Verizon has followed AT&T in efforts to slow down data usage for wireless phone use during peak traffic periods. For those who have unlimited plans, Verizon chooses the top 5 percent of the heaviest data users (more than 2GB of data per month) and slows down access to the network when the network becomes congested. Once the network clears, or the user moves to a different cell site, the speed returns to normal. This policy is for data plans on the 3G network only, as Verizon does not slow down data usage for 4G networks.
AT&T slows down the access for heavy users, once the data limit is reached and keeps the access slow until the end of the billing cycle, even if the network is not congested. Verizon, on the other hand, slows down access only during the time when the network is congested.
Regardless of the policy, the issue is that consumers presume they have unlimited data when they purchase an unlimited data plan with Verizon on a 3G network. However, in reality, Verizon users have limits on their data usage, if they are identified by Verizon to be heavy data users. It seems heavy data users are, in fact, being punished, or that Verizon wants a consumer to upgrade to a 4G network, since there is no “throttling” with a 4G network.
Due to recent Supreme Court decisions, the language contained in the subscriber’s user agreement limits the consumer’s remedy to arbitration, without access to a class action.