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.