Once the Tom Brady of the cellular-services league, Verizon Wireless is looking a lot more like Tim Tebow these days, struggling from some uncharateristic lapses in service and a major public-relations gaffe as the calendar turns to 2012. And in what might be a signal that its 4G LTE service still isn’t generating the kind of sales Verizon would like, the company is continuing its double data promotions for new 4G LTE phones in January, as evidenced by some new TV commercials airing during the big bowl game broadcasts.
In December, Verizon suffered not one, not two but three separate LTE outages, a breakdown so unusual that the company actually provided a spokesperson to speak with the GigaOM blog to explain its side of the story. In previous LTE outages Verizon had taken the silent approach, not commenting other than to say “the network’s working again.” But its mea culpa to GigaOM’s Kevin Fitchard (where Verizon tried the sympathy route, saying as the leader they deserved to have some “growing pains”) is just one sign that the big rule-the-air thing isn’t up to the usual Verizon network standards.
And then there was the whole $2 fee thing, where Verizon tried to sucker punch its customers who didn’t want to sign up for automatic payments by slapping them with a two-buck “convenience” charge. As most of the free world piled on with indignation Verizon quickly backed down but the kerfluffle just added to a month’s performance that Big Red would probably like to forget.
Of continuing interest to us here at LTE central is the extension of Verizon’s double data plans, which gives new 4G LTE phone customers twice the monthly downloadable data over previous plan pricing. So, say for $30 you now get 4 GB of data per month, instead of the 2 GB you used to get. The HTC Thunderbolt, once the cool new 4G thang, is also deeply discounted — you can get it new for $99 online.
Since our latest report, the 4G LTE MARKET REPORT for January, 2012, pointed out that Verizon is struggling to convert customers to its new network, don’t be surprised if these “promotions” become somewhat permanent as Verizon tries to pad its lead before AT&T and Sprint can get their LTE networks built out. For a more detailed explanation of the subject, go ahead and buy yourself a copy of the report — for $1.99 you get the full 16 pages of analysis, with no extra convenience fees for downloading (though it costs a buck extra on Kindle and through Lulu) and we guarantee, no outages or Tebow-like collapses.