Verizon to slow wireless bandwidth hogs, iPhone 4 sales strong

Amid what it called "unprecedented" demand for the iPhone as pre-orders began Thursday morning, Verizon is now quietly taking measures to curb those that may put a strain on its data network. Effective immediately, those who fall in the top 5% of data users may find their throughput speeds reduced.

The change in policy could affect around 1.1 million customers: Verizon counts about 21 million smart phone users. Those throttled would find their speeds reduced for the remainder of the current cycle, as well as the next full billing cycle, a document posted to the Verizon website reads.

Bandwidth throttling is nothing new to wireless carriers. T-Mobile will throttle a user's speed once they use more than 5GB of data in a single month: Virgin Mobile recently instituted a similar policy for users of its Broadband2Go data service. Others (like AT&T) have gotten rid of unlimited plans altogether in an effort to charge those who tax its networks most.

Data from Cisco indicates that the top 1% of wireless data users account for a fifth of all traffic, and the top 10% make up 60% of all wireless data. Thus, most mobile data users are not affected by the curbs.

Average monthly data per user was 79MB, Cisco claims.

In related news, presales of the iPhone 4 began at 3AM ET on Thursday. Although it is too early to tell how many have sold, Verizon officials said that overall the online ordering process had gone smoothly. Error messages prevented some from placing orders, but the carrier said the majority experienced no problems.

This seemed the opposite of the start of iPhone 4 sales on AT&T, which were plagued with problems on both the carrier's and Apple's sites.

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