The company announced on its corporate Web site that, starting this October, it will subject some 4G LTE users on unlimited plans to the “network optimization policy.” That policy involves slowing down heavy data users -- defined by Verizon as people who use more data than 95% of other subscribers -- when they are “connected to cell sites experiencing heavy demand.”
Verizon says that those consumers “may experience slower data speeds when using certain high bandwidth applications, such as streaming high-definition video or during real-time, online gaming.”
The move obviously marks Verizon's latest attempt to convince people to migrate to one of its pay-per-byte plans. After all, unlimited plans often are less expensive than the newer pay-per-byte plans -- especially for people who want to tether their tablets or laptops to smartphones in order to access the Web on occasions when WiFi isn't available.
Several years ago, Verizon Wireless stopped offering an unlimited-data option to new subscribers, but said that existing users would be allowed to retain their old plans. In 2012, the company also stopped offering subsidized phones to users who wanted to retain unlimited data. This latest move isn't likely to sit well with those users -- especially if they paid full price for a smartphone specifically because they wanted to retain their plans.
Meanwhile, Verizon's efforts at ending unlimited data plans have proven extraordinarily successful. Currently, only 22% of Verizon users have all-you-can-eat data plans, according to a new report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (and summarized by Business Insider).