Verizon Wireless customers have a lot to be angry at for the moment. The carrier posted on Twitter that the latest of its 4G outages is over, with the added message that 3G data and normal call functions weren't affected. The half-day interruption in service was the third in December ,and the problem is becoming an increasingly black eye on Verizon's reputation as "America's most reliable network". Add to that a new foible for Verizon: an increasingly irate comment thread at the carrier's support forum says that new phones aren't activating via Verizon's servers, something that's been echoed in our own comments section.
The problem has persisted for at least 24 hours for some users, and at this point it can't be blamed on the 4G outage. It's leaving new and upgraded users out in the cold without any sort of phone or Internet connection, an irritating prospect for a company that's already battling considerable negative press. The Christmas holiday could be contributing some considerable load - millions of new Android devices were given away this weekend, so perhaps the strain on Verizon's servers was too much. That probably isn't any comfort to customers who have brand-new $300 MP3 players, at least for the moment.
Adding insult to injury, Verizon recently changed its payment terms to add a superfluous $2 charge for any online or phone payment. You have to pay, to pay, unless you'd care to set up an automatic recurring payment. Verizon is positioning the extra $24 a year charge as a "convenience fee", further cementing their other reputation as the most expensive carrier in the United States. No doubt about it, December is turning out to be a long month for Big Red's service department, not to mention public relations.