What's REALLY going on with the new data plans, and a (sad) case study of what Verizon did to me...


First a short bit about my own personal background, I am a Tier III network architect, I understand fairly well the technical details of cellular back-haul switched and routed networks, QOS hooks and engines, packet encapsulation and structure, and more.

Second let me say that large networks such as Verizons are very complex. It is difficult just to run them let alone change them, difficult find train and retain the talents needed. And giving the volume of support calls they receive VERY difficult to create a support structure that can do much more than apologize to you for your trouble, read you a script, and get you off the phone. Before implementing the new plans Verizon trained (indoctrinated) their people on how to respond to teed off customers as they knew there would be many.

Third a word about data networks in general... you need to understand how incredibly expensive they are to build and operate. Let's say you sold 10 people a 50 Gb plan with unlimited data meaning in theory all 10 people could suck 50 Gb of data all month long 24 hours a day. And btw, and few of Verizons (and every other carriers) customers do this or at least try to come close. The business model for building a network that could support this is called... bankruptcy. You could not charge those users enough money for pay for that network capacity for so few users. So, consider the concept of over-subscription. Every service provider out there (not just cellular) has mechanisms in place to allow their subscribers to get most of their data knowing that the vast majority of users will use far less data than they could and only occasionally (thanks to evil Microsoft and others, but that's another story) use large chunks of bandwidth.

What Verizon did here with the new data plans was to make a huge fundamental change in the way they sell and apportion data bandwidth... bandwidth is like hamburger, you pay by the pound. No matter what anyone says at the end of the day it just costs more to deliver more data, and those costs are proportional to how much data you want to buy. No way around this. Verizon felt the need to start (again) offering "unlimited" data plans in response to loss of market share, remember those T Mobile Super Bowl adds? Although Verizons network is constantly evolving this change was not driven by a dramatic improvement in their network, it was simply a strategic marketing move. You of course are not getting unlimited data, no where even close. Verizon nor any other vendor can sell you this.

It does not cost Verizon any more money to let you use their network when it is not busy... there is no more "wear and tear" on the network when it runs a full capacity than when it runs at low capacity, that is why they are using the QOS (quality of service) model for prioritization rather than "throttling" (which is bandwidth limits). Prioritization is of course a form of throttling, they are just doing it with a sensitivity to network utilization... they throttle you when their network is busy and you have already used up your allotment for the month. The way it works is that when your traffic arrives at the cell tower the tower looks at it's own utilization and at your utilization for the month and makes a decision on how to prioritize your traffic. If you have exceeded your bandwidth cap for the month your traffic will be stamped with a lower priority that will carry through the entire Verizon network, not just your tower. Once the traffic leaves the Verizon network (could be many hops) that priority will be "popped" or removed. This process is complicated... for instance large capacity networks essentially cannot "store" any data, it all has to move fairly close to what we call "real time". If your traffic is delayed for long it will be dropped which will (in the case of a connection oriented transmission such a web browsing) cause your computer to have to re-send the data (which by the way further congests the network). If this sounds complex, it is because it is complex and way more than can be discussed here, but you get the idea. Previously before implementing this QOS mechanism your traffic just had to contend with all the other users on that tower, if the tower became oversubscribed the traffic would simply start to drop for everyone. And if you used more data than you were paying for they just charged you more (theoretically so they could improve and expand their network... riiiiight....)

Although Verizon would like you to think that the effect of prioritization is minimal that is not the case. The effects will vary greatly depending on where you are what what the network is like there... in many cases during peak times of the day your connection will become unusable (as is mine). This of course will be a dramatically bad change for many users.

Okay, soon be enough of this novel, but a word about my own experience. I am a business owner operating a very busy engineering and electrical contracting firm. Communication for me (including internet) is vital to me very existence, literally. For many years I used my grandfathered unlimited data plan to tether my phone into my home network and although was a fairly high user of data I was never abusively so and felt justified since I have paid $190 a month for many years now. I choose to live in a rural location where the only internet available to me was the Verizon network... no cable, no DSL, nothing else except satellite which is horrible for other reasons.

Last week I was driving on a rural highway while spending the week working on the road when I called Verizon for a unrelated reason, I had no inkling of the new data plans recently implemented. After resolving the reason for my call the Tier I support person (a very nice woman named Hedy) told me that I could save $100 a month on my phone bill! I was incredulous and explained exactly how I used my phone, tethering, plan history, etc. and she ASSURED ME that my new plan would be just like my old plan in every respect. So I said yes... please switch. When I arrived home dog tired that Friday I went to bed not knowing of what had just happened. I awoke the next morning, got my coffee and sat down to catch up on work I missed while traveling. <<<<<<NO INTERNET>>>>>>   YIKES! After some very distasteful interactions with Tier I support spewing the propaganda programmed into them by Verizon I finally learned the issue... I was being "re-prioritized" ( I will spare the gentle reader my own term for what was being done to me). I had NO internet, not just slow internet. Again I live in a rural location and can only access one tower and that tower is almost always busy during the day. And, the unknowing previous support agent had so kindly backdated my plan change so that I was instantly over my bandwidth cap (tethering only gets 10 Gb, not 20 something). Tier I support crew have been programmed by Verizon to whenever possible talk people out of their legacy unlimited plans, and I suppose that plan will be going away soon anyway. Subsequent phone calls told me I was just out of luck, if you do not like it go elsewhere. All in all the entire support experience was a uber waste of time and very unpleasant. To their credit I could often sense that they knew what was happening and the fact that they could not fix it was not right, but they could not say so. I suspect they have a lot on their plates these days.

The outcome? I had to travel 45 minutes to a hotel in order to use their internet, I am not sure yet how I will resolve this. I always knew my Verizon connection was too good to be true for all those years, but thought at $190 a month they might indulge me, apparently not. It would have been helpful to have a bit of warning, [Removed]

It costs much more to provide internet to rural areas than population dense, A LOT more. This is why internet in rural areas is often terrible, companies simply cannot provide it in a way that maximizes share holder value. It is a untold story in the country, and the FCC who (surprise) has failed miserably. I realize I do not fit the profile of the average Verizon customer, but that is my experience with this train wreck. I will be now trying very hard to get off of Verizon as will many others... My only satisfaction will be a slight chuckle if this move to re-gain some lost market share actually has the opposite effect.

The biggest draw for Verizon (with these new plans) is now network coverage...  when you see that densely red coverage map compared to other carriers metro oriented coverage map remember what you are really seeing...  if you live in a city and use Verizon you are paying a lot to provide coverage for all those farmers, and I personally would like to thank you. This really needs to be addressed by government policy like it used to be for POTS networks.

Lost your internet on Verizon? I feel your pain...

Thanks for listening, I feel better now.

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Re: What's REALLY going on with the new data plans, and a (sad) case study of what Verizon did to me...


The same thing happened to me 3 years ago. Thru hours of re-explaining, I was given my unlimited back again, but my rate was  very high and only for MY imei. I  babied the device until it could no longer support my well-planned use. I still mourn the loss of that plan & my responsible use. I had to make my change back quickly & use Monday - Friday morning/afternoon assistants, but maybe they can offer the same allocation to you. Best of luck ~


Re: What's REALLY going on with the new data plans, and a (sad) case study of what Verizon did to me...


So, it sounds like the woman on the phone didn't educate you properly. Had you looked into the new unlimited plans prior to this telephone call?

Sometimes (and I mean sometimes) you ask for an Inactive Pricing Request to be put back to your old plan. However, my guess is that this would not happen with the old truly unlimited plan.

What about this?

Data Only Plan | Verizon Wireless

You can get a hotspot device and get 12GB for $90. With your 10 from your phone that would be 22GB of tethering at roughly the price you were paying previously. I know it isn't the best option but it is an option.


Re: What's REALLY going on with the new data plans, and a (sad) case study of what Verizon did to me...


Use a VPN service.  Verizon doesn't traffic shape VPN traffic and it hides your surfing behavior which verizon openly admits to selling. 


Re: What's REALLY going on with the new data plans, and a (sad) case study of what Verizon did to me...

Sr. Member

ladydi89 wrote:

Use a VPN service. Verizon doesn't traffic shape VPN traffic and it hides your surfing behavior which verizon openly admits to selling.

Using a VPN to violates terms of service is shady and possibly illegal and can certainly get your account closed if caught


Re: What'dirt Verizon did to me

Power User

@ladydi89 wrote:

Use a VPN dirt hides your surfing behavior which verizon openly admits to selling. 

Please be aware you responded to a thread that is over 2 years old. The OP is unlikely to return to read your comment. 

I'm most definitely NOT a VZW employee. If a post answered your question, please mark it as the answer.