The phone will come with a new AT&T Mobile Hotspot app, which will offer a total of 4GB of data for $45 per month. $25 of that figure goes to the 2GB DataPro plan, while the other $20 pays for hotspot support and an extra 2GB of data.
Customers who already pay for AT&T tethering will automatically be bumped to the Mobile Hotspot plan, granting them that extra 2GB for the $20 they’re already paying.
Meanwhile, Verizon is doing the exact opposite. Instead of giving some of its subscribers extra bandwidth, the carrier plans to start throttling some of its heaviest data users.
BGR caught a memo on Verizon’s website that explains how Verizon intends to deal with users who suck down an unusual amount of data:
Verizon Wireless strives to provide customers the best experience when using our network, a shared resource among tens of millions of customers. 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. 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.
This is a big deal. We understand the need to preserve network integrity, especially when a certain phone’s launch is looming, but selectively targeting certain users and reducing their throughput is no bueno.
At the minimum, Verizon needs to specify a bandwidth threshold users can be aware of crossing before having their speed cut down. Are these users abusing their data plans by tethering loads of devices on rooted phones? Or are they just assuming “unlimited” really does mean unlimited?
Even as it throttles certain customers for excessive bandwidth usage, Verizon is working to improve its network capacity with better compression. It sounds like Verizon plans to optimise video and websites to use less bandwidth, so it’s possible video quality could take a slight hit — keep an eye out. Overall, the compression should make the network more efficient for everybody, as detailed on Verizon’s optimization page.
How much data do you regularly use on your smart phone? Think you’d fall into that 5%?