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Thread: Verizon Wireless, the wrong choice

  1. #1
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    Mar 2011
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    Verizon Wireless, the wrong choice

    Perhaps I may offer a little commentary relating to Verizon Wireless, a company for which I served as a customer service representative from the fall of 2004 to March of 2006:

    With Verizon Wireless you unfortunately may be, to some extent in "cell phone jail." Until a couple years ago or so (in response to a lawsuit,) all Verizon Wireless cell phones were permanently locked to the carrier, with no internal policy in place to provide for the contrary. Verizon Wireless subscribers unfortunately have far fewer phones to choose from, than subscribers of the GSM carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile. In addition the Verizon Wireless billing system is programmed to (by default) automatically restrict activation of any device that is not on their approved device list. As of the last time I was able to see this approved device list (some time in early 2008,) only about 250 or so devices were allowed.

    I was working there in the summer of 2005 when suddenly this restriction was implemented, and customers unfortunately were no longer able to use devices they had purchased maybe as recently as one year before. The most common such occurrence where this was encountered was the situation where a customer had lost their new phone, and wanted to activate their previous phone. It was my job to inform the customer that unfortunately their previous phone was not allowed anymore, and therefore purchase of a new phone, usually to involve a contract extension or the payment of full price, was therefore required. Verizon Wireless did this under the false guise that this restriction was intended to help ensure compliance with an FCC mandate. The mandate however, according to Verizon Wireless' own website directed only that phones manufactured and sold by the carrier after a specific date needed to be compliant with the new 911 location information system. The VZW website even informed of the specific exemption the FCC provided in regard to this requirement for customer provided equipment (CPE.) Verizon Wireless apparently did not wish however, to extend this exemption provided by the FCC to the consumer as intended; rather, Verizon Wireless felt it very convenient to pretend that the exemption did not exist, at least on the part of the company's customer service representatives, the majority of which would falsely inform such customers that their phone was no longer allowed by the FCC.

    It is my understanding that VZW may have adopted an open network initiative of some kind, with a process to allow the loading of an MEID (the electronic serial number by which a device is activated) into what they call their DMD (Device Management Database,) thereby allowing its activation. This process was intended to allow the activation of non-carrier branded devices which otherwise would be restricted by default according to their new policy. Unfortunately however only devices deemed to be compliant with the 911 system used by the carrier are permitted through this process. I can say that before leaving in 2006 I likely was one of the few agents at my call center that was even aware of this request process, meaning that it is most probable that a customer wishing to activate such a device would have been given the wrong answer when calling in, and been falsely told that their phone was "not network compliant," simply because the servicing CSR noticed an error message appear on the screen after entering the MEID provided by the customer, something which generally did not happen before the summer of 2005.

    GSM (Global System for Mobile) is the wireless standard used by most of the rest of the world, outside of North America. With GSM you have a SIM card (subscriber identity module) which you can place in any of likely more than 10,000 different models available worldwide, which can be used in conjunction with your same US carrier overseas provided you have requested that international roaming be allowed. VZW's solution to this matter is to extend to you an expensive GSM rental phone option, as your current VZW device is unfortunately not compatible in most areas overseas.

    GSM is the most widely used wireless standard in the world. If I am not mistaken, it is a superior system which provides for maximum efficiency, compatibility, clarity and consumer ease of use. Verizon Wireless uses the inferior primitive CDMA format, and likely will be stuck with this format for some time as the cost of upgrading to the superior system would be too cost prohibitive for them.

    Another not so attractive matter related to Verizon Wireless is the fact that Verizon Wireless was the nation's only wireless carrier that believed you did not deserve to have the right as a consumer to keep your phone number when changing service providers, a consumer friendly government mandate known as LNP (Local Number Portability.) Verizon Wireless decided to petition the FCC and pursue legal action in an attempt to be granted "permanent forbearance" from this requirement. No other company did this. Fortunately however, Verizon Wireless was not successful with this pursuit.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Galaxy Blaze 4G
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    While I can understand the complaints in your post in favor of GSM, I don't see where VZW is the only CDMA carrier you chose to bash. Sprint also locks down devices, all carriers do to some extent. Not allowing the activation of non-carrier devices makes some sense as there can be compatability issues that can adversly affect service. This then negatively affects VZW's ability to offer consistant service therefore degrading their standard of being a reliable carrier. All carriers lock you into a contract with a subsidized device, it's not exclusive but VZW does offer BYOD with no contract as do the other carriers. LNP is important to those who jump carriers regularly to have the latest/best device but is irrelavant to those of us who are happy with a carrier that works for us regardless of the device offerings. CDMA is more stable as far as tower hand-offs go, so calling it antiquated and unreliable is reaching for yet another negative. As a previous poster stated, all carriers are "evil" in their own right. Largely because we can't always get our own way with them. But then again, show me a business that can please everyone all the time and I'll show you a short-lived one.

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    To heck with flowers and candy, leave the jewelry at the store, but when it comes to cell phones, I always want one more.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    New Caprica
    Cylon Droid Communicator
    New Caprica Wireless
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    Thread Closed for double posting.
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