Big news today - Verizon has announced that they are going to begin 'network optimization' of the speeds of LTE customers on "unlimited" grandfathered plans, starting in October.
Verizon is targeting the top 5% of heaviest data users - and at the moment that is averaging out at about 4.7GB a month of usage.
Speeds will not be throttled all the time - only when on a "congested" cell site, and speeds will vary depending upon overall tower usage. And customers will still technically have unlimited data, just it may be slower if they are on a congested tower and have used more than the current calculation of being a heavy user. Also, customers who are under contract will still be able to get unlimited unthrottled data for the length of their contract terms.
We know people who regularly used 100GB a month on their unlimited Verizon plans -- and these plans are so valuable you could get several hundred dollars on eBay for transferring service to someone else.
We anticipate seeing the value of these plans go down, and those who have been depending on this unlimited resource having the adjust their data consumption budgets.
Things we do know:
- Once you are subject to network optimization, your account will stay in that state for the remainder of the billing period AND your next billing period.
- You will only have reduced speeds when on a congested towers (and many Verizon towers are operating at max capacity). If you are not on a congested tower, your speeds should return to normal.
- How slow the throttled speed will be will vary based on cell tower usage. We don't know if this will be speeds so slow to be painful or not.
We'll be digging into the further details and implications, as well as keeping on top of alternative options for high bandwidth users.
For now, we recommend the Millenicom Hotspot Plan, which gives you 20GB of Verizon LTE data for $89.99/month.
More details from Verizon directly here: http://www.verizonwireless.com/support/information/data_disclosure.html