Yesterday afternoon, reports started to come out that there were problems with the Verizon Wireless high-speed 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network. According to the Wall Street Journal, Verizon rolled out its 4G network in 45 metropolitan areas last December, and this is the first major problem with it.
A Reuters news story reported that voice calls on Verizon's Thunderbolt LTE-enabled phone worked, but that data speeds were "slow." Other stories reported data speeds as being nonexistent, however, and also reported that voice calls were out as well.
The WSJ reported that the problems began around 0100 EDT yesterday morning, and they have apparently persisted into this morning. The WSJ is now reporting that Verizon Wireless claims that it had restored service to the New York area and was working to restore it in other areas.
Verizon Wireless is a joint venture between Verizon Communications and the UK wireless company Vodafone. Vodafone Australia, you may recall, has been having a host of problems all its own for the past several months which reared up once more on Easter Sunday.
According to ZDNet Australia, Vodafone's text messaging service went out on Sunday at about 1430 AEST, and lasted until 2230. Vodafone, per its protocol, apologized to its customers "for the inconvenience."
ZDNet reported in another story Tuesday that Vodafone told it that:
"The disruption to SMS services on Sunday afternoon was caused by a network fault in one of our exchanges. Engineers are currently completing their investigation, but the fault was an isolated issue that affected the core network elements which manage our SMS traffic."
Vodafone customers - those that are left, anyway - were more than a little displeased at not being able to send "Happy Easter" messages to friends and family.
ZDNet reported that:
"In the course of the service disruption, customers took to Twitter and Facebook to lodge complaints about the service, with "vodafail" becoming the top trending topic in Australia on Twitter for a day, and a Facebook group devoted to the outage gaining 20,000 members in the time that SMS services were offline."
It would be interesting to see how much of an overlap there is between the 20,000 mentioned above and the now 22,000 Australians that The Australian reports have joined a class action lawsuit against Vodafone for "misleading and deceptive conduct," i.e., not providing the service it advertised. The lawsuit had 9,000 prospective members back in January.
Vodafone announced on its blog that in light of the text messaging outage, that on the 1st of May, between 0800 and 2000 AEST, text messaging would be free. The offer has done little to quell Vodafone customers' irritation, however.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.