For the second time in under a month Verizon’s 4G network has been hit with widespread outages, as yesterday customers from coast to coast experienced a lengthy data blackout. In fact, at the time of writing customers were still without 4G LTE services, although Verizon did acknowledge the problem and did promise a swift and decisive response.
Although the problem was said to be confined to Verizon’s 4G network, there were also sporadic complaints that the company’s 3G network wasn’t fully functional as well, leaving many users in data darkness and others relying solely on Wi-Fi to maintain that vital digital lifeline.
There’s no question that such outages are an embarrassment to Verizon, a company that has built its reputation on offering the nation’s most reliable data network, as each subsequent issue mars the company’s image and likely makes AT&T’s dodgy—yet blazingly fast—network look ever more attractive.
While I’m sure that some thought the lost connection on their smartphone GPS, the cancelled download of that important business document, or the inability to access their emails was surely a sign of the end of the world, it turned out to be nothing more than another glitch in Verizon’s wireless network.
After hours of customer complaints yesterday Verizon did finally acknowledge the issue, releasing the following statement. “Verizon Wireless 4G LTE service is returning to normal this morning after company engineers worked to resolve an issue with the 4G network during the early morning hours today…Throughout this time, 4G LTE customers were able to make voice calls and send and receive text messages. The 3G data network operated normally.”
As a brief aside, it looks like that last statement may not have been entirely factual as well, as many customers complained that the company’s 3G service was not operational for periods yesterday either.
Although optimistic about resolving the issue, Verizon representatives gave no indication yesterday about any proposed timeline for the 4G network to resume normal operations, and if the outage earlier this month is any indication, many Verizon customers may still be without network access when this article gets posted early Thursday morning.
But what effect will these outages have on Verizon’s reputation and its customer loyalty? Unless we see a few more significant outages in the near future, my guess is that these two network anomalies will have little to no effect on Verizon’s customer satisfaction and no effect on the company’s reputation. The truth is 4G LTE is still in its infancy, a fledgling technology that is bound to have a few bugs here and there, and I think the public are keenly aware of that.
Simply put, Verizon has a grace period to work with here; it just better gets it network up and running.