Verizon may be starting to throttle the data for the top 5% of customers on its wirelessnetwork, meaning that the heaviest data users will begin to see a slowdown in their transmission speeds once they exceed a certain threshold. A PDF, obtained by BoyGeniusReport, indicates that the throttling will take effect for customers who subscribe to their wireless service, including new iPhone customers. The document points to the fact that Verizon has 94 million cutomers and that only the top 5% will be throttled for the remainder of each billing period.
The numbers equate to around 5 million people who will find their data speeds reduced when crossing a threshold and moving into the top 5% of data users. Verizon are obviously making this move now in anticipation of the enormous load that the new iPhone 4 subscribers are expected to make on their network.
The policy wording allows Verizon to say that they are still providing unlimited data but that to ensure fair use of their network, throttling will take place once a data limit has been exceeded. In contrast, AT&T throttle customers by data amount, and should this amount be exceeded, customers are charged extra for more data allowance.
The Verizon policy seems to be the best way of doing things. The heaviest users are penalized for hogging bandwidth and it means that no excessive charges will be placed on customer accounts. Of course, as the number of customers signing up for a Verizon iPhone increases, the goalposts of the top 5% of data users will also shift. The more data-heavy iPhone users there are on the network, the less likely you are to be in that 5%. This is therefore an interesting paridigm in that the more iPhone subscribers there are, the heavier the load on the network, but also a decreased chance in being throttled.
Perhaps, instead of data limits and extra charges, AT&T could do this too.
Update: Gizmodo has noted that this should take effect if you download more than 2GB of data in a billing period. That’s a very low amount.