Archives for Verizon

Hurricane Michael damaged Verizon Fiber Network

If you live in Florida, Georgia, or Alabama and you have internet with Verizon, there is a good chance you’ve gone without it for days following Hurricane Michael. Four days after the storm landed, 300,000 homes “were still without home Internet, phone, or TV service,” according to Ars Technica, with 200,000 of them being in Florida. 15 percent of cell sites in Florida are suffering outages as well, says the Federal Communications Commission.

Unfortunately, the damage that has left these households without service might be lasting. Although telecoms have worked hard to get their services up and running again, some are facing “extensive fiber damage.”

On Verizon’s webpage for hurricane updates, the company said “The storm caused unprecedented damage to our fiber, which is essential for our network – including many of our temporary portable assets – to work.”

“We continue to work around the clock on network restoration efforts and have seen some positive movement, although fiber connection… still poses a significant challenge. For example, as soon as we have fiber repaired and start to see sites come back on air, we experience new cuts resulting from other restoration efforts happening in the community such as clearing roads, residential property clearing, and replacing electric poles,” Verizon explained.

This isn’t completely devastating for Verizon’s business in the states hit by Hurricane Michael. According to the carrier, 99 percent of its network in Georgia is in service, and 98 percent in Florida. It says, “”[T]he hardest hit area of Panama City, Panama City Beach and the surrounding communities [are] still experiencing the most impact.”

Source: Verizon fiber suffered “unprecedented” damage from Hurricane Michael
Published: October 15, 2018

U.S Department of Justice investigating Verizon and AT&T

It was announced this week that the U.S Justice Department is investigating carriers Verizon and AT&T, as well as “mobile industry standards-setting group” GSMA for allegations that they colluded to create eSIM standards that would make it harder for customers to switch their wireless carriers. These investigations have reportedly been happening for five months, after Apple, among other companies, filed complaints with the DoJ.

According to Android Authority, “eSIM stands for Embedded SIM and it replaces the need for physical SIM cards. The technology is especially important in wearables and smaller devices where space is at a premium.”

One of the cool things about eSIM tech is that it allows users to switch wireless networks without having to get a new SIM card, and instead the process is done using an app. The possibilities of widespread acceptance of this tech include ease in using wireless services abroad, and taking advantages of deals from different domestic carriers unencumbered.

You can see why this would worry carriers, who have tried and been prevented for years from making it very difficult for a consumer to switch networks with ease. This technology takes a lot of power out of the hands of the providers and gives it to the consumers.

GSMA has confirmed that it “developed an eSIM standard that would allow carriers to lock devices to its network.” Thus destroying the potential benefits to the consumer. This technology is suspended pending investigation.

Source: AT&T, Verizon under investigation over alleged anti-consumer eSIM plans
Published: April 23, 2018

Verizon hit with lawsuit after installing unauthorized cables

Here’s a great reminder to telcos to not leave their cables lying around! A developer in Orlando, Florida found its office tower project significantly delayed after Verizon installed an unauthorized cable on site. The developer, Lincoln Property Company, claims this added about $500,000 in unexpected costs to the project.

In August, Lincoln Property Company says “an underground cable line was unexpectedly discovered” on the project site, delaying construction. The developer claims the cable was never properly authorized before installation, and moreover, when Verizon showed Lincoln Property Company maps of the site, the cable was never included.

The worst part, according to Lincoln Property Company, was that Verizon waited three months after discovery to send a crew to remove the cable.

According to Fierce Telecom, the lawsuit outlines the property damage, fees, and other expenses incurred by Lincoln Property Company to remove the cable, as well as losses caused by the delay. The lawsuit also asks for attorneys’ fees and administrative costs.

Source: fiercetelecom.com – Verizon gets hit with lawsuit over unauthorized cable in Orlando
Published: March 23, 2018

Verizon Go Unlimited now covers Canada and Mexico

If you’re subscribed or planning on subscribing to Verizon’s Go Unlimited plan, this week your money will be getting you more access all across the continent. From January 25 onward, the Go Unlimited plan covers talk, text, and data charges while you’re in Canada and Mexico.

Before January 25, Go Unlimited customers traveling to Canada and Mexico have to get a TravelPass if they want their charges covered. The pass will only cost you five dollars a day, but it’s even better not to pay anything. And a Verizon spokesperson has assured PC Mag that “new and existing customers on the Go Unlimited plan can take their talk, text and data with them to Mexico and Canada at no extra charge.”

There are some caveats, of course. Access in Canada and Mexico won’t be truly as unlimited as in the United States. According to PC Mag, “access to 4G LTE data in Mexico and Canada will be capped at 500MB per day. After you eat through that, Verizon will throttle your connection to 2G speeds until the next day.”

Other new perks to be introduced on January 25 include unlimited calling from the US to Mexico and Canada.

Verizon is willling to trade customers their privacy for perks

Data tracking and targeted advertising is a controversial topic, and the majority of internet users are against ISPs selling their history and invading their privacy. Verizon’s answer to this issue? Rewards for compliance!

According to Top Tech News, America’s largest carrier is proposing a new loyalty program, in which it gives customers “experiences you won’t stop talking about” and “rewards you really, really want,” in return for enrolling in the Verizon Selects marketing program. You start gaining rewards after spending at least $300 on any Verizon service.

According to the company, Verizon Selects “uses information about your web browsing, app usage, device location, use of Verizon services and other information about you” in order to use targeted advertising.  Offering rewards like concert tickets in return for data might seem a little over the top, but Verizon actually has quite a lot of incentive.

“Information and a competitive edge derived from a large number of users whose data a company can mine, and to which it can market, is in some cases the most valuable asset of a digital company these days,” Orly Lobel, a law professor at the University of San Diego, told Top Tech News.

This new loyalty program is called Verizon Up, and it offers some interesting perks. Not only will users have the opportunity to get discount on future devices, but Verizon also promises “exclusive access to prime sporting events, shows, concerts and live experiences.”

Yahoo legally responsible for data breaches

According to Reuters, a United States court has decided that lawsuits against Yahoo regarding two major hacking events can move forward. The hacking events took place in 2013 and 2014 and impacted a billion and 500 million users respectively. Since then, five class action suits have brought against the web company by account holders whose personal information and security has been compromised.

Yahoo dismissed the case on the grounds that the victims did not have the legal standing to sue, but US District Judge Lucy Koh rejected this, stating, ““All plaintiffs have alleged a risk of future identity theft, in addition to loss of value of their personal identification information.”

According to The Verge, this lawsuit is bad news for Verizon, which now owns Yahoo: “Verizon reduced its acquisition offer by $350 million following the disclosure of the breaches, purchasing the site for $4.48 billion in cash.”

Verizon modified prepaid data plans

verizonAs of June 6, Verizon has modified its prepaid data plans, making them more appealing to the customers who did not buy the unlimited plan for $80 a month this past April. If you can’t afford or don’t need this upper-tier plan, Verizon’s newly revised plans might fit your bill.

According to The Verge, the new plans consist of 3GB for $40 a month, 7GB for $50, or 10GB for $60. Before June 6, these same plans were 2GB for $40 a month, 5GB for $50, and 10GB for $70.

Unfortunately, the price cut does not come without drawbacks. All of the new plans are limited to video streams of 480p, with the possibility of tethering. The unlimited plan does not include tethering. 480p is not excellent quality, but if you’re not big on streaming video, it might be worth saving a bit of money each month.

Pennsylvania woman hit with surprise bill from Verizon

verizonChristine Paparo of Upper Saucon, Pennsylvania is not a heavy data user, relying mainly on her WiFi for video and her home phone for communication. Needless to say, Paparo was shocked when Verizon sent her a bill for $2,385 for data – seven times her family of five’s usual monthly bill.

According to The Morning Call, August’s phone bill showed that Paparo’s phone had used 172 gigabytes, with nearly all usage happening within a span of five days. Paparo, naturally, decided to challenge the bill, and told The Morning Call that several customer service agents “acknowledged it wasn’t typical and said they would investigate.”

“Every time you call and talk to somebody and they look at the account and they look into the history, they tell you it’s very unusual for that telephone number,” Paparo told the paper. Despite this, Verizon concluded there was no billing mistake and network error, and that Paparo and her family were responsible for the charges. She was offered $400 off the bill and 2GB free per month for the life of her phone, but Paparo wasn’t satisfied with this solution.

Paparo is now suing Verizon Wireless, seeking damages of $2,948 to cover disputed charges and the cost of buying out two of the family’s phones. The Paparos will also be transferring to a new carrier. The hearing is scheduled for November 8th.

Verizon Under Fire Again for Overcharging

verizonAccording to Fortune, the Federal Communications Commission has recently confirmed it is investigating complaints from Verizon Wireless customers about strange data billing. Among those complaints are upticks in customers’ mobile usage when they’re asleep, data usage surging from single digits into hundreds of gigabytes, and even a case of a deceased man’s phone suddenly triggering overages on his widow’s account.

The billing issues were first uncovered by financial reporter and columnist for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Teresa Dixon Murray. She also revealed an error in 2010 that led to a substantial fine for Verizon. Murray wrote that her family received extra charges for usage that apparently happened while the family slept, leading to a series of replies from Verizon customers across the country who had experienced the same or a similar problem.

Now, six years later, the stories are not only still flooding in, but being taken seriously. One woman was charged for using wireless data on a flip phone that was not data-compatible. In another story, a woman named Joyce Shinn was surprised to find that her husband’s bill started showing data charges a year after his death.

Perhaps the most significant of all is the story of Valerie Gerbus, whose reported data usage skyrocketed from 4GB one month to 596GB the next. Gerbus was charged a whopping $8,535, plus a $600 fee when she decided to cancel her plan. Although Verizon eventually waived the bill and claimed that they resolved the situation, the company refused to provide details about the initial problem.

Various Verizon representatives have responded to Murray’s probing on these billing errors, attributing them to consumer error or popular, automatic smartphone features that prioritize using data over Wi-Fi.

The FCC hopes their investigation will determine whether these issues are a coincidental collection of consumer errors or rather something more nefarious, or simply ignorant, by Verizon Wireless.

Verizon Interested in Yahoo Internet Biz

verizonVerizon hopes to expand into a new domain by submitting a second-round bid of $3 billion for Yahoo’s core internet business. Verizon has made it clear that it is not looking to buy all of Yahoo – it has no interest in patents, real estate, or other such assets.

The amount Verizon is pledging was predicted by the Wall Street Journal, which reported the bid would be between $2 billion and $3 billion. However, as of April, Yahoo’s web properties were estimated to sell for between $4 billion and $8 billion, so the Verizon bid is considerably lower. Not unexpectedly, Yahoo is expected to enter in a third round of bidding.

Verizon acquired AOL last year for $4.4 billion, making the potential Yahoo purchase a sensible move. The telecom giant would likely use Yahoo’s web base of over a billion actively monthly users to expand its growing online ad business.

*Source: Reuters