The Future of Verizon’s LTE Superhighway sees Slow and Fast Lanes

by Matt Klassen on November 19, 2010

Tiered payment plans are nothing new to America’s wireless network providers, as over the past year all the major providers have ousted the once popular unlimited data plans in favour of capping the amount of data smartphones users can download based on the monthly plan they sign up for.

However, with the advent of its advanced Long Term Evolution (LTE) almost upon us, Verizon is toying with yet another idea for controlling its broadband network, charging users for the network speed they want as well.

But before you think about signing up for top tier speedy LTE plan with high data transfer rates, think again, as the company’s CFO hinted that speed and data transfer may be an either/or decision that consumers have to make: so either you will get slower access speeds and consume more data or higher access speeds and consume less data. The choice is yours!

As mentioned, the notion of capping or throttling user data transfer amounts is nothing new to the wireless industry, although capping the network speeds that users experience is a twist we haven’t seen before. While users may feel that they are yet again getting screwed by the companies that control the networks, consider this from a financial perspective.

The development of the next generation LTE (sometimes known as 4G) networks across the country is an incredibly costly investment for wireless providers like Verizon, with other LTE developers like Clearwire–with its WiMax network– already bordering on financial collapse. This means that users should come to expect such measures to be implemented in greater frequency as companies look for various ways of covering their enormous costs and getting some return for their various investors.

Further, Verizon is clearly preparing itself for the future of data usage and consumption, having long witnessed the struggles AT&T has had with the iPhone on its struggling 3G network. As phones continue to morph into increasingly powerful handheld computers, the amount people will download will only increase, meaning that Verizon will need to continue utilizing its slower Wi-Fi and 3G networks well after the arrival of LTE technology.

“If you want to pay for less speed, you’ll pay for less speed and consume more, or you can pay for high speed and consume less,” Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said Wednesday.

So what will this means for users? Unfortunately the future of the mobile Internet looks more chaotic than technologically advanced, as users will find themselves constantly asking themselves the question, what network should I use today? Perhaps Wi-Fi is best of casual emails, while 3G the first choice for midsized downloads and casual surfing, and of LTE when you want to view streaming content. Doesn’t that sound simple?

While I personally understand the reasoning behind the decision to throttle both data transfer and network speed, it won’t be long before Verizon customers begin to cry out for more options, demanding that America’s leading wireless provider allow them to choose how much data they want and what speed they want to download it at. Is that too much to ask?

Did you like this post ? TheTelecomBlog.com publishes daily news, editorial, thoughts, and controversial opinion – you can subscribe by: RSS (click here), or email (click here).

Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jordan Richardson November 19, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Hell, they still have more options than we do in Canada. I’d take this sort of set-up in a heartbeat.

Previous post:

Next post: