Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) has implemented what it calls a "network optimization" plan designed to limit the bandwidth for the operator's top five percent of 3G smartphone users who are on a grandfathered unlimited data plan.
Verizon is careful to state that network optimization is the not the same thing as data throttling since customers' data speeds will be reduced only when they 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," the company said on its network optimization FAQ page.
The company identified the top 5 percent of users as those who use more than 2 GB of data in a billing cycle. For the time being, 4G LTE users aren't affected by the network optimization plan and neither will those users subscribing to 3G tethering plans.
Verizon said the offending customers will have their connections optimized for just two consecutive billing cycles in total, and they will be alerted on their monthly bill or My Verizon home screen that they may fall into the top 5 percent of data users.
The move was not unexpected. Back in February, a leaked Verizon memo detailed such plans.
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