Verizon Wireless experienced yet another data outage -- the third in less than a month -- on Wednesday. Customers reported trouble accessing Verizon Wireless' 4G network, based on LTE technology. Customers were also reporting issues with Verizon's 3G service, though Verizon consistently denied any issues with its 3G network.
Just days before Christmas, Verizon Wireless experienced widespread outages that made national headlines. And that was after an early December outage that angered customers and an April outage that got Verizon customers in a tizzy. In all, Verizon's advanced network has failed customers four times in 2011.
Verizon Wireless used Twitter to send out a message that the problem was solved early Thursday morning: "4G LTE issued resolved overnight. 3G operated normally; calling, texting were unaffected." Meanwhile, Verizon was also tweeting messages like this one on Thursday morning: "For a limited time, get 4 GB of data for just $30 mo. access w/a voice plan when you buy a 4G LTE smartphone."
The Most Reliable?
Verizon boasts about having the most reliable wireless network, but the rash of outages suggests there is a kink in the wireless carrier's armor -- and AT&T may be able to take advantage. Verizon has not offered an explanation for the outages.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, said the timing was bad for Verizon. People want to be able to trust their wireless phone service, he noted, and that means 24/7 service. Verizon has repeatedly let consumers down.
"Verizon is really trying to step out against AT&T. AT&T's stats are getting quite a bit better. Verizon's are getting quite a bit worse," Enderle said. "If Verizon was looking for any long-term pick up, it seems much less likely they will get it now. It's unfortunate timing because AT&T is actually strengthening, so Verizon may actually end up losing more customers to AT&T."
Ghost in the Network
After December's second outage, some consumers reported ongoing issues that have yet to be resolved. Verizon's online forums offer reports of all sorts of issues with its products -- and some customers vowing not to stay with the company.
"Since the Verizon outage a week or so ago my hotspot will not pick up 4G. this is in Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Md., where I've never had anything less than 10 mbps. I'm now lucky to get 1.5. No amount of resetting changes it," wrote a customer using the name landsw on Verizon's online forum.
Another Verizon customer who uses the handle suspicious99 reported trouble with his computer data card service for the past few weeks that resulted in no Internet service.
"I believe the problem lies with Verizon and switching over to 4G," he wrote. "They are taking towers off line and redoing the electrical equipment, therefore a call has to go to the next tower."