem on the global scale, look into the condition of sea fisheries. They're collapsing at an incredible rate because, while no one goes in with the confessed desire to ruin it for everyone else, everyone overfishes, everyone abuses and exploits loopholes in the system, and while the fishery might be able to withstand one or two countries doing it, it can't survive *everyone* doing the same thing. Simultaneously, no one wants to *stop*, because then everyone else is getting more than they are. 

If you're familiar with game theory, this is known as a Nash Equilibrium (A Beautiful Mind, Russell Crowe, blah blah blah). 

If Verizon offers the appropriate tools to monitor one's bandwidth usage and makes the penalty clear, I'm pretty ok with it. If they don't, I won't be. Strict limits are one thing, but not giving consumers adequate warning and fair knowledge is fraudulent. 

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As a Wireless 3G broadband card user, you have a data cap of 5gig in a month, and then after that it costs 5 cents a megabyte of data used. Going over is quite a bit of a penalty money wise and that should be the only penalty not throttling the data. For someone to use up 5gig in a month it takes using about 200mb a day. If you watch tons of vids or stream stuff you will use it up very fast. I get Verizon free text messages to my device that tell me when i use half, three quarters, ninety and all of my allotted bandwidth for the month. I dont see why this same feature cannot be used on the phones as well. I just have to make sure if i download large files or watch alot of youtube vids that i hold off on using the internet to much so i dont run out.

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Honestly, I'm no fan of data caps. Broadband caps make much more sense to me because it actually means that a finite resource is being regulated. The other problem with data caps (as opposed to throttles) is that it's realistically possible to blow through an enormous amount of one's monthly bandwidth *extremely* quickly.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but 5 cents per MB would seem to work out to $51 for 1GB.  I'm assuming there's a typo in there--5 cents per 10MB would put the 1GB cost at $5, which seems much more reasonable.

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It states on the contract that I pay for 5gig a month and any amount over the 5gig costs 0.05 cents a megabyte. It stinks but i dont go downloading tons of crap i dont need and i make damn sure i dont go over. If i had another chioce for internet service out where i live that didnt require a $250+ minimum installation fee and more than what im paying for my 3G then i might consider it. Verizon needs to give me DSL where i live but those stingy bastards dont want to expand DSL in a rural area. Id love to get rid of the data caps, but the Verizon cell tower is the only one with in range of me, otherwise i would have a Virgin Mobile unlimited 3g card that is 1/3rd cheaper than what Verizon costs.

The point is Verizon's network isnt robust enough to handle all the smart phone traffic and the broadband card traffic if it was completely unlimited. The other cell companies are the same way, get to many peeps on wanting stuff and everyone gets slow. You know these companies are working their butts off to get their network better than the others so they can take away the others customers with a better or faster network.

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Drago,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt1w4iRNWLA

or

http://www.emergence-media.com/2009/02/verizon-math-fail-in-social-media-bad-reputations-never-really-goes-away/

In your first post you said: "it costs 5 cents per megabyte."

In your next post, you said: "costs 0.05 cents a megabyte."

5 cents is 5 percent of one dollar.

0.05 cents is 5 percent of one CENT.

Regardless of what your real data plan's terms of use are, you've confused dollars and cents--your two previous posts say two completely different things. 

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Joel,

I'm fairly certain he meant 5 cents/MB and when he re-typed he meant $0.05 /MB. Either way what he's saying is correct -- $0.05/MB is the overage charge when using broadband connection (i.e. tethering or broadband card) but it doesn't tie into data on the plan so its kinda a moot point.

Either way, this all is just heresay at this point...until something of the sort of formally implemented I am not too worried.

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Yow. That's ugly--but I agree with you that we'll have to wait and see how things shake out. I'm certainly willing to admit that it's much harder to expand wireless speeds / available bandwidth than it is to do the same for wired.

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