Verizon’s LTE Outage: What’s the Fallout?

Though according to Verizon the day-long service outage of its brand-new 4G LTE network is now fixed and to be forgotten, it remains to be seen what the full fallout is over the still-unexplained service interruption, which cut off Verizon 4G customers from their high-speed wireless data connection earlier this week.

Unlike other digital-service concerns like Amazon, which this week issued a very detailed public apology and explanation for its own service outage, Verizon has kept its corporate lips zipped pretty much shut over the LTE outage. Repeated queries to Verizon PR for some details on the outage only resulted in replies like this:

- Our 4G LTE network is up and running. Our network engineers and
vendors quickly identified the issue and solved it.
- Customers using the ThunderBolt have normal service.
- Laptop users with USB modems may need to re-connect to the
network when moving between 3G and 4G. This will continue to improve.

Granted, the LTE outage wasn’t on a business-catastrophe par with the Amazon breakdown — even though Verizon is claiming 565,000 active devices on its LTE network it’s doubtful that any big businesses are betting their entire communications infrastructure on those connections just yet — but the lack of transparency about the outage is hardly confidence-building. And despite several queries Verizon has yet to answer the question about if and when its next 4G smartphone, the Samsung Droid Charge, will launch since its previously scheduled arrival date of April 28 has apparently been pushed back indefinitely.

Another 4G LTE device that is also being delayed — in part due to what Motorola is calling LTE software problems — is the Motorola Droid Bionic, another of the LTE smartphones that Verizon was confidently showing way back at CES in January. Separately, none of these issues would be a very big deal. But with numerous device delays and an unexplained nationwide network crash, the question needs to be asked whether or not Verizon’s new fast network is really solid, or whether it’s still in a sort of beta mode with kinks left to be worked out. At least, that may be the questions users ask when deciding whether or not to sign up for 2-year contracts for a network that might not be there when you need it — and a provider that doesn’t tell you why afterwards.

UPDATE: Andy Abramson, a pro’s pro when it comes to public relations, also thinks Verizon needs to tell more about the outage. So does our old pal Wayne Rash over at eWeek.

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