Verizon has been making a big deal about having an unlimited data plan while AT&T offers a tiered service. It’s a nice feature to advertise but it appears Verizon is leaving itself a back door in case the new glut of iPhone users decide to rape their data network:
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.
This is interesting verbiage I must say. Basically if you are in the top 5% of bandwidth users your data speeds will be reduced for up to two billing cycles. Yes, potentially two depending on how early you fall within that top 5%. Of course using the qualifier of 5% is interesting because the potential exists where the top 5% of data users would consume only 1MB of data (granted the possibility of that happening are less than a unicorn walking through my business within the next five minutes). T-Mobile has a much easier to understand cap where you get throttled after you’ve downloaded 5GB of data and I haven’t a clue what Sprint does (I’ve gone past the 5GB barrier before with no noticeable throttling).
It seems Verizon chose to use a percentage as a method of dropping the throttle hammer on anybody they chose to without having to give a concrete explanation as of why. If you have a nebulous figure of X% then you can pretty much do whatever the Hell you want because nobody can actually confirm whether or not they were within that percentage or not.
It’s an interesting response to a scenario they know will be occurring soon (a high increase in the data usage on their network).