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Verizon Wireless Backtracks on Plan to Reduce 4G Data Speeds

**Editor’s Note: Which is America’s top wireless network? Click here to see what we discovered.**

In the face of criticism, Verizon Wireless has nixed a plan to slow the speeds of some 4G LTE customers who subscribe to unlimited data plans.

“We’ve greatly valued the ongoing dialogue over the past several months concerning network optimization and we’ve decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans,” Verizon Wireless said Wednesday in a statement.

The wireless giant previously intended to reduce the data speeds of some customers in order to optimize its network, and distinguished its practice from what’s known as “throttling,” in which data speeds are reduced for a customer’s entire billing cycle. The company said it only may reduce speeds at times of high demand.

However, the plan received a cold reception from the nation’s top communications regulator, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who told the company in a letter this summer that he was “deeply troubled” by the announcement and questioned how Verizon Wireless could justify its conduct under open Internet rules that the FCC adopted in 2010.

Wheeler on Wednesday welcomed Verizon’s decision to reverse course. “This is a responsible action and I commend Verizon’s leadership on this issue,” he said in a statement.

In mid-2012, Verizon Wireless stopped offering unlimited data plans to its customers; however, existing subcribers with the plans can keep them if they pay full retail price for their device. The company doesn’t disclose the number of customers on its unlimited data plans. But as of the second quarter, more than half of Verizon Wireless’ accounts subscribed to More Everything Plans with shared data.


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