Verizon to cut download speeds for data hogs as it prepares for iPhone 4 debut
The move comes as Verizon prepares for its release of the Apple iPhone 4. Verizon is working to avoid the network problems that AT&T experienced when it launched the first Apple iPhone about four years ago.
Verizon is the first U.S. carrier outside of AT&T to offer the blockbuster Apple smart phone. Pre-orders for the Verizon version of the iPhone 4 began Thursday and the device will be available in stores in one week, on Feb. 10.
The company said the changes would go into effect for those who sign up for Verizon service on Thursday or later.
Calling its wireless network "a shared resource among tens of millions of customers," Verizon said it was making the moves to protect its users.
"To help achieve this, if you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we 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 said in a statement.
"Our proactive management of the Verizon Wireless network is designed to ensure that the remaining 95% of data customers aren't negatively affected by the inordinate data consumption of just a few users."
Verizon may also get rid of some colors and decrease resolution of videos, photos and text in a way that it says won't be noticed by most users.
The data policy changes will allow Verizon to store and transmit "less data, using less capacity, and sizing the video more appropriately for the device," Verizon said.
"The optimization process is agnostic to the content itself and to the website that provides it. While we invest much effort to avoid changing text, image, and video files in the compression process and while any change to the file is likely to be indiscernible, the optimization process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on your device."
Ken Muche, a Verizon spokesman, said the company had nothing else to add about the policy changes aside from its statements posted online.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: Salesman Antione Haynes opens the door of a Verizon Wireless store in Mountain View, Calif., where the Apple iPhone's arrival is heralded. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press