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Verizon Starts Throttling Unlimited Data 3G Customers

tlbaker

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Kaykaykay said:
Yes, I plan to hang onto unlimited indefinitely. I pay the 30 bucks even when I'm out of the U.S. for months and not using it, because unlimited is still a better deal for me overall.

I think they are throttling me. I am in my office with my Verizon network extender is only inches away from my iPhone with all the bars and the 3G symbol present and it is spinning away when I want to upload something to my Facebook page. When I switched to wifi / unlimited Internet on my dime it miraculously speeded up and posted smh. This would never happen on the iPad as I only have a 2GB month to month plan. I think the iPad burns through data faster due it's size and probably because Verizon is hoping for me to have overage charges. UGGHHH. I always use wifi when I am at home as I can be on this thing the entire day. Big fun, big fun lmao.

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Kaykaykay

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Seems like the 4G transition is going to be relatively slow in the U.S. for various reasons. Many Americans are tied to 3G contracts and are ineligible for device upgrades (unless they pay penalties). Plus, U.S. carriers have been mis-advertising services as 4G when they're not in some cases, which probably will make some consumers skeptical. For people with grandfathered unlimited plans, switching to 4G also probably will mean giving up unlimited data in the U.S.

Then there's battery life to consider. I can afford to upgrade and am used to paying out of pocket for devices, but I'm probably like many consumers -- if it comes down to giving up battery life to gain speed, no thanks.
 

tlbaker

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Kaykaykay said:
Seems like the 4G transition is going to be relatively slow in the U.S. for various reasons. Many Americans are tied to 3G contracts and are ineligible for device upgrades (unless they pay penalties). Plus, U.S. carriers have been mis-advertising services as 4G when they're not in some cases, which probably will make some consumers skeptical. For people with grandfathered unlimited plans, switching to 4G also probably will mean giving up unlimited data in the U.S.

Then there's battery life to consider. I can afford to upgrade and am used to paying out of pocket for devices, but I'm probably like many consumers -- if it comes down to giving up battery life to gain speed, no thanks.

I am lucky if I can get the 3G to work in my apt. Let alone the new 4G service lol. I won't be giving up my unlimited 3G service for my iPhone nor will I purchase a new device before I am eligible lol. AND speeds aren't guaranteed.

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Kaykaykay

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I am lucky if I can get the 3G to work in my apt. Let alone the new 4G service lol. I won't be giving up my unlimited 3G service for my iPhone nor will I purchase a new device before I am eligible lol. AND speeds aren't guaranteed.

I'm with you. The 4G accounts come with all kinds of footnotes about service, and some phones can't have their 4G function switched off, so not only do you end up with slower speeds sometimes, to add injury to insult your battery gets drained as your device keeps searching for a 4G signal, lol.

From what I've read, 3G will be supported for years. Unless service is degraded or prices surge, it's going to be hard to push people to switch, especially if they have to plunk down for penalties and/or new hardware, on top of pricier 4G plans.

I don't know whether Verizon does this, but if you have crappy reception, AT&T will sometimes offer a free signal booster to keep your business. Might as well ask Verizon.
 

jsh1120

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Just a couple of data points here. Applies only to Verizon. (I have enough trouble keeping track of my own carrier's efforts to squeeze more money out of me every month; I can't keep track of the plans of other carriers.)

() I have an unlimited (grandfathered) 3G plan on my Android smartphone. Throttling won't affect it since I literally never use more than about a gig of data services on the phone now that I have the iPad and (as noted below) I can also use a 4G hotspot+wifi for the phone if I care to do so.

() I have a separate 4G/LTE hotspot modem from Verizon which I purchased to replace a 3G equipped netbook. I use the hotspot for that netbook, my laptop, my phone if I bother to use it, and my iPad. Price is $50 per month on a two year contract for five gigabytes. Additional use if I ever need it (haven't needed it) is $10 per gig for a particular month. I believe, though I'm not sure, that I could get "unlimited" 4G/LTE service on that line for $80 per month.

The speed is phenomenal in 4G service areas. Up to about 20mg/p/s, close to what I get from my cable modem at home and indistinguishable from eifi on that service on the iPad. When I exit 4G/LTE service areas, the modem adjusts automatically to 3G service, sometimes at 1/10 the speed. Not nearly that perceptible as a user, but definitely noticeable. As others noted, there is no standard definition of what constitutes "4G" service. Verizon's service is much, much faster (and more widespread) than other carriers though AT&T is trying desperately to catch up on both counts.

Battery life for the mobile hotspot is about 4-5 hours in a 4G service area. About an hour longer when 4G service is not available. Not as good as the iPad's battery life but I'm seldom away from a charger for more than five hours. Haven't had the need to buy a separate charger for the modem.

Verizon offers (legal) tethering capabilities on some (all?) of their 4G smartphones. It's an additional $20 per month and would enable sharing of the phone's data plan (same $50/5gig deal) with the iPad. Doesn't make sense for me given my anniversary dates for various devices means I would have to cancel my mobile hotspot contract and pay a penalty. It's also the case that the 4G smartphones tethered speeds are substantially slower than the mobile hotspot (though still much faster than 3G.)

All in all, the major carriers are facing major bottlenecks from increased demand on their 3G networks. Thus the push to move users to 4G, to throttle heavy 3G users, and/or to shift costs from light to heavy users.
 

Kaykaykay

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All in all, the major carriers are facing major bottlenecks from increased demand on their 3G networks. Thus the push to move users to 4G, to throttle heavy 3G users, and/or to shift costs from light to heavy users.

I totally get why carriers want to shift us over. But like with any business transaction, the buyer and seller have to figure it's worth their while.

At this point, 4G isn't a better deal in most cases because of consumers' existing contracts and limited need for speed, even for those willing to trade battery life. If carriers want to push more over to 4G, it's as simple as offering more incentive. They could let 3G customers transfer with more subsidies, contract and penalty forgiveness, temporarily discounted plans, etc. Otherwise, it's going to be a much tougher sell.

It'll be interesting to see how things play out.
 

jsh1120

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I totally get why carriers want to shift us over. But like with any business transaction, the buyer and seller have to figure it's worth their while.

At this point, 4G isn't a better deal in most cases because of consumers' existing contracts and limited need for speed, even for those willing to trade battery life. If carriers want to push more over to 4G, it's as simple as offering more incentive. They could let 3G customers transfer with more subsidies, contract and penalty forgiveness, temporarily discounted plans, etc. Otherwise, it's going to be a much tougher sell.

It'll be interesting to see how things play out.

If I came across as justifying the actions of the carriers, my apologies. Nothing could be further from the truth. I view all of them as greedy pigs. By the same token, however, there are some true problems that call for resolution. Unlimited data plans encourage what's known in economics as the "tragedy of the commons." Heavy users bear no additional cost and clog the system for all users. This is especially problematic as new devices (i.e. tablets) proliferate and place an even heavier demand than already experienced on the networks. There's no rationale I can think of that justifies my paying for sluggish performance so my neighbor can download eight hours of movies every day at no additional cost.

Furthermore, I'm willing to pay a premium for 4G service. But if the 4G networks are crowded with heavy users who gain access at no additional cost, I'm no better off than with sluggish 3G service.

The heart of the problem lies, I think in two areas. First, the subsidization of device purchases coupled with the extremely long contracts that come with that subsidization distorts the market and costs consumers far more in the long run than the model in Europe where devices and service are separated. Consumers pay more for devices up front but they are largely free to move from one carrier to another whenever a better deal comes along.

Second, though many Americans are horrified by "socialistic" solutions to market problems, they love "socialism" when it benefits them. Unlimited data plans amount to corporate socialism, pure and simple. They penalize light users for the benefit of heavy users at no additional cost. I happen to think that's justified when the service being discussed is something like medical care that is both essential and not a matter of choice. I have a very difficult time justifying it when the service being discussed is access to streaming movies.
 

tlbaker

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Kaykaykay said:
I'm with you. The 4G accounts come with all kinds of footnotes about service, and some phones can't have their 4G function switched off, so not only do you end up with slower speeds sometimes, to add injury to insult your battery gets drained as your device keeps searching for a 4G signal, lol.

From what I've read, 3G will be supported for years. Unless service is degraded or prices surge, it's going to be hard to push people to switch, especially if they have to plunk down for penalties and/or new hardware, on top of pricier 4G plans.

I don't know whether Verizon does this, but if you have crappy reception, AT&T will sometimes offer a free signal booster to keep your business. Might as well ask Verizon.

I do have the network extender for free, thank goodness; however, it works great when I am right on top of it, in my bedroom in back of my computer room, and my bathroom which is right next to the bedroom. The living room / integrated kitchen, where I spend most of my time when I am home, weak signal of course!! I need to get a very long Ethernet cord that will work on the extender to bring it out into the living room area. Then it won't work in the back of the apt lol!!!

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tlbaker

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jsh1120 said:
Just a couple of data points here. Applies only to Verizon. (I have enough trouble keeping track of my own carrier's efforts to squeeze more money out of me every month; I can't keep track of the plans of other carriers.)

() I have an unlimited (grandfathered) 3G plan on my Android smartphone. Throttling won't affect it since I literally never use more than about a gig of data services on the phone now that I have the iPad and (as noted below) I can also use a 4G hotspot+wifi for the phone if I care to do so.

() I have a separate 4G/LTE hotspot modem from Verizon which I purchased to replace a 3G equipped netbook. I use the hotspot for that netbook, my laptop, my phone if I bother to use it, and my iPad. Price is $50 per month on a two year contract for five gigabytes. Additional use if I ever need it (haven't needed it) is $10 per gig for a particular month. I believe, though I'm not sure, that I could get "unlimited" 4G/LTE service on that line for $80 per month.

The speed is phenomenal in 4G service areas. Up to about 20mg/p/s, close to what I get from my cable modem at home and indistinguishable from eifi on that service on the iPad. When I exit 4G/LTE service areas, the modem adjusts automatically to 3G service, sometimes at 1/10 the speed. Not nearly that perceptible as a user, but definitely noticeable. As others noted, there is no standard definition of what constitutes "4G" service. Verizon's service is much, much faster (and more widespread) than other carriers though AT&T is trying desperately to catch up on both counts.

Battery life for the mobile hotspot is about 4-5 hours in a 4G service area. About an hour longer when 4G service is not available. Not as good as the iPad's battery life but I'm seldom away from a charger for more than five hours. Haven't had the need to buy a separate charger for the modem.

Verizon offers (legal) tethering capabilities on some (all?) of their 4G smartphones. It's an additional $20 per month and would enable sharing of the phone's data plan (same $50/5gig deal) with the iPad. Doesn't make sense for me given my anniversary dates for various devices means I would have to cancel my mobile hotspot contract and pay a penalty. It's also the case that the 4G smartphones tethered speeds are substantially slower than the mobile hotspot (though still much faster than 3G.)

All in all, the major carriers are facing major bottlenecks from increased demand on their 3G networks. Thus the push to move users to 4G, to throttle heavy 3G users, and/or to shift costs from light to heavy users.

So I would be able to tether 3G service from my unlimited iPhone service to my iPad ?? That would be great since I use wifi on iPad when I am home. Thanks for the great info.

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graywolf

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Darn.
I am thinking about ditching Verizon. Too expensive for even the most basic features.
Sprint looks nice. :)
 

tlbaker

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graywolf said:
Darn.
I am thinking about ditching Verizon. Too expensive for even the most basic features.
Sprint looks nice. :)

I know. I left them back in 2006 because I wanted a Razr phone. They did have sucky phones back then. What were they thinking!!! Oh well!!

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Kaykaykay

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If I came across as justifying the actions of the carriers, my apologies. Nothing could be further from the truth. I view all of them as greedy pigs. By the same token, however, there are some true problems that call for resolution. Unlimited data plans encourage what's known in economics as the "tragedy of the commons." Heavy users bear no additional cost and clog the system for all users. This is especially problematic as new devices (i.e. tablets) proliferate and place an even heavier demand than already experienced on the networks. There's no rationale I can think of that justifies my paying for sluggish performance so my neighbor can download eight hours of movies every day at no additional cost.

Furthermore, I'm willing to pay a premium for 4G service. But if the 4G networks are crowded with heavy users who gain access at no additional cost, I'm no better off than with sluggish 3G service.

The heart of the problem lies, I think in two areas. First, the subsidization of device purchases coupled with the extremely long contracts that come with that subsidization distorts the market and costs consumers far more in the long run than the model in Europe where devices and service are separated. Consumers pay more for devices up front but they are largely free to move from one carrier to another whenever a better deal comes along.

Second, though many Americans are horrified by "socialistic" solutions to market problems, they love "socialism" when it benefits them. Unlimited data plans amount to corporate socialism, pure and simple. They penalize light users for the benefit of heavy users at no additional cost. I happen to think that's justified when the service being discussed is something like medical care that is both essential and not a matter of choice. I have a very difficult time justifying it when the service being discussed is access to streaming movies.

No worries. I got your drift about carriers. My thoughts about them a neutral. I figure they exist to make money, and unless there are government restrictions on them, they'll try to maximize profits. I don't begrudge companies profits; I just figure consumers will decide what works for them. Of course with carriers, there are few choices.

I also agree with you about making customers pay for what they use. I'd understand if they jacked up unlimited. As long as I pay for unlimited, though, I don't feel any guilt about using as much data as I want.

I'm with you about the European system (same in many parts of Asia). I'd rather buy whatever device I want and have carriers compete for my data and voice services.
 

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