Home In Preparation for the iPhone, Verizon Plans to Throttle Its Heaviest Data Users

In Preparation for the iPhone, Verizon Plans to Throttle Its Heaviest Data Users

Some early reviews are in for the Verizon iPhone 4, which is available for pre-sale today. Many of these tout the ability to actually make a phone call – something AT&T customers have famously struggled with. But for those who plan to take advantage of the iPhone for its data and not its voice capabilities, the news isn’t so good. The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg, for example, notes the device has much slower data speeds on Verizon’s network than on AT&T’s.

If that’s not enough to give you pause about the storied Verizon iPhone, then perhaps this news from Verizon itself might: the company has announced that it plans to start throttling the data of customers who “use an extraordinary amount of data.”

In a PDF memo on the Verizon website, the company states that it “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.”

Verizon says it will only do this if you fall in the top 5% of the company’s data users, calling this step “proactive management” to make sure its network can handle the influx of new subscribers and new smartphone users.

Throttling data isn’t the only step Verizon is taking. The company says is is “implementing optimization and transcoding technologies” that will make data transmission more efficient. This will include caching less data, using less capacity, and resizing video – a major culprit in data usage – so that it’s more appropriate for mobile devices. Verizon says these steps won’t impact the quality of the text and video files although it may “minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on your device.”

It should be noted, lest iPhone users shoulder the blame for Verizon’s announcement today, that some reports peg Android phones as the bigger data hog.

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