Verizon has just begun taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4, and already there is concern the carrier may clamp-down on owners of the Apple handset, notorious for their use of data. The carrier reportedly is ready to reduce the bandwidth on the top 5 percent of its subscribers.
“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” during peak demand, according to a policy paper obtained by a tech blog. The note surfaces amid early reviews, citing the Verizon iPhone as stable, but slower than AT&T.
Additionally, the carrier will also shrink the size of image and video files sent over its network. The process, though designed to increase transfer speeds, could affect the quality of the images viewed by iPhone users. Verizon, however, downplays any harm to image or video quality. “Any change to the file is likely to be indiscernible” and will “minimally impact” the appearance of compressed video and photos.
Not only is Verizon preparing for a spike in data usage from iPhone owners, the carrier is also taking steps to ensure its pre-sales period goes smoothly. Verizon Wireless Chief Operating Officer John Stratton has told company employees and their families to hold-off ordering the Apple handset, expecting “unprecedented” demand from customers.
“To help ensure we meet customer demand for iPhones, Verizon is urging employees and their families to postpone purchases of the popular smartphone, whether online or in retail stores, for the time being,” Stratton writes in an email sent to U.S. stores and obtained by a Mac news site.
Today’s events elicit two questions: will the Verizon iPhone be what consumers have wanted for so many months – and can the carrier avoid the pitfalls and negative publicity encountered by rival AT&T. Like so many prizes, the iPhone can be a double-edged sword for the recipient.