When Google introduced the new Nexus 7 back in July, we had every reason to believe its tablet would support Verizon's 4G LTE network. The carrier's logo was flashed on screen during the presentation, signaling that the two companies had reached an agreement that would give Google's flagship tablet access to Verizon's vast LTE network — currently the largest in the US. But flash forward to today, and that's clearly not the case.
Google's 4G-enabled Nexus 7 is just now reaching consumers, and multiple reports indicate that Verizon is currently refusing to activate the device. In response to an inquiry from Jeff Jarvis on Twitter, a customer support representative essentially insults Google's hardware, saying "not all LTE tablets are created equal" while pointing out that the Nexus 7 isn't officially part of Verizon's lineup.
@jeffjarvis I'm excited you got your Nexus 7 but not all LTE tablets are created equal. It's not part of our line up & can't be activated^JH— VZW Support (@VZWSupport) September 17, 2013
As such, the device "can't be activated" according to the tweet. Despite this, users have reported that the Nexus 7 functions properly with an LTE SIM card that's been transferred from another Verizon smartphone or tablet (i.e. an iPad). But if you visit a Verizon store looking to get your new tablet up and running, you're likely to be turned away. One possible explanation is that Verizon's employees are running into obstacles activating the Nexus 7. The carrier's internal system may not be prepared for the tablet — despite it being announced two months ago.
Regardless, the fact is that right now you can't access Verizon's LTE network without a workaround, and that's a major concern. When the company picked up wireless spectrum as part of the FCC's 2008 auction, Verizon agreed to "open access" provisions that — in theory — grant any and all compatible devices use of that spectrum. The carrier pledged that it would not restrict the ability for "customers to use the devices and applications of their choice" on that C Block network. At the time, Google made it a point to hold Verizon accountable. In a letter to the FCC, the Nexus 7 maker wrote, "The Commission must ensure that Verizon understands that this license obligation means what it says: Any Apps, Any Devices." The Verge has reached out to both Google and Verizon Wireless for more details on the situation.
Update: Android Central has a statement from Verizon which unfortunately doesn't provide much clarity. "This is not yet a device that is Verizon 4G LTE certified," the statement reads. "We'll let folks know when it's certified." While this obviously makes it clear that the Nexus 7 being certified for Verizon is a possibility, it doesn't definitively state that it's a given. We'll keep you updated with any further details.