Verizon’s Data Prioritization and Deprioritization

Last updated: 6/14/2019

Prioritization affects how traffic is handled when networks are congested. I have not found Verizon to be especially straightforward about its prioritization policies, so this page details my best guesses about Verizon’s procedures—I’m not confident I’m entirely correct.

Verizon’s prioritization appears to be binary

In October 2018, Reddit user Quicr (identified as a Verizon engineer) argued the distinction between Verizon’s prioritized and deprioritized traffic for standard customers is black and white with no possibility for partially deprioritized traffic. Quicr references QoS class identifiers (QCI) defined in the 3GPP standards. Quicr argues that regular data traffic is prioritized in a binary way since it will either have QCI value of 8 or 9:[1]

Regular data (i.e. tiered plans, unlimited plans before the threshold) is QCI 8. All deprioritized data (go, other unlimited beyond the threshold, MVNO, Visible) is all QCI 9. There isn’t any distinction between the various plans other than QCI 8 and QCI 9. All QCI 8 traffic is the same and all QCI 9 traffic is the same to the network.

Prioritized traffic on Verizon’s network

I think Verizon prioritizes data traffic from the plans and subscriber categories listed below:

  • Postpaid, non-unlimited plans[2]
  • BeyondUnlimited plan subscribers who’ve used less than 22GBs of data[3]
  • AboveUnlimited plan subscribers who’ve used less than 75GBs of data[4]

Deprioritized traffic on Verizon’s network

I don’t think Verizon prioritizes data traffic from the plans and subscriber categories listed below:

  • Prepaid plans[5]
  • Most Verizon-based MVNOs[6]
  • Visible subscribers[7]
  • GoUnlimited plan[8]
  • JustKids plan[9]

Footnotes

  1. From an October 2018 thread in the Verizon subreddit. Archived here.
  2. See the quote in the main text from the Reddit user Quicr.
  3. “After 22 GB/line, in times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic.”
    The excerpt above was attached to the description of Verizon’s BeyondUnlimited plan on Verizon’s website (archived here) as of 6/14/2019.
  4. “After 75 GB/line, in times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic.”
    The excerpt above was attached to the description of Verizon’s AboveUnlimited plan on Verizon’s website (archived here) as of 6/14/2019.
  5. In the Reddit thread mentioned previously, the Reddit user Quicr clarified in a comment that traffic from Verizon’s prepaid subscribers is deprioritized.
    “All prepaid, both tiered and unlimited, is deprioritized. It’s only on postpaid where there’s a difference.”
    From an October 2018 thread in the Verizon subreddit. Archived here.
  6. See the excerpt from Quicr in the main text of the article.
  7. See the excerpt from Quicr in the main text of the web page.
  8. “In times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic.”
    The excerpt above was attached to the description of Verizon’s GoUnlimited plan on Verizon’s website (archived here) as of 6/14/2019.
  9. “In times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic.”
    The excerpt above was attached to the description of Verizon’s JustKids plan on Verizon’s website (archived here) as of 6/14/2019.