If you've got a grandfathered unlimited data plan through AT&T, you're about to be throttled once you hit a 3GB ceiling per AT&T's new official policy. Users who consume 3GB of data with a 3G device, or 5GB of data with a LTE device will be throttled back to Edge speeds until the new billing cycle begins. Because of recent consumer complaints AT&T was forced to draft an official policy here, and now we know exactly what will happen if we're part of the 5-percent of users who use more than AT&T feels is a fair share.

It's good to have a policy across the board. We have the right to know what can, and will, happen if we use "too much" data. 3GB seems like a fair place to start, this way unlimited users aren't stuck being able to use less data than tiered plan subscribers. And Edge speeds are often faster than 3G speeds on that "true unlimited" network. And throttling is certainly better than thousands of dollars in overages. On it's face, this seems like a fair compromise.

But 3 does not equal unlimited. 

AT&T never promised anyone unlimited "high speed" data, so we're pretty much at their mercy. But just like it did when T-Mobile introduced it, throttling seems wrong. Sell me a phone that eats data like candy, then don't give me the data plan to use it all? See AT&T's full press release after the break.

Source: AT&T; via: iMore

With mobile data usage continuing to skyrocket and the availability of spectrum scarce, AT&T, like other wireless companies, manages its network in the most fair way possible so that we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience for all our customers.

How we’re managing the network only affects a small minority of the heaviest smartphone data users still on unlimited plans. Put another way, this does not impact more than 95 percent of our smartphone customers.

Our unlimited plan customers have told us they want more clarity around how the program works and what they can expect. Here’s what customers need to know:

Customers with a 3G or 4G smartphone – who also still have our unlimited data plan – will see speeds reduced if they use 3GB (gigabytes) of data or more in a billing cycle. Speeds will return to normal at the start of the next billing cycle. For context, less than 5 percent of smartphone customers use more than 3GB per month.

For customers with a 4G LTE smartphone – who also still have our unlimited data plan – data speeds will be reduced if usage is 5GB (gigabytes) or more in a billing cycle. Speeds will return to normal at the start of the next billing cycle.

Customers will get a text message from us before experiencing a change in speed.

Even with reduced data speeds, these customers will still be able to email and surf the web, and continue to use an unlimited amount of data each month.

Not impacted by this program, launched last year, are customers on our tiered data plans.

The reason reduced speeds only apply to unlimited smartphone customers is because their data usage is significantly higher than those on tiered plans. For example, in January, the top 5 percent of our unlimited data plan customers used an average of over 50 percent more data than the top 5 percent of customers on tiered plans.

Because spectrum is limited and data usage continues to soar, we manage our network this way to be as fair as possible and so we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience to everyone.

We encourage all of our customers to use Wi-Fi whenever possible – especially when watching video, which is the most data-intensive activity.




Reader comments

3 is the new unlimited says AT&T, as they officially change unlimited data plans


God, I hope Sprint realizes this is one of the few reasons people stay with them. Don't screw the pooch on this one, Sprint. You're phones aren't cutting edge right now, and following suit here will force me, and a lot of others, to jump ship ASAP.

If Sprint does this too I'm definitely going to another carrier. Why shouldn't people be allowed to use their data plan with no limit. This only applies to the cell phone world. You don't see Cox charging for how much you use your home internet service, why should cellphone carriers?

What do you think, it's free for you to use all the data you want? If it was, they wouldn't charge anything at all.

No, its not free to use all the data we want. That's why we PAY for UNLIMITED data plans. This isn't unlimited. Its limited...

The ammount of data you are allowed to use in any given billing period is UNLIMITED, just like AT&T Said it would be, no one said anything about what speeds you would get. you still have access to as much data as you CAN use in any billing perion....unlimited.

Actually it's not unlimited when they reduce the speed... especially since one of AT&T's main advertising focuses on how fast they are.

By your logic, AT&T, or any carrier, could cap you at 45MB of data a month by limiting the speed, and still call it unlimited.

I can see it now... AT&T caps the speed at 1KB/min and says it's still unlimited because they're not stopping you from using a data connection. But in reality, they've capped you at under 45MB a month because that is the maximum amount of data one could use, in a month, at a speed of 1KB a min.

I hope Sprint goes to this. Why you ask? To get all the data hogs off their network. Yes, they will lose a few customers, but those are the customers you want to lose. Then my data speeds will go back up to what they used to be. If you're going to use more than 6/gigs a month, get a fwcken home data network.

If they advertise unlimited it should be unlimited. No if ands or buts! If the network can't deal with it then they should upgrade it, that's what we pay for and lord knows they sure as hell make enough money. Don't blame the customers blame the money hungry CEO's, executives, and board members.

Why shouldn't people be allowed to use their data plan with no limit??? Here's why, and it's something most Americans seem to be completely oblivious to in all aspects of life:


That means we all have to share the limited resources available to all of us. Wireless bandwidth is limited, and if we're to access it, we must do so in a *minimally* cooperative way. In other words, we must *share* it, not hog it all for ourselves.

The real question is why people like you feel your *desire* (I refuse to call wireless data usage a *need*) is more important than anyone else's. Meaning, why should you be able to make unlimited use of the spectrum BOTH in terms of speed and quantity, to the point of depriving everyone else access? What makes you so much more important than anyone else?

And the argument of having been promised unlimited data is BS. Carriers offered unlimited data plans when the entire industry was considerably more primitive than it is today. When they offered unlimited data, there was almost no way to possibly use gigabytes of data per month. Phones capabilities expanded tremendously in just a few short years, and now you can stream movies directly to your phone. Carriers can't be expected to honor unlimited data AND bandwidth when it means a tiny fraction of people can cause interruption to the entire network.

You're still getting unlimited data, but you're being prevented from depriving everyone else access to the same network you enjoy.

This isn't a hippie commune it's a witless provider that is stealing lying it does not slow your phone down if I'm on mine they set the outage by the population not like its a standard wi fi signal that if everyone is it slows down its not your private router and to say we should share well that us my plan I'm unlimited so if I turn on my hot spot I tell people that I work with my password and allow mothers to look up stuff for her child I let strangers use my network that ask me and are frantically trying to find wifi do you no why I do this because it should be that way in this world not everyone has what you have so if something as little as that helps them it makes me happy knowing I could help but your saying I don't have the right to help or share because I did the right thing I paid for 5 years for a service I've never used 5g in a month of but now my phone uses more data so I need to be shut off slowed down but it makes 0 sense none that I pay never complain they never called me and said sir you use very little data you shod change your plan they just took my money and said nothing so how is if they give me products that can finally do what I've been paying for for years and as soon as they see that they shut it down it is a classless Cheap gross every other degrading word that comes to mind and your wrong to at someone shouldn't get what they pay for when I'm sure when some thing doesn't go your way your on the phone on the blogs on the comments section for what ever company wronged you so you should reall try Shari g and being part of a community for once it's nice and stop siding with the corporation CEO that only do this crap b. there bonus was only 22 million and now will be 25 so hope you join the human race some day but unroll then shut up

Yea. Comcast has a 250GB cap on data. Go over twice in a year and your done, they ban you from using Comcast.
Now that's quite a bit but don't plan on streaming all your video content. I wanted to cut the cord but streaming hulu and Netflix in HD would have been over 300GB a month in my house not including browsing and everything else you use internet for.
Point is data caps and throttling are gonna be the future of all internet. I don't like it but until I can get a few billion to start my own network I'm outta luck.

I am not thrilled about bandwidth caps, however, I am a believer in "few ruining it for the rest" situation (ie. guys torrenting/pirating) terabyte+ of data a month

If you're burning through 300+ GB a month on Hulu and Netflix streaming , assuming your math is in the ballpark, you need to get out of your house more (or stop torrenting). I just streamed a movie from Netflix in HD using my GNexus' tether. According to WiFi tether, it burned through 1.93Gb of data. So at roughly 2 GB per HD movie, you would have to watch 150+ movies in a month (30 days) 5 movies per day, given hour and half (avg) length of a movie, that's 7 and a half hours of TV a day.

If this is indeed your situation, perhaps you should be scrutinizing your social life and/or downloading practices, instead of your internet bill...

A bit of topic, but....just saying.

I doubt you are going to see data caps on all internet. With services like Verizon's Fios and AT&T's Uverse growing, the only place you will see caps emerge is traditional cable companies. These newer services, Fios and Uverse, are using glass tube "wire" to transmit data encrypted on a beam of light. This is capable of sending LOTS of data and incredibly fast speeds. If the cable companies don't want to loose their control, capping internet data would sign their death warrant. I had Fios, and LOVED it. The second either it or Uverse becomes available in my area, I am getting it because it is WAY better than the cable company alternatives.

Actually Cox, another crap provider in my opinion, reserves the right to throttle and sent out emails a couple of months warning of "throttling" as a possibility if you abuse your bandwidth. I can dig up the email but there is now a tool on Cox's website that will allow you to view how much data you are using. "Throttling" or another way to get in my wallet is not going to be limited to your cellphone carrier for long. Sprint! Don't let us down. I can live without my cable company but don't take away my unlimited data.

To late. They already killed unlimited access for hotspots making them useless.

It's just a matter of time until all their cell plans are caped like every other carrier in the States.

The simple fact is it's cheaper to lobby for FCC permission to defraud customers than to expand the and improve their networks.

Sprint CAN and HAS limited and suspended people's service for data usage. I've never had a problem with them but my last month's usage was only 1GB. It's a good piece of mind, but Sprint is a little overpriced and will not have 4G LTE for a while. I left Sprint for AT&T today because the LTE coverage, savings with a family plan on AT&T, and a better looking HTC One X. If it turns out that I end up using 10GB/mo or something crazy stupid then maybe I'll switch back to Sprint in 2 years...By then they likely will have their LTE network up. The way I see it, I might as well give another carrier a shot. Saving money + 4G LTE is just a no brainer as much as I liked Sprint and feel bad that I'm leaving them. I also lost my phone number in the process which sucked. Well, I'll try to port it to Google to hang on to it I guess.

Maybe Because your phone also uses WIFI?

Audio streaming does not rack up that much data.

Its the video that kills the bandwidth. One hour of video can chew up as much data as 5 or 6 hours of streaming music.

I have been DESTROYING my VZW unlimited since I got my Galaxy Nexus. I am at about 6-10GB a month on LTE. If VZW decides to go this way, I will jump straight to Sprint with my whole family plan.

I'm currently running almost 90GB-100GB+ a month on my phone. Looks like I won't be able to do that anymore. Reason why I use that much. Full-time college kid with time for only a near minimum wage job. Don't have the luxury with extra funds to go out and pay for ISP service. Have to use my Atrix 4G for everything I do online.

Load of crap. Sorry. Internet only services from cable company and even AT&T run about 20-30 bucks a month for a year, and even after the agreement, can go about 50. You can't afford 50 a month but I'm 98% sure that your cell phone is over that amount

Does top 5% ring a bell? I love that policy by the way. Slow down the fools who jack up your network!

As much as I hate this (I have been grandfathered in since the first iPhone days) the thing that scared me the most was the potential for overages and $$ stacking up without me checking my usage like every day. At least we won't get dinged with huge overage charges... Have to find some good in this right?

I hate AT&T but it's so easy to buy unlocked GSM phones and hook them up to their network. Was running the Nexus S before it was official on AT&T, unlocked Galaxy S2, now unlocked Galaxy Nexus. I choose AT&T because I get freedom of devices.

Now when the One X comes out, I will probably buy the unlocked GSM version instead of the LTE AT&T version.

I'm sure this is one reason that they're putting it in black and white. Also, that guy got busted for tethering to his iPad. They put him on a limited plan but after he complained he got his unlimited plan reinstated.

Yeah, we read about it, and that is exactly what FINALLY forced this policy change and a clear statement from AT&T. They were looking small claims court in every jurisdiction in the country.

Gone is the 5% high-user group. (Top 5% of users is a sliding scale, as soon as they beat everybody down to 2 gig, they could still say that 1.9 gig fell in the top 5%).

A fixed cap is fairer than an arbitrary sliding window.

The only good thing about a Grandfathered unlimited is no overage fees. That's fine, (but 3gig is still pretty miserly IMHO).

Next up: No more tethering fees. Now that EVERYBODY has a cap there is simply no justification for tethering fees.

There is a 5GB tiered plan out there...I wonder why they didn't give us that extra 2GB...Hell, it might be expensive but at least Big Red has data tiers up to 20GB. Wonder why the all "big and mighty" AT&T only offers up to 5GB before charging us left and right for overages.

I was told today at the AT&T store that the 5GB plan for $50/mo. also allows tethering. No extra fee. I'm on the 3GB for $30/mo. plan...When you think about it, other carriers charge what? $10/mo. + for tethering? I might as well spend the extra $10 for the 5GB plan...But I think I'll try tethering through the debugger for the extremely rare cases when I actually do need to tether.

Actually, I think this is a win for the consumers.

First, granted, 3GB is still low, but at least with conservative usage, I can go a month without getting throttled. Before, normal usage throttled me at 2 weeks.

Second, I actually have an LTE phone, so I get the full 5GB data amount, which I am ecstatic about. I was looking at possibly upgrading to the 5GB plan if I had to leave unlimited, and now I get to save the $15/month extra.

Third, while throttled, I was definitely getting much lower than edge speeds, and now throttling will at least allow users to get something done.

It's not a total win. We should get unlimited like we were promised, but I think this is a good compromise that will enable most of us high-end users who aren't abusing the system to get as much of what we payed for as we are likely to use while helping AT&T to alleviate the strain on their network.

If you are told one thing and you get another, then that is not a compromise. That is you capitulating to the wishes of someone that knows they can take advantage of you.

Very easily. If you own a smartphone, you use data. Data accumulates first in kilobytes, then megabytes, then GIGABYTES. I highly doubt you're using under one gig of data, and if you are, you certainly aren't using your phone to its full potential of access to the web/streaming.

I use the internet a LOT and have managed to stay under 2-3 GB's a month. The only thing I don't do is stream netflix and hulu. My job doesn't allow phones on the floor (most jobs don't unless you work by yourself) and when I'm at home, I have a roku and a PS3 so why squint when I can watch it on a television screen?

I'm with you. My job does allow us to use our cell phones if necessary, and at work I'm hooked up to the WIFI. When I'm at home I'm on my own WIFI, same as my girlfriend's place, my mom's, and so on. I don't stream Hulu or Netflix on the go because I don't pay for them, and I don't like watching it on such a small screen.I only really touch my data when I'm away from work or home. The only time I can really see myself abusing my data is if I'm vacationing in another state and using GPS to help get around, which in the last 2 years has only been once a year.

Some. If you had a certain unlimited Android Data plan, you get uncapped, unthrottled data. I still have one, and will hold on to it for dear life :P

Having said that, I've never had the other T-Mo plan get throttled either. I've racked up well over 10GB at full speed, and suppsedly we get throttled at 5. So it's a YMMV thing.

If people stop pay for plans that are advertised as unlimited and its not unlimited it will do every one some good. You are not getting what you pay for by definition so why pay for it?

What other choice do you have?

Start putting up your own towers?

As Jerry said: "AT&T never promised anyone unlimited "high speed" data".

You still get unlimited, but the speed is going to be throttled. So by definition, its still as unlimited as it ever was.

You can go ahead and stop paying your bill. Watch how fast AT&T (or any carrier) shuts off your service. The only thing you accomplished was having a high bill to pay and zero data. That'll show them.

I have idea why anyone is staying with ATT. If you are sold on unlimited data, then you should get unlimited data...

Please specify one place where you can get totally unlimited data.

(and on, don't jump up and say Sprint).

Clue: It is limited on every carrier in every country in the entire world. There is only so much bandwidth available on a 3g circuit. There is only so much time in a month.

There is not now, and never has been, any such thing as unlimited.

It's a's a's Semantic Man! Yes, you're absolutely right. The amount of time in the universe is limited, so the amount of data one can download is limited. Now go crawl back under your rock.

Submit your BBB complaints now. There's no way the top 5% uses /either/ 3GB or 5GB exactly, and there's no way AT&T knows how much the top 5% uses monthly until the end of each month, and each month it changes! What would entitle an LTE user to get more speed than a 3G user? Where do "4G"-non-LTE users like the Atrix 4G fall under?

This is a pure business practice, and unfair to anyone who needs their bandwidth not throttled.

Reading comprehension 101.

There is no top 5% any more.

There are simply hard 3Gig and 5Gig caps.

Once you exceed the cap, you are throttled to lower speeds for the rest of the month.

Its not that hard to understand.

for those of saying we should stop paying, we should be getting what we signed up for etc, you do realize that when we originally signed with AT&T I guarantee you there was a clause in there somewhere that said they reserve the right to change your plan however they damn well please. I'm sure this goes for everybody else as well T-Mobile, Sprint etc.

Correct me if I'm wrong; as I understood the article, when you reach the 3GB (or 5GB LTE) limit, your data speed will be reduced. However, you can still use all data you want, but at a lower speed and without additional charges.

Uh is that a death star from Star Wars draped with the AT&T logo? I thought Verizon was the licensed 'Droid' company. The nerd in me thinks that's funny.

I see all carriers going to something like this, it's wrong in my opinion, but in order for their networks to handle all of the data they have to do something to "limit" the users. It's kinda like that new highway that the state built, 6 lanes of traffic going both directions; that will make traffic soooo much better. Fast forward 3 years, we need to put some toll booths up so we can pay for more roads to ease traffic....It'll get worse before it gets better.

The other thing I'm not buying is this whole "the spectrum is limited" line.

Several recent articles suggest there is no real spectrum shortage and that none of the carriers are using all the spectrum they licensed. They have big reserves they are holding back.

Of course they do. Remember when cell phones initially became something that everyone could afford, it was about the carriers charging us for how many minutes we talked on the phone. Now they could really care less how long you talk on the phone, it's not like they are selling something tangible, it's airtime... Same thing goes for data, it's not like they are gonna run out of data, or bandwidth. But they have to tell the consumer something in order to raise rates and limit capability.

The spectrum is limited, if you happen to live in Southern California try and make a cell phone call immediatly after an earthquake, the "Pipes" are full

I think people that stream to a phone are out of there minds. I mean I used 1 GB of data Max one month. Most of the time my data usage s below 500 MB. They should block Netflix and have a bandwidth cap on video instead. Everyone should have a fair share but something needs to be done. Idk what else to really say other then have a speed cap per phone for a short time period. Kinda like a backwards Power Boost Comcast used to promote

Not really its what you do with your phone. I've got a Atrix 4G (First gen) that I check email, watch a few vids, do some tethering, and yet my monthly data rarely exceeds 1 gig. I just got my ATT bill and last month I used a grand total of 270MB. I also work in field service so it's not like I'm setting at a desk all day on a WiFi connection.

I wonder if they will offer a truly unlimited plan - unlimited data and speeds.... I could see it for ~$199.99/month, especially as more and more data starts to live in the cloud... Not that I would pay that much, but I know there are those out there that would.

So how fast is Edge? That remark makes me think it is faster than 1.0Mbps since my 3G speeds on Sprint are roughly 1.0-1.3Mbps. If that's true I don't understand why people complain about Edge. For web browsing it would be fine and even Youtube can play without stuttering at that speed.

I would say it depends on the phone because last year I had an unlocked mytouch 4g and was using it on AT&T and it was horrible I could barely open the app market and pic messages would continuously fail but when I had a nexus S and would use edge it wasnt as bad but still slow

I'm not happy about throttling at any point, but at least there is a clear threshold now. Comcast went through a similar period where they wouldn't tell their customers what the threshold was on "unlimited" Internet use. Finally, they changed policy and told people, no it's not unlimited and gave a clear threshold. I still can't understand why they don't do this in first place. Sure maybe only a small percentage of users are on the high end of the data usage bell curve, but its still going to be bad PR when normal users hear about other users having their service arbitrarily and unexpectedly cut. I'm thinking, what if I have a month where I have unusually high data usage, and what can I expect? At least now we know with the new policy no matter how unsavory.

You guys are actually complaining about capped speeds? At least if you go over you'd still get connection without them charging you. Try coming north into Canada and experience data with Rogers, Bell or Telus. Going over your cap, they'll be more than happy to charge you overage fees of $2 - 5/MB.

Right now I'm with the regional carrier Mobilicity and they have "unlimited data" with a 5 GB speed cap, and that's already considered a god send. Quit your whining, you guys are having it good when it comes to wireless mobile services in the States.

To be honest, most people don't even go over 2 GB of data, so seriously, do you really need more than that? I know my average is about 1 GB and I do a lot of data, only thing I don't do is stream videos.

What people also need to realize is that 3 GB per month isn't all that much if you are a user who likes to watch movies on your phone.

If you did the math and broke 3 GB down into a 30 day period thats 100 MB per day.

That may seem like alot if you are browsing the web or checking email, but what if you are using Netflix?

This user wanted to know how much data they were using and monitored it for only 1/2 an hour. Here were the results...

Video was played continuously over the course of 31:36 minutes.

Netflix data usage results:

Sent: 3.2 MB
Received: 140 MB

Total: 143.2 MB

Thus, if they were to watch the full 1h 30m movie they would have used more than 3 days worth of the 100 MB limit. So if you watch only 2 movies per week you will definitely by over your limit and get your service throttled. This doesn't sound like a very nice service. ATT can make all the excuses they want, the bottom line is this is poor quality of service, and is an insult to its customers if they think they won't mind the change.

"Edge speeds are often faster than 3G speeds on that "true unlimited" network"

u definitely got that right. what a joke

Is 5% of user really hurting the network? Or is it they just wanna stick it to the users! Its like giving me unlimited phone minutes and but if I talk to much, they start reducing call quality or dropping my calls on purpose!

I have a suggestion.. Why dont carriers come out with a plan like at&t's rollover mins.. Allow people to keep the data they paid for and let it roll over month to month.... Its your data why not keep it..

Almost a year ago I had to call ATT for some reason and I asked the operator if they take suggestions to improve service. She said yes so I asked for this specific thing. I'd love to have data rollover like I have with my voice mins. Currently I have over 2k in roll over mins so I never worry about going over. For me this would work great for data so in a month where I've had a heavy month then I wouldn't have to worry about it.

I'm glad they implemented this. Why do people think they deserve a better deal than everyone else? You pay $30, you get 3gigs just like everyone else. Get over it. I buy my gas at the same store every day, but you don't hear me telling the attendant that I should only pay $1.50 a gallon because thats how much it cost when I started coming in.

I love those that are bashing and say "I'll be jumping to sprint!". If you do that, I hope you live in an area with good sprint speeds. I just left Sprint for AT&T. Why? Sprints great unlimited data was slow. Painfully slow. Opening a web page was downright brutal at times. So if you're looking to switch... Be forewarned. Because while Sprints unlimited data is an option.. It isn't a great one.

I think this is an improvement on the way they had been doing it. The previous method was so arbitrary that people in rural areas were getting throttled below 1GB. At least now the unlimited and tiered plans will both get 3GB of full speed data for the same price. So if you don't want EDGE for no additional cost over 3GB, you can switch to the tiered plan and pay an extra $10 per GB.

Also AT&T found a way to get people to pay for speeds and data next they will get use to pay more for services unfortunately.

Don't like call your congress people and try to talk to the FCC and FTC

I downloaded two gameloft games the other day it was over 2gb alone yes I use wifi at home but when Im at work or on the road my phone is my net real easy to rack up 10 plus gb a month. I have the Sprint unlimited data plan

If you're not paying any overage charges regardless of what speed your getting then that's unlimited data. Speeds aren't promised and I agree that phones nowadays and their potential are the reasons why we see carriers clamping down on data. These networks cost mega money we can't expect to run up 100gb of data tethering, streaming video and downloading and have millions of other people doing the same. It is what it is. I'm on Verizon my 4G phone is unlimited I average 1.3gb of data also have a 4G tablet with 2gb cap w/overage charges afterwards and only once have I actually reached 1.9gb. Although the peace of mind of having a tab unlimited data would be nice, my data usage works out for me. It's those like mentioned above that they want to stop. The 50-100gb users

Imagine going to a Toyota dealer and leasing a Camry because they offer "unlimited mileage". You pay a little more than a regular lease, but hey, you are getting "unlimited mileage".... so you drive to the kids to school.... next thing you know, October rolls around and you turn the corner on your way to work and the car slows down to 15 miles per hour. You take it to the dealer, and they tell you nothing is wrong.... you see you can drive an "unlimited" amount of miles per year, but once you pass the standard 12000 miles that all the regular leases usually max at, you have to drive 15 miles per hour until the start of the next year. Hope you weren't planning a family outing for Christmas.


If enough people switch to Sprint and start clogging up their network, we'll see if they don't start throttling just like every other major carrier.

Im on vzw and I use about 10 Gbs a month on my phone (bionic).
I spend a good 6 hours at wrk then another 6 hrs st school so all day I am streaming music, every now and then ill listen to my own music. I also stream my tv to my when when I have some down time during my day. There is another spectrum that the cell phone providers can use in order to strengthen their network however they would need to purchase it from individual companies.

There is a logic I am unable to understand:

Why offer high speed data and then aggressive capping?

I have seen over and over (not only with cellular service) and it is very illogical.

Simple logic says that high speed data is good for video streaming. For e-mail and Internet, a standard 3G connection is fully sufficient (and Opera Mini can even make a 2G/GPRS/EDGE connection acceptable through its compression). LTE speeds is certainly way too fast for browsing and e-mail, which is what the carriers limits it to with caps like 2-5 GB of LTE data.

I would say that 10 GB is the lower limit for practical LTE use - that would enable some movie streaming too. I would say that a data cap should enable 10 movies per month at least (Netflix et al). Having 2-5 GB of LTE data is basically non use - checking e-mail and browsing the Internet can be accomplished with slower connections without any problems.

Selling 2-5 GB LTE is like selling a car that will either slow down to 10 miles/hour or cost you 10 dollar/mile "overage" after 20-50 miles driving with normal speeds.

The argument "but the network capacity is limited" is not valid. If the networks are unable to support decent LTE service, then they has to be expanded and the capacity has to increase. Otherwise, there's not much use with LTE at all. It's also a huge contradiction: offer high speed data BUT "please don't use it for services where it is logical because our network can't handle it!"

I.e: here you have your LTE connection. It offers you 20 Mbit/s and more BUT please just check your mails, browse the Internet a while (preferably with Opera Mini) because you have only 2-5 GB to play with. Don't stream video, don't TETHER(!!!) - those things abuses the network!

No, carriers: time to implement reasonable caps. 10 GB minimum. For those "who don't use data" - offer slower connection with lower speeds. Don't ever try to argue that "I want LTE speeds for my e-mail, why should I have slow connection for my e-mail!" because that is completely against logic.

What I personally don't understand, is that carriers are pushing video streaming services (blockbuster, netflix, hulu, redbox etc...) down our throats. They put them as bloatware on our devices encouraging us to buy and use them but then you can't even use it more than a few times per month unless you use with WiFi.

If your a Verizon customer they have a Data Calculator that tells you how much data you need to do certain things. Just for fun, I put 4G video streaming at 1 hr per day everyday for a month and it comes to about 10G that you would use in that monthly period. This is not including audio, email, gaming etc...)

So most movies have a run time of about 90 min. If you watch one movie per week that would consume approximately 2.5GB of data per week just streaming video. So getting a tiered plan at 2GB per month is not going to work. If AT&T wants to put a 3GB cap then why do they push customers to use their video streaming services. Also take into account that each movie you watch is going to cost you as well. If you don't have WiFi available and you want to use your phone to watch a few movies per month, then you will surely go over 3,4,5 GB's per month by the second movie not including everything else you want to do on your phone.

I think it another way to get companies to take your money and keep you trapped by their 2 yr agreements.

Your math is a little off. 1 hour a day = 7 hours a week = 2.5GB. So 90 minutes a week would be about .5GB

Hey I do not care if one uses 1 g per month or if others use 20 g what I paid is for unlimited Internet is all I want..... What will happen when we drive cars have computers installed. pandora netflix from factory as some have them .... Refrigerators, the tv would serve you to have it if you could not use as you like fools.

IMHO, the fundamental flaw in the "Use Wi-Fi when possible" position statement is that - possibly by design - free Wi-Fi isn't plentiful nor universally available. I say, possibly by design, because if Wi-Fi were easily accessible we wouldn't have such a pressing need for 3G data solutions and therefore the "data throttling" issue might not be an issue at all. So to what degree have the wireless carriers lobbied against free public Wi-Fi in order to be able to pigeon-hole us into paying for their overpriced and under-performing data networks?

My wi-fi usage is limited to my home and places like McDonalds and coffee shops, save that random unprotected network I run across from time-to-time. Even though I have the password for our work Wi-Fi, I am cautious not to use it unnecessarily since we aren't supposed to use work resources for personal activities. I also don't want my employer having access to my device and its contents once it's on their network.

People forget when unlimited data plans began most devices were visiting WAP sites on EDGE or EVDO Rev. 0. No streaming video or music like today. Carriers need to phase out "unlimited" data plans replace them with a variety of tiered data plans.

Let's look at it from AT&T's point for a moment. If you have a tiered plan you know how much you use and you pay for any "Overage". If you have an unlimited plan under the new rules you will be aware of how much you use and be slightly slowed down if you go over the same limits. If you have a completely unlimited plan you will not care how much you use and will keep escalating. I just read that AT&T wireless data usage went up 20,000% in the last 6 years. No amount of infrastructure investment can sustain that kind of gowth with the current limited spectrum issues the US has. So if you are at least aware of what you are using, even if you are not willing to pay for it, they have a shot at providing access for all

I love how people are up in arms about something they bought over a year ago, and is not sold anymore. You can argue about it all you want, but the simple fact is your product is NO LONGER AVAILABLE! ATT does not offer this package anymore. You can not go to the store and buy this package anymore. Things change...get over it. Why don't you waste your time complaining about something useful like the price of fuel.

Great graphic.

"From here, you will witness the final destruction of the Alliance and the end of your insignificant rebellion. "

The problem is its a bait n switch. Hey come check out our badass network....but do not under any circumstance try to use it for any of the stuff we say it is capable of on our tv commercial. Its all bullshit.

It's tough business decision, but what's the alternative? Let the growing # of heavier data users choke the networks and sacrifice the quality of service for everyone else?

Perhaps the networks should be expanded to handle the data use?

It is illogical to push LTE and streaming services - and then throttle and limit the data to unusable levels.

Another option I have seen with some European carriers is to let the included streaming services NOT be deducted from your data plan. I.e:

When you sign up and pays for the Netflix et al, unlimited "Netflix traffic" is included and you can stream 10 GB for example over the LTE connection even if your "mail/web" plan is 2 GB.

Spotify Premium is another service that can be offered that way: buy it and enjoy unlimited streaming without affecting your data plan.

This way, tiered plans can be acceptable since the services that needs LTE speeds can be used properly. If the networks is claimed to be under dimensioned for this load, then expand them.

The future lies in wireless data and the development has to go forward, not backward.

Is it possible to expand the network? Sure, but with the way people are they will just end up abusing that too. Like the saying goes, "Give someone an inch, they'll take a mile."

"To late. They already killed unlimited access for hotspots making them useless.

It's just a matter of time until all their cell plans are caped like every other carrier in the States.

The simple fact is it's cheaper to lobby for FCC permission to defraud customers than to expand the and improve their networks."

Expand there networks to where? The wireless spectrum is a finite resource eventually wireless carriers are going to hit a wall and will be unable to expand there network. It's easy to sit back and just say EXPAND YOUR NETWORK! It's another to find spectrum to expand to.

You can't expand what you don't have to expand to.

It is very strange and illogical to roll out LTE when the capacity to use it properly is lacking.

Wireless spectrum can be increased by different means including the use of European frequencies but is obviously something for the relevant authorities. But technically, it can be done.

Having a high speed connection that can't be used for services requiring it is meaningless. 2-5 GB LTE is simply not enough for those services that can use it.

The carriers could also work harder when it comes to WiFi solutions in order to reduce the reliance on mobile data. This includes more free WiFi hotspots or increased inclusion of WiFi connectivity in the data plans.

Regardless: building a high speed wireless network that is under dimensioned and unable to handle the loads is basically a waste of money. If the network are unable to handle more than 2-5 GB per month per user, then a slower system is enough.

LTE is needed for video streaming etc, not for checking your e-mails, browse the web or updating the weather (which is what 2 GB is enough for).

If there's no spectrum for proper high speed data, don't build the network at all or use LTE for pure standardization (of devices in order to have ONE device that fits all carriers) and keep the data speeds down. There's simply no reason to have 2 GB of 40 Mbit/s data since the limit makes it useless (you can do the same things with 2 GB of 2 Mbit/s data).

Apps, Software & Media
Network Optimization
You rely on our high quality wireless communications service and we strive to continually provide it for you.

Ensuring Reliability. Our 3G network is the largest, most reliable high-speed wireless data network in the country. With tens of millions of customers, it’s our responsibility to upgrade and improve our network, services and practices, so you can continue to trust the network. With this in mind, we’ve implemented new Network Optimization practices that will affect a very small percentage of customers.

Optimizing Our Network. Our Network Optimization practices ensure that you can count on the reliable network you expect. To optimize our network, we manage data connection speeds for a small subset of customers – the top 5% of data users with 3G devices on unlimited data plans – and only in places and at times of 3G network congestion. This ensures that all customers have the best data experience possible.

Implementing Change. 95% of our data customers will not see any change in service. You’ll continue surfing the Web, downloading music, uploading pictures and sending emails just as you always have. The highest data users, the top 5% with 3G devices on unlimited data plans, may experience managed data speeds when connected to a congested 3G cell site after reaching certain data-usage levels in a bill cycle. High data users will feel the smallest possible impact and only experience reduced data speeds when necessary for us to optimize data network traffic in that area.

Helpful Tools to Manage Your Wireless Data Experience.

My Verizon and My Verizon Mobile – Monitor data usage in real-time by logging on to My Verizon from a computer or My Verizon Mobile from your device. My Verizon also lets you analyze the amount of wireless data used by each line on your account. Simply “Run Account Analysis” in My Verizon and then click on “Data Usage” for a breakdown.
Data Usage Calculator – Do you stream music? Surf the web? Upload photos? How much data do you use, and how much do you want to use? The data usage calculator breaks down the common features and activities so you can easily estimate how much data you might use each month.
Data Usage Widget – Download our Data Usage Widget, available on most Android™ smartphones, for a quick way to track wireless use during each billing cycle with just a glance at your phone screen. The widget can also connect you to My Verizon with one click. Similar widgets are available on most BlackBerry® phones.
#DATA – Check data use by dialing #DATA and pressing send from your Verizon Wireless phone and you’ll get a free text message with data information. While this tool will not show up-to-the-minute data use, it is a great way to quickly check your general data use amounts while on the go. For real-time data use information, go to My Verizon.
How To Track and Manage Your Wireless Data.

In addition to the tools and widgets, this video guide can help you manage your own wireless use.

"It’s Easy To Track Your Wireless Usage” Here’s a quick explanation of how to easily check and monitor your wireless use. Our store and customer service reps give the low-down on easy shortcuts you can use to check data, text and minute use, and account balances from your Verizon Wireless phone.

ANSWERS: Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you implementing Network Optimization?
We are well known for our wireless networks and we are dedicated to ensuring that our customers have the best wireless experience possible. Our network is a shared resource with tens of millions of customers. We are implementing Network Optimization practices to ensure that all of our customers have the positive experience they expect.

Will I be affected by Network Optimization?
Only a small percent of customers will be affected. To be affected, you must be:

A data customer on an unlimited data plan;
Have a 3G Verizon Wireless device (if you have a 4G LTE device you will not be impacted); and
Among the top 5% of data users in a given month.
Then, you will only be affected:

When you are on the 3G network; and
When you are connected to a congested cell site.
What about the other 95% of data customers?
There will be no change. The overwhelming majority of our data customers, 95%, will not be impacted at all. The relatively high data consumption of just a small portion of data users could cause congestion for the rest of users, so we’re making this improvement to ensure that everyone continues to experience the nation’s best, most reliable network.

Is this the same as throttling?
No, this is not throttling.

How is this different than throttling?
The difference between our Network Optimization practices and throttling is network intelligence. With throttling, your wireless data speed is reduced for your entire cycle, 100% of the time, no matter where you are. Network Optimization is based on the theory that all customers should have the best network possible, and if you’re not causing congestion for others, even if you are using a high amount of data, your connection speed should be as good as possible. So, if you’re in the top 5% of data users, your speed is reduced only when you are connected to a congested cell site. Once you are no longer connected to a congested site, your speed will return to normal. This could mean a matter of seconds or hours, depending on your location and time of day.

When will you begin Network Optimization?
We plan to begin implementing our Network Optimization program in September 2011, though it may take several weeks to fully implement the practice.

How will I know if I’m in the top 5% of data users?
As of August 2011, the top 5% of data users were using 2 GB or more of data each month.

How do I know if I will be impacted by Network Optimization?
A good rule of thumb as of September 2011 is this: If you’re on an unlimited data plan, have a 3G device and are using more than 2 GB of data in a month, you’re in the top 5% of data users and will be impacted by Network Optimization when you’re connected to congested 3G cell sites.

Starting at the end of August 2011, if you are on an unlimited plan, are a high data user and had a contract prior to February 3, 2011, we’ll notify you through bill messages and on your My Verizon account if you may be affected.

How long will 2GB of data be the threshold?
We will update this number as the amount of data used by our customers changes over time. At that time, we will also update information on this website.

How do I know if I’m likely to reach 2 GB of data in a month?
2 GB is a lot of action on your little smartphone - here are two examples of what you can do with less than 2 GB of data on your phone in a month:

Send 7,500 emails; visit 750 web pages; stream 150 minutes of music, 1 hour of high-resolution video and 5 hours of low-resolution video; and upload 60 photos.
Send 7,500 emails; visit 150 web pages; stream 150 minutes of music, 1 hour of high-resolution video and 5 hours of low-resolution video; and upload 300 photos.
To view your data use, log on to your My Verizon account.

How does this relate to the announcement you made in February about data optimization and data management?
By alerting customers in February 2011, and including the notice in our terms and conditions as of February 3, 2011, we made sure customers knew we began reserving the right to implement Network Optimization practices. In February 2011, we began alerting customers:

Data Management – (note: now named “Network Optimization” to more accurately describe the tools) - Verizon Wireless may reduce data throughput speeds in a given bill cycle for customers who use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of data users. The reduction will only apply to those using congested cell sites and can last for the remainder of the current and immediately following billing cycle. The reductions will only apply when appropriate in locations and at times of peak demand.
Data Optimization – (note: now named “Video Optimization” to more accurately describe its function) - Verizon Wireless is implementing optimization and transcoding technologies in its network to transmit data files in a more efficient manner to allow available network capacity to benefit the greatest number of users, and although unlikely, the process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on the mobile device.
Haven’t you already begun implementing the Video Optimization policy that you announced in February?
Yes. We began implementing video optimization in February 2011 in a number of markets, and we will continue to do so.

How will I be informed about changes associated with Network Optimization?
We updated our Terms & Conditions on February 3, 2011. If you signed a contract on or after February 3, 2011 the new Terms & Conditions were included in that contract. Starting at the end of August 2011, if you are on an unlimited plan and had a contract prior to February 3, 2011, we’ll notify you through bill messages and on your My Verizon account if you may be affected.

What is the message that will appear on my bill?
If you are on an unlimited plan, using a 3G smartphone, in the top 5% of data users and have a contract prior to February 3, 2011, the following message will appear on your monthly Verizon Wireless bill or on your My Verizon account to notify you that you may be affected:

Information Regarding Data Usage
Verizon Wireless strives to provide its customers with the best experience when using our network, a shared resource among tens of millions of customers. To further this objective, Verizon Wireless is implementing Network Optimization Practices designed to ensure that the overwhelming majority of data customers aren’t negatively impacted by the inordinate data consumption of a few users. Network Optimization is based on the practice that if a cell site is not congested, your connection speed will not be impacted. If you’re in the top five percent of data users, you may experience a reduction in your average data speeds only when you are connected to a congested cell site. You may experience this for the remainder of your then current bill cycle and immediately following bill cycle. This can help ensure high quality network performance for our entire customer base. For more information, please see

I’m a small business customer, will this affect me?
Anyone on an unlimited data plan, with a 3G device and in the top 5% of data users is subject to Network Optimization practices when connected to congested 3G cell sites. If you think this will impact your business, contact your sales representative or go into your local Verizon Wireless Communications Store to discuss other service plans to meet your needs.

Does Network Optimization apply to customers using 4G services?
No. We reserve the right to include 4G LTE users later, but right now this only applies to the top 5% of users with unlimited data plans using 3G devices. If you have a 4G LTE device you will not be affected at this time.

Does this affect my calling? Texting? Email? Video? Web browsing? Music streaming?
This will not affect your texting or voice calls. Music and video streaming, Web browsing and email are subject to Network Optimization, however this will mainly impact streaming as that requires the most data.

Will I receive a notice now if my data speed is going to be reduced?
If you are a high data user, on an unlimited data plan, have a 3G device and you were on a contract prior to February 3, 2011, you will be alerted on your monthly bill or My Verizon home screen that you may fall into the top 5% of data users. If you meet these criteria, you will be impacted only when connected to congested cell sites. If you are on an unlimited data plan and have a 3G device but use less than 2 GB of data, you may be notified of the new policy via you monthly bill or My Verizon home screen. This is to ensure you are fully aware of this policy should your data use increase in the future.

Once my data speed is reduced, am I going to be under Network Optimization forever?
No. You will be subject to Network Optimization for that billing cycle and the following cycle. When subject to Network Optimization you will only be affected when connected to a congested cell site. Otherwise, your data will operate as normal.

Can my data speed be reduced more than once? Can it be done consecutively?
Yes, if you are consistently in the top 5%, on an unlimited data plan and have a 3G device you will continue to be subject to Network Optimization when connected to congested 3G cell sites.

Is there a way for me to avoid the possibility of having my data speed reduced?
If you’re on an unlimited data plan with a 3G device and are concerned that you are in the top 5% of data users, you can switch to a usage-based data plan as customers on usage-based plans are not impacted. Information on our usage-based data plans can be found at

You may also switch to a 4G LTE device, as only 3G deviced on unlimited data plans can be affected.

How slow should I expect my phone to function?
Because this process is in place to ensure the best service to our customers, the speed will vary at any given time. It will depend on how many users are on the same site at that time and what data applications are being used on that site at that time.

What can I do to manage my own wireless experience?
We offer many tools to help you keep track of your wireless use.

My Verizon and My Verizon Mobile – Monitor data usage in real-time by logging on to My Verizon from a computer or My Verizon Mobile from your mobile handset.
Data Usage Calculator –The data calculator breaks down common features and activities that use data so you can quickly and easily estimate how much data you use each month.
Data Usage Widget – Download our Data Usage Widget, available on most Android™ smartphones, for a quick way to track wireless use during your billing cycle with just a glance at the phone screen. Similar widgets are available for most BlackBerry® phones as well.
#DATA – Check data use by dialing #DATA and pressing send from your Verizon Wireless phone to receive a free text message with data information. While this tool will not show up-to-the-minute data use, it is a great way to quickly check your general wireless use while on the go.
If I have an unlimited data plan is there a way for me to set alerts so I know when I’ve reached certain data thresholds, such as 1 GB, 1.5 GB, etc.?
Currently we do not have that option, but we are looking into a variety of potential new tools to help customers manage their own wireless data use.

Is there a way I can tell which cell sites are congested?
There is no way for you to easily determine that today. There are many variables that can contribute to a cell site being congested including, but not limited to, the number of active users and the type of applications being used on that site. While we work to ensure we have the most reliable network for every location, these variables combined with other environmental factors determine whether or not a particular cell site reaches the limits of its capacity and becomes congested at any particular time.

If my data speed is reduced will there be compensation or a credit to my bill?
No. You will still receive unlimited data use, so there is no compensation for reduced data speeds.

Does the data used when tethering count toward my total data use?
No. Tethering requires you to have a usage-based data plan specifically for tethering, to reflect higher expected usage levels when you use your phone as a modem to connect laptops and other devices to the network. Therefore, data used when tethering will not count toward your other device’s data plan.

For additional questions, please visit your local Verizon Wireless Communications Store or call customer service at 1-800-922-0204.

Explanation of Network Optimization Deployment

Beginning in September 2011, Verizon Wireless will begin using Inter-User Best Effort (IUBE) network optimization technology in its network facilities. This tool will help Verizon Wireless provide the highest quality wireless service to the largest number of customers through network management practices. To achieve this goal, IUBE will only manage the data traffic of Verizon subscribers in the top five% of data users using a disproportionate amount of network resources. IUBE will only reduce data speeds of these users’ during times of actual overload or congestion at a particular cell sector. IUBE will only reduce data speeds of these users during times of actual overload or congestion at a particular cell site. IUBE manages data traffic without any identification, consideration or discrimination of any particular end-user application or content.

Congestion occurs in a site when all available network resources are allocated to connected users. The cell sites use queuing to hold data from all users until the congestion event subsides. Congestion is a condition that can stop and start over a very short time (measured in seconds or fractions of seconds).

IUBE capability allows users to be placed into various user categories; each assigned a priority for resource allocation. Verizon Wireless is deploying IUBE with two categories. The two inter-user priority categories are specified as: Category 0 and Category 1. Category 0 shall be for the top 5% “high usage” customers and will be set to receive a smaller proportion of the resource as users in class 1 during congested periods of a cell site sector. Category 1 shall be the default class for typical use.

When deployed, IUBE will have the following effect in the network:
When a user is operating in a sector where there is no congestion, there is no effect on the user experience, even if that user happens to be in the top 5% of data users. All users receive the same allocation of resources that they would if there were no differentiation of best-effort categories

When a user is operating in a sector where there is congestion, users from each category are assigned resources proportionately, with users in category 0 receiving the lowest allocation. The exact proportions are selectable in powers of 2 (e.g., users in category 1 could get ½ of the resources assigned to users in category 2, users in category 2 could get ½ of the resources of users in category 3).
The actual “resource” being allocated is forward link timeslots. Because RF conditions determine the actual amount of data that can be transmitted in each timeslot, we cannot state an exact proportionate relationship in the data speeds each user will actually receive. However, if the average of all users operating in a congested sector is considered, it is likely that an average user in category 0 will receive lower data speeds than an average user in category 1, roughly proportionate to the ratio defined. In reality, less differentiation is observed on data speeds among user categories.
Explanation of Video Optimization Deployment

Verizon Wireless video optimization technology in parts of its 3G mobile broadband network. This network management technology is designed to transmit data more efficiently, ease capacity burdens on the network, primarily from video files, and improve the user experience with faster downloads and decreased Internet latency.

Video optimization benefits both the user and the network by enabling better online video browsing. By downloading only the necessary amount of data—video optimization enhances the video download experience while making room for other users to enjoy higher browsing speeds. Although much effort is made to avoid changing the file during optimization, the process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on a device, though changes to the file are not likely to be noticeable.

The optimization techniques are applied to all content files coming from the Internet Port 80 that use the most common compression formats. The form and extent of optimization depends on the compression format of the content file, but does not depend on the content of the file, the originating web site, or the user’s device. No distinction in the application of these techniques is made based on the source website or originator of the content. The system optimizes files based strictly on the type of file and the relevant file formats (recognizing that some file types are not modified). Accordingly, all content, including Verizon Wireless branded content, of the same type will be subject to the same process.

Why Optimization? Delivering content files requested by an end user over the Internet always imposes some burden on the delivery network in terms of size of the file as well as the distance the file components must travel between the source and end user. These factors also directly affect the user experience in downloading the file.

When the network uses techniques to “optimize” or streamline content files the burden on the network can be lessened and both the speed and efficiency of delivery to the end user can be improved. For example, the size of the file can be compressed by removing pieces of information that are not usable by the end user’s mobile device, or that are not noticeable to the user. Caching the file for subsequent requests can also reduce the time needed for delivery to end users. Such network management techniques improve the user experience without noticeable impact on the content itself.

How Optimization Works. All HTTP (Port 80, i.e., World Wide Web) traffic is directed to the optimization process. The direction of traffic to the optimization process is established when the user starts an HTTP data session before any requests for content from a specific web site have been made. Content files are never selected for optimization based on the nature of the web content itself or the source or provider of the file. All files delivered over Port 80, regardless of source, are directed to the optimization process. The system captures all Verizon Wireless branded web content delivered from its web servers, and treats it the same way as content from non-Verizon Wireless sites.

Content files made available on the World Wide Web come in a variety of types (web pages, text, image, video) and formats. The process uses several optimization techniques that depend on the specific type of content file. Specifically, text files are compressed without any loss of information (“lossless”) and cached for subsequent end user requests. Image files (PNG, JPEG, GIF formats, for example) are streamlined to remove colors or other data bits that would not be visible to the human eye, or to end users on a mobile device with limited display resolutions, thereby decreasing the size of the file, and also cached. The output image file reflects “lossy” optimization because some data bits from the original file are lost in the optimization process.

Video Optimization. Video files represent a substantial and growing segment of web traffic, and also come in a variety of formats. Optimization only captures recorded video files and does not affect live streaming video, e.g., a video conference call. Several optimization techniques are applied to video files: transcoding, caching, and buffer tuning. All are agnostic as to the source or content of the video.

Transcoding. When preparing a video file for posting on a web site, the video originator must select a codec (compression/decompression format) for the file. All codecs are “lossy” to some degree in the compression process in that they reduce the quality of the original video. But, some codecs are more efficient than others. The Optimization transcodes video files from their source codecs to a more efficient codec, H.264. If the requesting device cannot decode an H.264 file, the file is delivered in the input codec. Also, if the input file codec is H.264, there will be little or no effect on the file from the processes described below.

The goal of this optimization process is to reduce the content file size while maintaining very similar video quality. Re-quantization levels, that is, the size of the output file, are defined by the output video bit rate settings (based on a percentage from the original). The loss of information from the input file may result in reduced color accuracy and sharpness of the output video. These effects are offset with optimized de-blocking and smoothing algorithms to retain good perceptual visual quality (as measured by objective video quality tools discussed below). In addition, videos are sent with variable bit rate (VBR), which provides more consistent quality at the same bit rate.

Optimization processes can range in how aggressively they pursue content file savings. Verizon Wireless is using the Video Quality Measurement (VQM) tool to set the amount of reduction in a video file size. VQM is a standardized method of objectively measuring video quality that closely predicts the subjective quality ratings that would be obtained from a panel of human viewers. Although the tool is free, the technology is covered by four U.S. patents owned by NTIA/ITS. The compression settings utilized equate to a .4-.6 score on the VQM scale, which is considered an “unnoticeable” change.

Caching. When a video file is detected from the Internet stream, the system decodes the first few frames (8 KB) of the video. Based on those frames, the system attempts to locate the video file in its video cache, and, if the file is not in the cache, it copies the video file, catalogs, optimizes and places it into the video cache. (The system needs to look at the first few frames for the cataloging process because the same video may come to the network from different sources and would have different URLs and headers; so, the header information is insufficient to identify multiple copies of the same video.) The caching process is the same regardless of the source or content of the video.

When a requested video is not in cache initially, the input video file is sent on to the requesting device. When the system finds the video in its cache, then the flow from the Internet stops, and the video is replaced with file from the cache. The video cache will retain the video, until the staleness filter flushes it from cache. The video cache has a finite volume so it will regularly flush unused videos.

Buffer Tuning. The third video optimization technique is used in delivery to end users. Whenever the video is requested, it is delivered on a "just in time" basis. That is, rather than the entire file being downloaded when requested, the video is downloaded on an as needed basis. A sufficient amount of video would be delivered to fill the user’s buffer to start viewing, and the remainder would be delivered as needed in time for the viewer to see it without interrupting the flow, calculating the video bit-rate and the actual bandwidth available. This progressive download achieves significant network savings if the viewer chooses not to view the entire video, and it conserves data usage that would count toward the end users’ data allowance, and may result in savings if the end user is on a pay-for-usage plan. As with caching, the buffer process is the same regardless of the source or content of the video.

These video optimization techniques generally reduce the time for a video to start and eliminate external network fluctuations that sometimes cause videos to stall. They also speed up the time for the video to pick up when jumping forward in the video. The cache responds to the video request much faster than a remote location. Because each video player needs to accumulate a certain amount of video seconds, the “buffer”, before the video actually starts playing, a smaller video will use the same amount of seconds to transmit less data as the original video, and, when delivered at the same speed, will result in faster buffer accumulation and therefore a faster start. The end result is a much smoother video that starts faster.

I use my phone a lot.. I still use about 1.2 GB a month..
Why stream on your phone? It is pointless. I own a computer as well. Phone is for internet, Facebook, apps, etc.

The worst part about all this is that the everyday user is a victim of corporate greed. there is no one to protect us, and a lack of sufficient competition to level the playing field.

It is like the SMS rip-off. SMS costs the carrier NOTHING! The small messages are sent in packets between other packet information. Yet, they charge the consumer for these.

There are better ways to do data streaming, with different antennas, but the carriers have too much invested in old tech to jump to a new system. is beyond me why consumers defend these mega corporations, whom do not have your best interest in mind.

I am employed at one of the big three. 4g will cost us less to use than 3g. So why are we now discussing throttling and usage caps? Because not enough outrage occurred when AT&T did this years back. If everyone on AT&T came over to sprint and or Verizon for their unlimited data, this conversation would never have started at other carriers.

Consumers allow, yea some consumers even defend, companies profit taking to their own detriment. Remember when Verizon tried that Bill fee, people made noise and it went away.

Text messing is an EXCELLENT example that I'm glad you brought up. If you want to lay back and take it, they will all give it to you. I can't stop it...but WE can......just let me get a new job first.

Here is the real reason people with unlimited data are right. When they bought there plans ( unlimited) they probably never used 5g a month well now phones use a whole lot more but no one was complaint when we paid 30 a month and used very little now that the lye is fast and more can be done on a smart phone why should I not be allowed to use what I've paid for for all these years with no complaints. Not that my phone isn't fast enough to use 5g a month not that the network was slow and limited nope just paid the bill and went on now that the phone has caught up with the users wants you all of a sudden pull the rug out and say thank you for being a loyal customer but you were gambling 5 years ago when you chose to keep unlimited and you won but we are not paying. It is wrong it is cheap it is as classless an act I've seen a large corporation do in my life they nickel and dime us already and for any of you that don't have united sorry you didn't take a chance years ago and now only get a few gig a month but stop hating on those that deserve to use as much data as that wish and 5 percent of users. Are unlimited well that network must suck if 5 % can drag down the speed for the other 95% get over it AT&T sucks they are crooks and liars and are so dumb that is you have a unlimited plan you can't tether haha so instead of making 10 dollars a month off me I jail break it and do it for free stupid business if you ask me

Here is the real reason people with unlimited data are right. When they bought there plans ( unlimited) they probably never used 5g a month well now phones use a whole lot more but no one was complaint when we paid 30 a month and used very little now that the lye is fast and more can be done on a smart phone why should I not be allowed to use what I've paid for for all these years with no complaints. Not that my phone isn't fast enough to use 5g a month not that the network was slow and limited nope just paid the bill and went on now that the phone has caught up with the users wants you all of a sudden pull the rug out and say thank you for being a loyal customer but you were gambling 5 years ago when you chose to keep unlimited and you won but we are not paying. It is wrong it is cheap it is as classless an act I've seen a large corporation do in my life they nickel and dime us already and for any of you that don't have united sorry you didn't take a chance years ago and now only get a few gig a month but stop hating on those that deserve to use as much data as that wish and 5 percent of users. Are unlimited well that network must suck if 5 % can drag down the speed for the other 95% get over it AT&T sucks they are crooks and liars and are so dumb that is you have a unlimited plan you can't tether haha so instead of making 10 dollars a month off me I jail break it and do it for free stupid business if you ask me