Verizon Network Faces Third Strike

by Matt Klassen on December 29, 2011

It’s becoming abundantly clear that Verizon was on Santa’s Naughty List this year, receiving nothing but a lump of coal from the jolly old fat man. For the third time in less than a month Verizon’s network has suffered a significant outage, with customers reporting an inability to secure a data connection with either the company’s 3G or faster 4G networks in many major metropolitan centres yesterday.

As always Verizon promptly acknowledged the issue but was deceptively coy about the breadth or duration of the outage all the while maintaining that the issue affected only the company’s 4G network and that its 3G network remained intact.

This outage couldn’t have come at a worse time, with the company’s image already tarnished by two previous outages in December alone. While the public are generally patient with hiccups in new technology, in this case Verizon’s 4G LTE wireless network, the grace period does not last forever and with Verizon seemingly unable to get things stabilized, it doesn’t look like a good start to 2012.

While network issues like this are hardly news if we happen to be discussing AT&T, T-Mobile, or even Sprint, it is big news when we’re talking about Verizon, as the company has built its entire national marketing campaign on the fact that its network is the most reliable in the country. Take away Verizon’s rock steady network… and you’re not left with much.

In a statement to tech site CNET a Verizon spokesperson wrote the following:

“We are investigating reports of some customers experiencing trouble accessing the 4G LTE network,” Verizon said in a statement issued to CNET. “The network itself continues to operate and all customers continue to be able to make calls, send text messages and utilize data services. 3G devices are operating normally.” If this statement has a sort of a déjà vu feel to it, it’s because it’s almost verbatim what the company wrote six days ago when it faced its last nationwide outage.

At the time I wrote that two 4G outages in a month was nothing to worry about for Verizon, a company that has long prided itself on its unmatched network reliability. Even after the two outages Verizon could merely write the issues off as network glitches, the growing pains of 4G LTE technology.

But as I’ve seen so many times in the past, the duration of America’s patience is closely linked to the nation’s love of baseball, and with three strikes now against Verizon the company’s grace period has come to a crashing halt, and this time customers want answers.

Of course answers are something that Verizon, or any other major wireless company for that matter, is never eager to give, offering only the usual platitudes meant to temporarily appease its frustrated customers while the company tries to figure out what’s going wrong with their normally reliable wireless service.

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