You might be able to hear Verizon now, but it may soon take longer for some of you to download anything on its LTE mobile network.
The nation’s largest wireless carrier revealed today that it plans to intentionally slowdown the Internet speed (aka throttling) for data-hungry customers with an unlimited LTE data plan.
Verizon previously killed off the option for customers to sign up for an unlimited data plan, but it grandfathered in those with an existing unlimited plan. These customers already experience data throttling over Verizon’s 3G network, and now the same will be true for LTE.
The new throttling policy begins Oct. 1, but Verizon is apparently only targeting the top 5 percent of unlimited customers who consume the most data. Consuming about 4.7GB in a single month is enough to push you into that territory, as the The Verge points out. Those that do encounter throttling can look forward to slower web browsing and frequent buffering on streaming music or videos.
The throttling policy doesn’t work on a month-to-month basis, either, meaning you could end up experiencing slow LTE speeds for longer than a 30-day period. It’s also only suppose to kick in for data hogs in areas where LTE network cell towers are already experiencing heavy strain — like in packed cities with lots of connected citizens, such as San Francisco.
“While all major wireless carriers employ tools to manage the traffic on their networks, Verizon Wireless uses network intelligence to slow the speeds of only some of its heaviest users on unlimited data plans, and only when those users are connected to a cell site that is experiencing peak usage at that particular time,” the company said in a statement today. “Once the heavy usage eases, or the user moves to a different cell site, the user’s speeds return to normal.”
Verizon likely hopes that those who experience frequent throttling will break down and switch over to a new capped data plan — because LTE network strain isn’t that big of a deal if you’re willing to pay more money, of course.