Verizon has two caps for unlimited data

Those thinking about unlimited data on Verizon should be aware of the two data caps, not just one, that the carrier uses to limit customer use of the plan.

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Due to my personal situation I have no Wi-Fi nor TV. I’m in the middle of nowhere but have a good signal on Verizon. I depend on LTE to stream video to fill the time, so unlimited data is a perfect fit for me.

The data plan worked well for a couple of months but several days ago that ended. The video started getting choppy and worsening to the point that video wouldn’t work. It seemed obvious that Verizon was throttling me big time.

A call to Verizon tech support confirmed that’s what was happening. After attempting several times to “check the data line”, the rep admitted that an alert had gone out internally that I had passed the 22 GB data cap. That’s the first cap that triggers the alert and “deprioritization” that we customers know as throttling.

Throttling means Verizon flags a customer as a data hog, so it flags our data use as lower priority than everyone else. Data packets are held behind everyone else and only sent through when there is free space on the line. This can make it unusable for video streaming and updating the OS or big apps.

I told the rep that this was unacceptable to this 20-year Verizon customer. He told me that the possibility that throttling could be used by the carrier was mentioned in the fine print I signed when I went unlimited. I responded that may be so but as a long-time customer I deserved better than that treatment.

He told me that the “overage” alert only affected my iPad Pro and not the iPhone nor the iPad Mini also on the account so he recommended I use one of those for video streaming until the next billing cycle started, which would reset the 22 GB cap and remove the throttling.

I asked him about using the iPhone as a personal hotspot and what would happen when I hit the magical 22 GB cap. His response floored me. It seems for personal hotspot use the cap drops to 10 GB! Throttling kicks in at that lower usage.

I’m guessing that my assertion that I don’t deserve to be treated so poorly got to him as the throttling was gone the next day. I’ve been enjoying rapid unlimited data for a few days as I did in the past. I’m keeping a close eye on it now, though. Both caps.


One thought on “Verizon has two caps for unlimited data

  • July 29, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    James, I work in that same department in VZW that you called. I assure you nothing was “fixed” for you. We literally cannot make this kind of change.

    Deprioritization impacts you during times of network congestion. At other times, (usually “most” times) it won’t matter. This is what you are seeing now.

    When there is no congestion you will never know it. You should see a pattern where certain times you feel it.

    The 10 GB hotpot thing is different. It is a fixed slow down in data speeds. Once it happens it ain’t speeding up til the next cycle.


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