Verizon’s VCAST, the no-fun network


Verizon Wireless’ recent VCAST video content additions sounded interesting enough — Justin Timberlake TV, YouTube, Revver — so I signed up for a day pass. Some entertaining stuff on there, but I thought the carrier’s warning message was funnier.

This is part of the message you get during the mobile signup process. Some of the stuff is pretty standard, but they make it sound like the network (EVDO) is going to buckle under any kind of weight. It also all sounds so really un-fun:

V CAST cannot be used: 1) for access to the Internet, intranets or other data networks except as permitted via Get It Now and getWeb; 2) for any applications that tethers your phone to laptops, personal computers, or other devices for any purpose; 3) for uploading, downloading or streaming or movies, music or games unless offered through Get It Now; 4) For sustained high bandwidth applications, including without limitation, web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, voice over IP, or peer to peer file sharing, and/or 5) as a substitute or backup for a private line or dedicated data connections.

We reserve the right to limit throughput or amount of data transferred, deny or terminate data services, without notice for anyone we believe is using the V CAST service in any manner prohibited above, whose usage adversely impacts our network or service levels or whose usage exceeds reasonable levels. . . . Verizon Wireless reserves the right to change these Terms and Conditions at any time.



I was a a Verizon store today shopping for a phone. I was highly sceptical of everything the man said. When I asked to see an example contract, he said after I sighed up one would print out. I asked about activation fees, he said that when I got my first bill, if their was one, it would be included. I also asked about the music players limits and capabilities and reassured generally. I came away with the dread that I could make an expensive mistake and be locked into a multi-year contract despite my best efforts to become informed.
I’m a gadget aficionado but “services” like Verizon’s VCAST seem like a pale substitute to the capabilities that the rest of the world has. Designed to skim more money than anything else. I would never initiate service with a company that stands at the ready to “presume” my usage was improper and terminate me so capriciously.

Lee Johnson

I work at a large commercial digital audio site ( There’s a mobile version of the site also at Verizon permits clients to fully surf the site and do everything except actually download an MP3 or other audio file. When Verizon clients get to the specific point on the mobile site where the ringtone is to download to their phone, they consistently get a 406 error at that point and only at that point. Verizon blocks the audio file download. No other carriers in the U.S. do that. Come on Verizon….wake the hell up and focus on providing mobile billing services to the content providers of the world. You’ll make a lot more money and your clients will be a lot happier. As it is now, your clients spend quite a bit of time searching and finding just the right ringtones they want external from the Verizon site, then work through it all to get to the point to where they can download the ringtone, then YOU BLOCK THEM AT THE LAST STEP!! Of course they are going to call you then, but not because our service does not work but because you are blocking it, effectively making it not work for them!! America….time to boycott Verizon Wireless until they open up!!

Jeffrey Nelson (of Verizon Wireless)

Verizon Wireless offers a great wireless broadband plan – BroadbandAccess – for $59.99/month with a 2-year plan and a qualifying voice plan. Our BroadbandAccess service at that price is UNLIMITED FOR for Internet browsing, email and intranet access.

As our website notes: “If more than 5 GB/line/month are used, we presume use is for non-permitted uses and reserve the right to terminate service immediately.”

It’s not “unlimited,” but rather “unlimited for” specific kinds of service.

We do have plans for wireless broadband service for other things not included, at a per-kilobit rate, where Verizon Wireless manages the traffic on the network so everybody who’s using it the way it was built gets a great experience.


Jesse Kopelman

Actually the network may collapse under the weight. How many T-1s do you think are at each site to backhaul EVDO traffic? I bet only one per 3-sector site. That 1.5 Mbps can only be stretched so thin before VZW has to buy another T-1 (and they don’t get any special price breaks from momma Verizon, either). VZW wants to put off buying more T-1s as long as they can get away with it. Note that this applies to all the other carriers and their 3G services as well.

more of why apple foregoes verizon?

Hmmm…on a random note, maybe this is at the heart of why Apple didn’t do the iPhone with Verizon? (Besides not being as keen on CDMA/Qualcomm). I’m not saying that Apple spurned Verizon, or the other way around, just that this sort of mindset at Verizon probably made working out a contract with Apple untenable.


This is why Verizon sucks balls. I heard they also try to limit the phone’s Bluetooth capabilities. Now why would a carrier be so intrusive to that extent? Sprint on the other hand is pretty open.


This is strangely funny and bizarre, but not entirely unexpected. Carriers are still stuck in their walled-garden approach wherein users are not allowed to access anything outside the “carrier-approved” content. This is ostensibly for reasons of network ‘quality’, ‘throughput’, etc. but mainly because they want to get a piece of the content pie. This walled-garden has two main side effects:-
1) Turns off users who really want to access anything outside the carrier control. Such users are likely to be surfers and potentially big spenders, so the effect is to turn away just that target segment itself.

2) Offers a sub-optimal user experience. Why would a user sign up this offer, unless the content is pretty darn compelling, which it most often is not?
Carriers are making the same mistakes they did in the early days of the Net.

I would like to see a bold action from a bold carrier that offers full and open access to any mobile content, yet where users would choose to remain within the walled-garden because of the compelling content, perhaps because of the content. Now that would be some offer!

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