Home - , , - Verizon: To Disconnect 8,500 Customers in Rural Areas

Verizon: To Disconnect 8,500 Customers in Rural Areas

verizon-disconnection-rural-areas
Earlier today, Verizon Wireless announced that it will be disconnecting at least 8,500 customers from its wireless network. In the announcement, the wireless carrier explained that this move was to get rid of roaming costs associated with these users that have been making them unprofitable enough to serve.

The 8,500 number largely comes from its rural customers in 13 states namely Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin. Surprisingly, this 8,500 customer count comprises of 19,000 lines.

According to a spokesperson for the carrier, they have already sent out disconnection notices to the affected customers this month. The disconnection will take place on October 17.

In its release, the carrier gave an explanation for such a drastic move; indicating that the customers they will be disconnecting reside in areas outside where Verizon operates their own network. A number of the affected lines consume a large amount of data while roaming on the networks of other providers. And according to the carrier, these lines generate roaming coasts that exceed the monthly amount being paid by these customers.

Not the First Time


This isn't the first time Verizon disconnected its heavy data users in rural areas. Back in June, the wireless carrier disconnected their users who were out of contract but primarily used their mobile data on the networks of other wireless companies. The difference, however, was that last June's decision disconnected only a "small group" of users.

A customer affected by Verizon's decision has reached out to Ars Technica earlier in the week to share that her family never used over 50GB of data across four lines, even though they were on an "unlimited" data plan. With Verizon's decision affecting her, the user plans on telling her friends to "steer clear of Verizon."

When this 50GB cut-off point was brought up with Verizon, the carrier did not give a direct answer. Instead, the carrier said that their current customers in the said areas who do not rack up roaming charges higher than what they pay the carrier every month will not be affected by the disconnection. Moreover, those who reside in areas wherein the carrier operates its own network will not be affected by the disconnection too.

On the letters Verizon sent out to its customers, it does not look like the carrier provided any further options for its customers to stay with Verizon; even if that meant reducing data use. The carrier also noted that customers who fail to take action by the October 17 disconnection date will not be able to transfer their phone numbers to a different provider.

Trouble for Verizon Ahead 


As it stands, Verizon could be in trouble for its decision to disconnect these customers. It looks like small carriers plan to hold the company accountable for its action. One of these carriers, Maine's Wireless Partners, revealed that it was one of the firms chosen to work with Verizon in its plan to expand service in rural areas three years ago. The company was able to construct 13 new towers in Washington County, serving coverage along routes 1 and 9.

After this, Verizon started enticing new customers by offering plans with no data limitations. This was, however, before the company found out the price tag for roaming was higher than they had anticipated. As a result, the carrier wants to pull out of its rural service agreements in these areas-- including the areas which Wireless Partners constructed towers in.

Maine Public Advocate Barry Hopkins notes that Verizon's actions seem like they lured other companies to build out in rural areas throughout the country and greatly promoted this by saying they will be covering these areas. Now that it seems like Verizon is cutting back on this program, small carriers like Wireless Partners plan to "exhaust every effort to cause Verizon Wireless to rethink this decision and to honor the promise of its LRA program under which the network was constructed."

Hopkins is scheduled to meet with Maine Attorney General Janet Mills on how the state plans to respond to Verizon's decision.


Source: Ars Technica, BGR, StopTheCap

Tags: , ,

37 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. "to honor the promise of its LRA program"

    In business there is no such thing as promises. Either they have a legally enforceable contract or they don't. If these carrier spent money building towers without a binding agreement from Verizon then they should have known better. I'm guessing no such agreement exists, otherwise Verizon wouldn't have done this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On one hand you're right.

      On the other, Big Red made a commitment that other people funded, then left them with the costs just because Verizon made an accounting mistake.

      From a moral, non-statist perspective, Verizon should be dragged back to that agreement by force, and then smacked upside the head if they start kicking and screaming like a spoiled brat.

      After all, if you're gonna do business in small town 'murika, then you damned well better be mindful of small town 'murika's values.

      And when those values try to reign in a giant Megacorp that took people's money and used a technical loophole to run off with it, now that's the kind of well deserved tarring and feathering that could even bring a divided country together.

      Hopefully Big Red will get theirs, but they'll probably just bribe their way out of trouble like all big corporations do.

      Delete
  2. I am glad I don't use this company. I wouldn't want any of my money used to facilitate this type of business practice. Seems to me that a few CEO's are going to end up getting called to the principle's office.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That doesn't sound like the nations largest and fastest 4G network. Verizon network can't handle unlimited data, so they cut and run.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not their network.

      They're paying other carriers for roaming, akin to an MVNO.

      It's a matter of course that unlimited data's only feasible if you fully own the network, and thus don't have to render unto Ceasar.

      Delete
  4. 50GB of roaming data per month? I would cut them too. These people need to sign up with the carriers that actually serve their area. They also might want to reconsider their data usage!!

    Verizon is not the bad guy here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) Verizon is the largest carrier, there may not be another in the areas.

      2) There's nothing outrageous at all at using 50 gigabytes of data during a month. Especially when it is distributed across a family. Get real.

      3) Verizon is indeed the bad guy, they have no excuse. This will be a black mark on the company and also on Blammo.

      Delete
    2. The whole point of this article is that Verizon is NOT the local carrier. To roam there must be another carrier.

      50GB on my landline? That is nothing. 50GB on my native cellular carrier? That is OK, but be prepared to pay a bit. 50GB roaming??? That will be costly, or in this case, termination of service.

      Delete
    3. Based on their web site, I don't think Wireless Partners LLC in Maine sells service directly to customers. I think they partnered with Verizon to put up towers to generate income from roaming fees.

      Delete
    4. Verizon committed as a partner, with the intention to provide service to roamers.

      Roamers were the expected norm when Big Red went into this, so in this case they have no right to cry foul.

      If they didn't want to provide unlimited data to roamers, they shouldn't have advertised such a thing.

      Now, all they can do to save face is to either cut data allotments or segregate customers.

      Personally, I'd rather they limit roamers to a data bucket that won't break the bank instead of just cutting them off entirely.

      At that point, Big Red's throwing their corporate credibility out with the bathwater, and signaling to future partners that they'll stab 'em all in the back at the first sign of trouble.

      IMO, I wouldn't do business with them if they succeed, because they'll still use their overwhelming legal might to invalidate whatever ironclad contracts they dislike.

      They're basically trying to turn their own company into an economic pariah, and someone should probably save them from themselves.

      Delete
  5. Guess whose side the FCC is going to come down on

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The guy's who'll be paying them the highest salaries when they stroll back into the private sector.

      Delete
  6. While it is Verizon's right to do this, and rightfully so as these customers are out of network and roaming, they still are dirtbags from the bottom straight to the top of the company. Especially Francis Scammo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Providing service to roamers was the point.

      Instead, Big Red scammed them into subscribing to Verizon service and then kicked 'em off the moment they became a burden.

      It's about right and wrong, not rights and law.

      Delete
  7. "1) Verizon is the largest carrier, there may not be another in the areas."

    How does this statement make any sense when these people are using roaming data on some tower within range of their home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Simple, Those are not Verizon towers, they belong to the local network, that has a roaming agreement with Verizon.

      Delete
  8. I wonder what will happen to customers that bought IPhone 7 on plans?? Will they be charge "early termination fees" and the rest of the payments on the phone? That can amount to about $2000.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Basicly affected customers get to keep their phones for free. According to the notification message, Verizon is waiving any device payments owed for affected customers who purchased their devices before Sept 12.

      Early termination fees never apply when the carrier terminates you, only when you initiate the termination.

      Delete
    2. So can I just go and get a 1000 dollar phone on contract, hack it to roaming only, roam it to kingdom come, and then get my termination letter 3-4 months in and just have paid about 166 dollars for a 1000 dollar phone?

      What will be my standings to open up a new line afterwards with that said company? Will they flag me as an unacceptible client?

      Delete
  9. I guess UScellular gains more customers now in Iowa anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Big Red is too BIG! now they think they can do what they want. Gosh, if I'd pay their crazy prices for their "premium" service, I'd use it heavy also. What about all the guys Nationwide who DONT roam extensively, yet pay mucho bucks? Huh, Verizon?? Doesn't it all work out? Can't wait to see how this will end...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They get more people interested when they advertise "Unlimited", than when they advertise "22GB" plans. If they hadn't started offering unlimited plans, they would have shown customer losses last quarter, while the other 3 all had big gains, which would hit their stock price hard. Of course if they can find loopholes to only provide 1GB of data on their unlimited plans, they're even happier.

      Delete
  11. I smell the end of unlimited data plans.
    The companies may just start giving definite limits, like 20 gigs or 30 gigs and then its down to 128 kbps for the rest of the month.

    Every person on MVNOs know that unlimited talk means between 2000-6000 minutes, and its also enforced, but we keep forgetting that the big four want to have a functioning system and also to make money.
    If their system is to crash with people sucking up hundreds of gigs a month and/or if they are not making a profit, they will just stop this non-sense marketing that is causing them so much trouble and just be straight up front with us= no more UDP!
    20 or 30 gigs and thats it
    or alternatively they could give unlimited data but at lower speeds.
    IMO the real way is with data caps and not speed caps. But a 512 kbps connection, if used at full for 16 hours a day for 30 day will get you a whamping 110.5 gigs a month.
    So then we need to see if it is the amount of total data being transmitted that is causing problems or is it the total amount of data at one time that is causing the problems.
    If its the former, then data caps is the way to go, if its the latter, then speed caps are the way to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Every person on MVNOs know that unlimited talk means between 2000-6000 minutes"

      No one knows or thinks that. No one can know what isn't true.

      Do the math. An unlimited monthly talk-minutes plan means up to 43,200 minutes for a 30-day month, not some arbitrary tiny fraction of that you pulled out of thin air.

      Delete
  12. You datahogs are ruining it for everyone else!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What about many a folks who pay out big $ for data they Never use. Pure profit for the Big 4. All depends on how you see it and what you know. It is all a wash. They do not raise prices because of data hogs. They raise prices because they believe we will pay it. These companies have an incredible amount of data/info, to make these decisions. they understand price sensitivity/pychology better than anyone. Example: Verizon was a little off ($5) on their pricing of their Original unlimited postpaid plans. They were actually ($5) cheaper than AT&Ts Unlimited after more data/info Verizon realized AT7T had it right at the higher price point and Verizon raised thier price to match AT&Ts. Price sensitivity is very important.

      Delete
    2. Data hogs aren't the problem.

      Verizon never should've promised unlimited data on any towers they don't personally own and operate.

      This is why MVNOs don't sell unlimited data, either.

      If there's costs associated with every GB, then the revenue stream can only sustain a limited amount of data.

      Those limitations don't apply to carriers that have already built and paid off their own towers, and thus don't have any of the heavier costs associated with simply operating them.

      But Verizon's presumably getting gouged in order to cover the construction of new rural infrastructure.

      IMO, this was a blatant problem from the very beginning that any remotely rational person could've predicted, so encountering it speaks volumes about Big Red's hiring decisions and HR department.

      On the other hand, it says nothing about data hogs.

      Delete
  13. Specifically where is this in Verizon's ToS?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The TOS says Verizon can disconnect users for "any valid reason".

      Delete
    2. ToS are irrelevant.

      They're designed to be wholly self serving and justify all acts regardless of morality or legality.

      Or rather, because self policing authorities never stay honest due to a lack of independent checks and balances, which in turn allows them to invest in themselves unlimited oppressive powers over their serfs, ToS should be viewed as having no relative legitimacy whatsoever.

      Technically, that also makes the US legal code equally trashy, as there's no independent non-governmental authority to reign in abuses of power by any of the co-equally-corrupt branches of government.

      So yeah, an appeal to authority is technically a fallacious way of determining whether what Verizon did was in any way pragmatically defensible, especially compared to the other options on the table.

      Delete
  14. It's ridiculous for carriers to offer up services, then decide to drop customers using them, because those few turn out not to be profitable. It's not like the customers invented the price and terms of the plan. Verizon made their own bed.

    You know this wouldn't be happening with a Democratic FCC in charge... Many times Verizon decided to deprioritize customers with less expensive plans (like: unlimited) only to get a nasty letter from Wheeler's FCC telling them NOT to try it, or else... Here, my friends, is deregulation in action. Enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For many years, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, carriers have been dropping customers who roam too much. The FCC apparently considers excessive roaming a valid reason to terminate a customer.

      What's different this time is that with LRA, Verizon encouraged regional carriers to invest in expanding service in rural areas with the promise of roaming revenues. Verizon phones don't indicate that the phone is roaming when it's roaming in LRA areas and Verizon's coverage maps show LRA coverage as Verizon LTE.

      Verizon has been misleading both its LRA partners and its customers about the true nature of LTE roaming and that's why this is a bigger issue than the routine disconnection of excessive roamers..

      Delete
  15. They should have given these customers the option to continue their service if they agree to a 100GB/month hard cap. That way only the heavy users would be affected by their new policy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem was four people using an average of 12.5GB each.

      That's barely anything if you're a media junkie.

      If the data limitations were that severe, then rural plans should've been priced according to the actual cost and limitations of providing roaming data.

      After all, the presumption of the existing price structure is that customers will be using the native network for the majority of their usage.

      Verizon knew from the start that this wouldn't be the case.

      Delete
  16. So where can we get a truely unlimited LTE plan?
    Do we need to get a business line?
    Is there any business truely unlimited LTE plan?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Verizon extends deadline, offers service to some rural roamers it had forced to leave its network. extending the deadline to December 1st.

    ReplyDelete
Comment Page :


Comments must be approved before they will appear. The following types of comments will not be approved:
- Off topic, comments should be related to the contents of the post.
- Name calling and insults directed at other commenters.
- Racist, sexist, ableist etc. comments.
- Language you shouldn't use in front of other people's children.