Verizon's brand spanking new LTE network was down -- nationwide -- for effectively all of Wednesday. There were sporadic reports of successful connections by users here and there, but by and large, it was dead. HTC Thunderbolts seemed to be the hardest-hit, often falling all the way down to 1x (read: really, really slow) data speeds, bypassing EV-DO entirely. And coincidentally, my Novatel MiFi 4510L was acting the exact same way -- it was unable to connect either to LTE or EV-DO. Even worse, even though it said it was connected to 1x, I couldn't get anything to load while using it. That might just be because I only need websites and services that require reasonable bandwidth, but the net effect for me is the same: the MiFi was useless.
Had EV-DO continued to operate reliably, this wouldn't have been a big deal, particularly because users pay no more for LTE service than they do for EV-DO service -- and EV-DO is still reasonably fast. Users in LTE markets would definitely notice the slowdown, but they likely wouldn't have been impacted to the point where their devices were basically paperweights.
Phone Scoop received a rather flippant statement from a Verizon spokesman this morning that the company's "network engineers and vendors quickly identified the issue and solved it." Incorrect. For an outage that affects literally every LTE market on the map, a day isn't in even in the ballpark of "quick." Furthermore, they didn't "solve" it, since modems will apparently still have 3G-4G handoff issues that will "improve over time."
For a company that prides itself on rock-solid, business-class network reliability, Verizon owes us three things:
- A detailed breakdown of what went wrong, and why.
- An explanation of how they intend to prevent it from happening again.
- For Thunderbolt and LTE modem / hotspot owners, enough compensation to prove they take uptime seriously.
Particularly for modem owners, remote data access is more than a luxury -- it's how business gets done. And there's nothing ordinary, expected, or acceptable about a day-long complete outage.