Verizon Chokes Wireless Data Use, Changes Data Transmission Tech

The company said in a document posted on its Web site that it plans to periodically throttle back on the data throughput speeds of the top 5 percent of its Verizon Wireless data users. The site was first reported on by AppleInsider blog post.

It is also implementing new compression technologies related to the transmission of text, image, and video files aimed at cutting back the amount of data sent to users.

News of the changes comes on the day that Verizon starts accepting orders for the iPhone 4 for shipment starting on February 10, thereby ending AT&T's monopoly on the smart phone in the U.S.

The boom in the amount of data accessed by smart phones and similar devices, especially by a relatively small group of power users, has become an issue for wireless service providers. For instance, the online wireless information site Validas reported in September that overall growth in average monthly wireless data consumption grew at a rate of 464 percent from the first quarter of 2009 through the second quarter of 2010, with iPhone data use growing 314 percent during that time.

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AT&T last June eliminated its the unlimited data use plans it had offered for its iPhone and iPad users in response to the growth.

In its statement, Verizon, citing the need to provide the best experience to over 94 million customers using its shared network, said that it may reduce the data throughput speeds of the top 5 percent of its data users periodically through the then current and following billing cycles. The move aims at ensuring that the other 95 percent of Verizon's users "aren't negatively affected by the inordinate data consumption of just a few users," the company said.

Verizon also said its implementation of new optimization and transcoding technologies to cut the amount of data transmitted over its networks should be "indiscernible" with most files, but that the process could "minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on your device."

While the changes in its wireless data plans and features come on the day Verizon starts accepting orders for the iPhone, the two are not necessarily related, the company told The Wall Street Journal. The Journal said a Verizon spokesperson said that the company has been looking at making the changes for some time.