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Verizon Responds to FCC Over Throttling Questions: Unlimited Data Users Have “No Incentive Not to” Hog Resources

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Shortly after we first reported Verizon’s plans to begin throttling unlimited 4G LTE data users who gobble up enough data (4.7GB per month) to land them in the top 5% of the carrier’s data users, the FCC sent a letter to VZW CEO Dan Mead, asking for answers to a couple of questions about the new policy. Today, The Verge claims to have received a copy of the letter that Verizon’s SVP of federal regulatory affairs sent in response. This official response comes on the heels of the brief statement that Big Red issued last week, which basically said that they stand by their “Network Optimization” of unlimited data users. 

So what does the official response say? Well, without the letter we are at the mercy of The Verge’s take, which says that Verizon stresses to the FCC that customers will only see throttling “under very limited circumstances.” We already knew this from Verizon’s Network Optimization policy, but Big Red again notes that throttling happens on “particular cell sites experiencing unusually high demand,” but will will stop once a customers moves off of the strained cell site.

“Our practice is a measured and fair step to ensure that this small group of customers do not disadvantage all others in the sharing of network resources during times of high demand,” Verizon said, because unlimited data users have “no incentive not to” gobble up network resources. In other words, Verizon can’t stand it that unlimited data users still exist and might use up a lot of data that they can’t monetize, so they want to penalize them to try and get them onto a much more Verizon-friendly, revenue increasing, tiered data plan. As I pointed out the other day, tiered data plan users, even those with big data pots that likely use more than the 4.7GB per month that Verizon has declared as the top 5%, are not throttled.

Verizon also mentioned that all of the other carriers are throttling customers, but that their policy is more tailored and only happens on congested sites, whereas its competitors throttle you regardless of a cell site’s situation.

As expected, Verizon is standing by its policy, which they figure only affects a very small portion of its customers.

Via:  The Verge
  • pokingdabear

    I use 50-60 gigs a month, without tethering. I’m a trucker and I stream music all day, and at night I Skype with family and friends, use Netflix, and YouTube. Verizon has the ability to let everybody use that much every month. But they want the money, so I will keep my unlimited plan and if they ever take it from me I will go somewhere else

  • Doglips

    It’s the equivalent of paying for an
    “all you can eat buffet” where
    they remove the food trays when you come back for a second plate. Then
    accuse you of “hogging” the food from the other customers.

  • Jeff

    Here are a few things that I thought would be interesting to ad to this story. Yesterday I was having all sorts of trouble with our data connection on both Note 3’s we own. Called Verizon and talked with tier 2 tech support. He had stated a few different things that I thought was interesting. 1.) Was that Note 3’s on all carriers have been having radio issues. (Does anyone know any validity to what he said with that?) 2. Samsung is aware and looking at a quick fix. 3. That VZW has been “throttling ” customers already now for about a month on 4G LTE. 4. That most unlimited data users will not be affected by that unless they live in “Brooklyn” for example. (Heavily populated areas). Any thoughts? Also will note that I didn’t pay attention to his name.

  • rick

    you pay big money for these high priced phones and get a measley amount of data, il never use verizon or AT&T ever again, it’s bs , the bottem line for me is if I’m paying them for my phone and monthly plan ( which is steep enough) I should be able to use enough data to enjoy my phone. can,t do it with these blood suckers.

  • 3m4n

    This will explain things well…

    The First Honest Cable Company: http://youtu.be/0ilMx7k7mso

  • LeDiva

    Feel free to connect to my hotspot.
    SSID: “UpYoursVerizon”
    Password: 3at-me

    • cg

      I know you were joking LeDiva…but never share a data connection.

      I wouldn’t want to risk pedophiles downloading their filth through my connection and then having the Feds beat my ass as they come to arrest me…and then scouring my laptop and phones…lmao. F’ that.

  • A man

    I have unlimited data and pay for hot spot. I use about 7gjgs a month. My friend has a tiered 10 gig plan and uses 9 a month and his hotspot is free for him to use as he pleases. They are going to throttle me and not him because of my unlimited and he uses more resources than I. That is the real flaw here. I hope the fcc comes down on them hard.

    • chris_johns

      you wont….theres people running their xboxes and home computers from their cell using 30-50+gigs a month…they will get throttled…and honestly rightfully so

      • According to the article he will, since he uses more than 4.7 gigs a month.

  • Dane Carpenter

    I can relate to Verizon and understand what they are dealing with. I’m constantly dealing with this in my workplace abusers eating up network and internet resources.

  • androidkin

    I don’t think throttling LTE customer is a new policy. Up until July 2013, I had Verizon Wireless and speed tests at my home wouldn’t show more than 1-3 mbps. When LTE was first available, I got 15-20 mbps. As the network was filled with more LTE customer it stability 8-10 mbps. After the ICS update for my Thunderbolt, the speeds wouldn’t go above 5 mbps. During the last few months of my service, didn’t matter whether I used 1GB or 50 GB, the speedtest showed 1-3 mbps. I tested it different times of days (morning, afternoons, evenings, and late night). I would hardly think that the tower I connected was always “congested”.

  • Rob

    No incentive? So give us a better one, Verizon. How about something like unlimited users that stay under 5 GBs a month get $10 off their bill or something??? Why don’t YOU, Verizon, give us a reason to not hog up resources, as y’all so eloquently put it.

  • KMS_Alex

    I can’t understand how you full grown adults can whine like babies about this.

  • Keg Man

    For all the people with unlimited data, they have no contract. If you don’t have a contract, Verizon could just change the terms of the deal at will. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Verizon is NOT obligated to honor your unlimited data without a contract

    • Damir H

      In order for Verizon to not honor your Unlimited plan they would have to drop you. Or put you in a different plan, which is the ShareEverything plan and does require a new contract. But a lot of people have multiple lines and only one or two unlimited lines, so that’s not going to work. When you have to put everyone on same plan. Sure Verizon can just drop you. But they can drop you at any time even with a contract…so what’s your point? They’d be stupid to do that. No, what they want for you is to give up and and just go with the flow and just change your terms yourself by abandoning the unlimited plan and hop on one of their “less for more $$” plans.

      • cg

        From my cold, dead hands….!!

        Unlimited Data 4 life!

  • Damir H

    So, let me get this straight: A resource hog “power user” (as definened by Verizon) who uses between 5-7GB of data, is going to be throttled if they’re on an Unlimited plan. But another user who is using the same or more amount of data, that is on the 10, 20, or 50gb plans (pricier plans)…is not affecting the towers? Tell me how this is about the network optimization, and not screwing the loyal unlimited users again. Please, do tell…

  • D.J. Sanders

    Maybe the town Dan Mead lives in should “throttle” his water flow and electricity flow during times of peak usage say 5am-9am and 4:30pm -8:30pm, oh sorry your water has been restricted to 1 gallon per minute so good luck doing that laundry and yeah you can’t run your air conditioners but you can hook up a box fan we will give you enough power for that.

  • g.j

    Why is it always the haters, I mean the people who don’t have, missed out on or just mad because they don’t have unlimited data, always the first to bash those who do have, got in on, and able to keep their unlimited data.
    This discussion should only be for those who have unlimited data, not punkass limited data!
    If I’m paying for it, I should be able to use it anyway I see fit for me!

    • cg

      I not only got in on unlimited data with two lines, but I also got a third one through “assumption of liability” and used that line for a $29.99 a month unlimited data Jetpack. And no, I do not abuse it…(my home internet is so much better anyway…I only use it when I am travelling.) I pay Verizon $217 a month….5 lines…3 U/L and 2 dummy lines so I can upgrade phones…plus I still have upgrades I can transfer…lmao.

      • g.j

        I do the same thing.

  • antwonw

    So when’s the class action lawsuit being filled against Verizon?

  • LPG

    This whole Verizon throttling is stupid, I can’t believe that the 5% of people that have unlimited data are affecting the whole 95% of people it just doesn’t make sense. I would understand 40% or even 20% but 5? come on Verizon.

  • sski66

    So in reality according to Verizon an Unlimited Data Plan is 4.7 gb before the tires blow out & your stuck with an expensive brick, way to go guys! I can see 10gb, I can “live with that”, still not Unlimited!

  • Nate

    I pay for my unlimited data. I do tether from time to time without signing up for the plan. But it’s so small (in terms of time tethered and often in span of month) that I felt the extra $20 was worth it. As far as usage… I use around 7-8 GBs per month. 99.5 % all on the phone. I’m trying to bring my usage down more because I know Verizon is going to lower the hammer fully soon. Making having unlimited data so difficult that moving to tiered is the only choice. Verizon may have issues with Bandwidth…but if you pay enough those issues go away so quickly. Verizon has the best coverage hands down. But they like most companies are super greedy. So to them we are simply taking money from their pockets instead of paying for more data. Verizon is just following the trends in usage and so I can’t begrudge them in cashing in on that. But the pig is well fed and doesn’t need more….but they know they are king of the hill and will leverage it to the hills. I will stay but will leave high and dry if any more tactics lime this arise.

  • billd

    if im standing right next to a vzw customer that has the 10gb plan and were using the same cell tower whats the prob if im on unlimited and only use 5gb.. its all about money….. they will sell you all the bandwith you can afford.

  • Arturo De Guzman

    I had unlimited and gave it up to get on the share everything plan. I’m all about fair use policies. You guys that tether without paying for it are messing it up for everyone else.. You know who you are. I used to be one of them. I pay for all the electricity I use, all the gas I consume and all the water I enjoy. I pay for every gallon of gas and every part of my 30 GB data plan. I don’t abuse.
    I’m happy with my non-throttled FIOS 100 MB service – which I hope that one day will not get “limited”. If it does, I’ll probably pay as well. Just a fact of life. I think we should move on.

    • cg

      Shut the f’ up….if you enjoy being ravaged over and over again in your exit hole, do not try to sell that to everyone else.

      Electricity, gas, water…if you use more than you have to pay, then yes, your bill becomes high. Unlimited Data isn’t metered like that. Verizon loves customers like you, but that doesn’t mean that it is the normal set of customers…

      I will continue with my $29.99 of Unlimited Data…streaming Netflix on the road, Google Play Music, and whatever else…oh and on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 which I got subsidized!! Enjoy the emasculation that Verizon is currently providing you.

  • thatdroidguy

    2 yrs ago Verizon done away with the NewEvery2 program. At that time if I want to keep my unlimited data plan I would have to pay full price for an upgrade and go month to month. I and a multitude of customers agreed to those terms. My plan for 2 phones the last 12 yrs – 1400 minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited data. I pay $183 every month for this service. Now you want to throttle me for more money? Not cool Big Red. Not once have you ever offered to give me a discount when both lines were under 4.7 gigs each. Your Greed will come back and bite you!

  • John

    I Wouldn’t have as much of a problem if they were only throttling the top 5% of UNLIMITED users.

  • miki

    This is ignorant. All of Korea has the option for unlimited data and their population to structure ratio is waaaaaay higher. Americans should NOT by into this hockey.

  • hoosiercub88

    The entire plausibility of this goes out the window knowing that a friend of mine who lives more rural than me, has extremely limited home network options. Satellite, which he’s tried and it’s unusable. Dial up, yeah no. A Verizon MiFi which got cost prohibitive quick.. But finally, a small new upstart ISP came to him to let him know they were offering LTE-based home Internet service. It piggybacks VZWs LTE, and let’s him have unbridled, high speed, with unlimited data on the LTE network. He used 250 Gb last month downloading his Steam library, and nobody batted an eye.

    If you still think this is about the betterment of the network and not entirely about monetization, you’re out of your GD mind.

  • Syrio35

    Paying for a service and then using it is not “hogging”, you effing morons. The only thing this incentivizes is finally telling Verizon to screw off.

  • AxemRed

    I know this won’t make me popular, but I don’t really care about unlimited data users anymore. I’m sure many of them are great people who use their phones normally and are getting screwed. But when I see people try to defend their 60GB+ a month as normal usage or see them brag about running all the internet at their house off a tethered unlimited plan to save money, it just sours me on all of them. Some of these people have such a sense of entitlement…

    Is Verizon screwing us? Of course. Their goal is to make as much money as possible, and they don’t care about making life easier for any of us. But are we entitled to a “dream plan” that gives us good coverage, good data speeds, AND unlimited data for a price that we arbitrarily decide is “reasonable?” Hell no. The market has changed, and Verizon no longer offers unlimited data. So look at the plans currently available from all the carriers, and pick the one that works best for you.

    • crazed_z06

      Looked at them.. They suck.

      Staying with my unlimited data on Verizon.

    • cg

      I don’t care if you’re popular or not…I don’t do 60GB…at best I average a little over 20GB a month. Everytime I call Verizon with some issue, I always get the chick or dude telling me hey, why not switch over to Share More…Share More…yes…Verizon wants me to share more of my money…I tell them I don’t care if I use one byte a month…(that’s one byte…..not a megabyte, or even a gigabyte…one byte) I do not want to lose my unlimited data. It is better than ANY phone out there or will be out there…

      When Sandy hit…I was grateful I had unlimited data. I had no electricity, but I had a car charger and two phones (both sh**ty Samsung Droid Charges) Our sanity was kept for 8 days….if we had Share Crap, we’d have spent a lot more that month…

      So Axem…you can shut the f’ up too…I will do everything in my power to not only keep unlimited data, but to not get throttled as well.

      “Sense of entitlement…” I am sure you feel that way about folks who normally get attributed to that phrase…effing racist…

      Spare me the “Where in my post did I say anything racist?” or “I didn’t say anything racist.” responses….the use of the phrase “sense of entitlement” made that oh-so-clear…lmao.

      • AxemRed

        Lol you took that “sense of entitlement” phrase as the exact opposite that I meant it. When I see someone with an unlimited plan bragging about using 100GB of data, I picture a spoiled 1%er trying demanding to “have it all” and trying to normalize his excessive consumption. That’s the kind of entitlement I’m talking about.

        • cg

          Perhaps I did take that a bit too far…perhaps…lol.

          I tend to get a bit passionate. An inexpensive data plan on America’s best network is one of the things I’m passionate about…people wanting to take that away from me (Verizon, their minions, and customers who lost unlimited data and want me to share in their misery) tends to fuel my passions and at times I can get a bit blinded by that. But ultimately, I am a huge advocate for keeping it…by any means necessary.

  • Montana Droemer

    It’s crap because all it is, data.. So why doesn’t internet providers do this….it’s just a excuse from Verizon.. My sister internet provider doesn’t slow her down… It just doesnt make since.. Greedy company

    • Gideon Waxfarb

      AFAIK, throttling doesn’t do much to relieve congestion on wired broadband networks, but does on wireless.

  • Rick Brown

    Simple as this, they have what we want and they know we will pay dearly to get it, so they find loop holes to pick our pockets empty. They offer to sale you more bandwidth once you run low and need it. Just like gas for automobiles. You need it so they spike the price up because they know you will buy it. Corporate greed at its finest!

  • Ryan Dombroski

    It’s all about the money :/ I’ll just go to T-Mobile or something b/c the cell towers in Palmdale & Lancaster CA are always under “High Demand” and that make that clear to me all the time when I complain about my speeds

  • Marc

    If they throttle, dropping to 3g would be unacceptable. Maybe dropping to the bare minimum advertised 4g speeds would be something to consider (ie ~12down/5up) speeds that they advertised to expect early on when 4g was building out. Sure it’s not 50 down /20 up or better but it would be the 4g that they said we can expect at a minimum on the Verizon network. Forgive me if the numbers are a little off but I remember seeing the numbers somewhere in advertisements.

  • Josh

    I’m an unlimited data user who is probably in the top 1% for data usage. My usage this month is already at 102 GB and climbing. Unlimited data is a requirement for me because of this high usage, due to tethering, and the upload and download of large video files across my household and the cloud. How do I feel about all this? I signed up for unlimited data. That is my contract. There was nothing in my contract at signing that mentioned throttling. The fact that the fine print of the contract allows them to do this is unprofessional and frankly childish. You signed a deal with me, and I have not broken any rules of that deal. If you want me to stop using this much data, then make me another offer that I can’t refuse. Take the small financial hit that you may have to take in order to be where you want to be as a service provider.

  • J love

    Go switch carriers, all of you cry babies

    • M3D1T8R

      Based on your string of comments here I think you are bipolar or something.
      And give up on the Lakers, it ain’t happening

  • J love

    It’s their’s to sell. Unlimited data users are technically no longer under any contract. Better stop complaining before you get slapped. They technically don’t owe you anything. I had it and had to have a new phone. No changes at all. They offered a way out. If you didn’t take it, you’ll pay more or get less coverage. They didn’t become “Big Red” for being stupid.

    • M3D1T8R

      Well I’m under contract for Unlimited for 23 1/2 more months, so if they still screw me I should at least be able to get out of an ETF.

    • crazed_z06

      You have a point, but some of us unlimited peeps are actually under contract still.

      Remember the “glitch weekend?” .. A whole bunch of people like me got subsidized Note 3s, Moto Xs, etc and signed new 2 year contracts and kept unlimited 🙂

  • lakers1moretime

    I think this is really BS. I pay a lot of money to vzw over the years and pay my bill on time every month for the privilege to use what you sold me on, a few years ago “unlimited 4g lte data”. (If you look at my 2 yr extension contract it says that) Wow Verizon, I’m sorry I’m not incentivising your share holders or contributing to the deep bonuses that your CEO will get once he can’t figure out how to f…k his customers any longer. I know that like every customer out there I have limited options and you prey on that; I have 3 more months on my other 2 lines that average less than .5gbs a month and we will gladly take our money somewhere else. By the way thank you for educating me about greed, I will never sign a long term contract with any other provider just to get a discount up front (cable, cell, security)

    12 yrs with customer with Verizon

    • flosserelli

      You are confusing “unlimited data” with “unlimited speed”. Your contract says “unlimited 4G LTE data”, so you will continue to get unlimited data. But you may get it at reduced speed.

      • M3D1T8R

        Wrong. “Unlimited 4G LTE data” should mean unlimited _4G LTE_ data. Dropping it to 3G speed or worse (we still don’t know that crucial bit of info – just what speed they’re throttling to) is clearly not what we’ve been been sold and not what we pay for.

        • flosserelli

          You forget that carriers can change the terms of service at any time, and VZW has done just that.

  • Droid 1967

    nevermind apparently things show up when they feel like it 🙂

  • Caleb Boerner

    Just to spite VZW I have been using my unlimited data to download HD movie torrents and then just delete them. I’ve used almost 30 gigs in the last 24 hours. I intend to keep doing this up to and beyond Oct. 1. I know that means I’m being a data hog and ruining everyone else’s experience (/s) but if VZW is going to make me do the time, I’m damn sure going to do the crime. The funny thing is that when I’m using my phone normally, I use between 3-7 gigs a month. So VZW is like Dr. Frankenstein in that they created this monster and brought it upon themselves.

    • fd2blk78

      Safe to say, no girlfriend huh? Haha

  • Razma

    Verizon pretty much just said, customers with unlimited data have no incentive not to use their unlimited data…this makes no sense

  • tiev

    It was part of the contract that we get unlimited data. We also pay for the 4g speed. Not to mention plenty of advertising from Verizon claiming fast LTE. There isn’t even mention on “how much they throttle” people down to. On top of that, when does it reset? What is the criteria to be throttled?

  • Davros

    So verizon uses unlimited data to get/keep people from the other providers. Now when they have the most users they want to do away with unlimited data because they feel they are entitled to bigger profits. VERIZON HAS NO HONOR. I use between 3 and 6 Gb/mo. on an unlimited plan. As of this month I am no longer on a 2 year contract and will stay on month2month…at least until they start effing with my data. Then I will smile, throw them the bird, and take our 5 accounts elsewhere.

    • Davros

      For this to actually be in the same universe as fair they need to go after the large data users whether they are unlimited or tiered.

    • Davros

      For this to even be in the same universe as “fair” they need to include the high users from the tiered plans. Or maybe they should just move all of us unlimited people to Salem 😉

  • TC Infantino

    This entire argument by VZW makes no sense. When you are sharing a cell tower with multiple others, your data is all treated the same. For example, if you are all watching the same Netflix movie at the same time, your data speeds should all be approximately the same because the hardware will share whatever resources are available equally. The amount of data you have consumed prior to accessing that cell site at that particular time means absolutely nothing to how the cell site handles your data requests. VZW’s statement that people who use more data per month than the average consumer are at all causing any congestion problems is a complete fabrication. The only cause of network congestion is user volume, because the network switching gear doesn’t care about how much data a particular user consumed last week, or in the last hour, or last minute. The network equipment only deals with what is going on Right Now, this instant. And as such, a congested cell site will automatically adjust the throughput for all users, on an as needed basis depending on the data packets being delivered.
    So basically VZW is creating and using peoples jealousy of those who have Unlimited Data plans to push through another pure money making policy.

    • Caleb Boerner

      Bingo! You win the prize!

    • 100% correct.

    • hkklife

      Well said!

  • Cael


  • Oscar Maciel Diaz

    Now here’s my question. They are saying this is only for unlimited data plans but how about those that are on tiers and use more than 5gigs of data a month and they are not going to be penalized under their”Network Optimization” wouldn’t that be considered discrimination? Theyre choosing who they can and who they can’t throttle. If they are saying that the top 5% of data users affect how other customers experience the network how is that fair for those of us who are paying the extra cash per line to be on unlimitied and might not use more than 3% but others who are tiered use more than me? And they’re not going to be penalized/throttled because they’re not on unlimited? Its all just smoke and mirrors

  • Gary Hicks

    Just shut up and stop crying! “Oh but I use my phone for Netflix, oh I use my phone to stream music, oh I use my phone to play very important games.” It’s a phone. Just because it has the capability to do all of that, doesn’t mean you NEED to use it for that. My car is registered for 140, do I drive that fast? No, first because it’s illegal, second because I don’t NEED to.

    • Gary Hicks

      And yes I have unlimited data.

    • Franklin Ramsey

      I’m sorry, you aren’t making sense. Verizon advertises the ability to do all those things… but why should we want to do what our phones are advertised and marketed as being able to do?

      • Gary Hicks

        I made perfect sense. Just because you’re too stupid to understand my point, doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense.

        • Franklin Ramsey

          I understand your point, your point isn’t valid. Smartphones are not just phones. They are advertised to do all those things you are saying we shouldn’t do. If a person wanted to use a phone as a phone, they would buy a phone. People buy smartphones for all the other things a smartphone can do. Of course they don’t NEED to do any of those other things. Heck, they technically don’t NEED to use the phone as a phone. Why not send mail? Why not go visit in person instead of calling a person. It isn’t an argument for need. They purchased their smartphone for the additional features and abilities the smartphone had. They purchased a data plan in order to use those features. Now Verizon is changing the terms of the purchase. If you wanted an apt metaphor, it would be like you buying a car that was advertised to go 140 miles per hour, that you wanted to go 140 mph. Maybe you need it to do that on a race track, who knows, but then all of a sudden, whomever makes the car tells you that if you drive the car over 470 miles in a month on a certain track, the car is only going to be able to go 65 mph. If you want the ability to go over 470 miles in a month on that track, you have to purchase a new car, but that new car will only go 1000 miles in a month unless you pay an additional fee.

  • Skittlez

    as much as i hate the idea of throttling, as long as they keep me in the 5-12Mbps guidelines that LTE goes by, I’m fine. Just don’t bring me down to 3G speeds, or we’re going to have a problem.

    • Chris Hannan

      If you’re always within or above that target, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. It only applies when you’re on a congested tower.

      I never get lower than 10Mbps with a decent connection. The only time I drop below that is with a single bar of LTE, which is obviously not congestion. I shouldn’t have any issues with throttling in my area.

    • Droid 1967

      If what your stating were to be true than yeah no problem. I am betting more like 2g speeds that is what tmobile does iof your on their limited unlimited plans. 2g or slower 🙂 it is unusable!

  • Kevin108

    Bait and switch: offer unlimited data for a period then eliminate them, jack prices up, and hope your customers stick around for the better coverage.

    • flosserelli

      And most of them will.