Oct 2nd, 2014

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Everyone at Verizon Wireless knew it wouldn’t be a popular decision to begin throttling their heaviest unlimited data users, but they went and made the announcement anyway. The change, which was scheduled to go live yesterday, was met with tons of backlash and scrutiny. It seems your heavily-voiced opinions have worked as Verizon has decided to ditch the idea. Here’s a statement from the United States’ number one wireless carrier:

Verizon is committed to providing its customers with an unparalleled mobile network experience.  At a time of ever-increasing mobile broadband data usage, we not only take pride in the way we manage our network resources, but also take seriously our responsibility to deliver exceptional mobile service to every customer.

We’ve greatly valued the ongoing dialogue over the past several months concerning network optimization and we’ve decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans.  Exceptional network service will always be our priority and we remain committed to working closely with industry stakeholders to manage broadband issues so that American consumers get the world-class mobile service they expect and value.

Verizon’s explanation for throttling heavy users of unlimited data was that this was a “network optimization” move, though many quickly called them out on their inconsistent criteria. Said criteria was that an unlimited data customer had to be using at least 4.7GB of data in a billing period during a time of network congestion. Note that folks on Verizon’s latest tiered data plans were not subject to these terms.

The argument by the opposition was simple: how do 4.7GB of unlimited data and 4.7GB of data from a pool differ in terms of network impact? Simple answer is that it doesn’t. It simply doesn’t. And thus, Verizon found themselves trying to justify a move that smelled more like nickle and dime revenue-packing tactics than anything else.

Verizon has attempted to make life hard for users still on unlimited data for quite some time. The company was quick to plug up any loopholes that would afford those customers discounts on upgrades and service, and other perks you’d get for being on Verizon’s latest and “greatest.”

Most people still clinging to unlimited data have found a way to manage, whether that’s buying their smartphones outright, using multiple lines to fuel upgrades without losing unlimited data or simply dealing with the situation and using their smartphone until it refuses to turn on. Verizon has been hesitant to outright pull the rug from beneath these customers and demand they hop onto MORE Everything, and the reason for that is clear today more than ever before — people won’t just accept this stuff lying down.

[via GigaOM]

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