Verizon’s Data Prioritization and Deprioritization

Prioritization affects how traffic is handled when networks are congested. Verizon isn’t always straightforward about its prioritization policies, so I created this page as a resource.

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.

Plans offered directly from Verizon:

  • Postpaid, non-unlimited plans2
  • Play More Unlimited plan subscribers who’ve used less than 25GBs of data3
  • Do More Unlimited plan subscribers who’ve used less than 50GBs of data4
  • Get More Unlimited plan subscribers who’ve used less than 75GBs of data5

Plans from other carriers running over Verizon’s network:

  • Xfinity Mobile’s third-generation, by-the-gig plans6
  • Xfinity Mobile’s unlimited plans with the HD Pass add-on7

Legacy plans:

  • BeyondUnlimited plan subscribers who’ve used less than 22GBs of data 8
  • AboveUnlimited plan subscribers who’ve used less than 75GBs of data9
  • Second-generation Xfinity Mobile plans with the HD Pass add-on10

View Plans on Verizon’s Website


Deprioritized traffic on Verizon’s network

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

Plans offered directly from Verizon:

  • Start Unlimited plan subscribers11
  • Verizon’s prepaid subscribers12
  • JustKids plan13
  • Subscribers on certain unlimited plans after they’ve surpassed their “premium data” thresholds14

Plans from other carriers running over Verizon’s network:

  • Xfinity Mobile subscribers on the current (third-generation) unlimited plan
  • Most Verizon-based MVNOs15
  • Visible subscribers16

Legacy plans:

  • GoUnlimited plan subscribers17
  • Second-generation Xfinity Mobile plans18

View Verizon’s page on Network Management Procedures


Article last updated: July 2020

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. “Start Unlimited users may temporarily experience slower data in times of congestion; Play More Unlimited users may experience it after 25 GB/line.”
    The excerpt comes from Verizon’s website as of 2/7/2020.
  4. “Start Unlimited users may temporarily experience slower data in times of congestion; Play More Unlimited users may experience it after 25 GB/line; Do More Unlimited users, after 50 GB/line.”
    The excerpt comes from Verizon’s website as of 2/7/2020.
  5. “Start Unlimited users may temporarily experience slower data in times of congestion; Play More Unlimited users may experience it after 25 GB/line; Do More Unlimited users, after 50 GB/line; Get More Unlimited users, after 75 GB/line.”
    The excerpt comes from Verizon’s website as of 2/7/2020.
  6. See my blog post about Xfinity Mobile’s third-generation plans for more details.
  7. “HD Pass is an add-on feature for Unlimited that allows…higher quality cellular service in times of network congestion.”
    From Xfinity Mobile’s page on the HD pass as of 7/21/2020.
  8. “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. The plan is no longer available to new subscribers.
  9. “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. The plan is no longer available to new subscribers.
  10. See this page about the HD Pass add-on.
  11. “Start Unlimited users may temporarily experience slower data in times of congestion.”
    The excerpt comes from Verizon’s website as of 2/7/2020.
  12. Excerpt from Verizon’s prepaid page as of 2/7/2020:
    “In times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic.”

    Additionally, 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.

  13. “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.
  14. E.g., subscribers on the Play More Unlimited, Do More Unlimited, or Get More Unlimited plans who’ve used a lot of data.
  15. See the excerpt from Quicr in the main text of the article.
  16. From Visible’s Legal Disclosures page as of 2/7/2020 (archived here):
    “We may prioritize your data behind other traffic if the cell site you are connected to begins experiencing high demand during the duration of your session. Once the demand on the site lessens, or if you connect to a different site not experiencing high demand, your speed will return to normal.”

    Also see the excerpt from Quicr in the main text of the web page.

  17. “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. The plan is no longer available to new subscribers.
  18. From Xfinity Mobile’s website as of 2/7/2020:
    “In times of congestion, your data may be temporarily slower than other traffic.”
    I believe purchasing Xfinity Mobile’s HD Pass add-on will allow subscribers to receive higher priority.