Verizon Wireless

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Cellco Partnership
Trading name Verizon Wireless
Type
Industry Telecommunications
Founded Bedminster, New Jersey, United States (April 4, 2000 (2000-04-04))
Headquarters Basking Ridge, New Jersey, United States
Number of locations 2,330
Area served United States
Key people
  • Dan Mead (CEO)
  • Andrew Davies (CFO)
  • Marni Walden (COO)
Services Mobile telephony
Parent Verizon Communications
Website verizonwireless.com
References: [1][2][3]

Verizon Wireless, the trade name of Cellco Partnership (branded and referred to as Verizon), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc. Verizon Wireless provides wireless services to 123.5 million subscribers as of Q2 2014.[4]

Headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, the company was originally a joint venture of American telecommunications firm Bell Atlantic, which would soon become Verizon Communications, and global British telecommunications company Vodafone.[5]

Verizon Wireless' slogan is "That's Powerful", a slogan that is also used in other Verizon assets.

History[edit]

Verizon Wireless location in Miamisburg, Ohio

On April 3, 2000, Verizon Communications began operations as the result of the merger between Bell Atlantic and GTE. Before that, however, in September 1999, UK-based Vodafone AirTouch Plc. had announced a $90-billion joint venture with Bell Atlantic to establish a wireless service provider. The venture received regulatory approval in six months, and began operations as Verizon Wireless on April 4, 2000. Verizon Communications owned 55%, and UK-based Vodafone Group (formerly Vodafone AirTouch) owned 45%.[6][7] It consisted of the two companies' U.S. wireless assets: Bell Atlantic Mobile and AirTouch Paging.[1] On June 30, with the addition of GTE Wireless' assets, in connection with the formation of Verizon Communications, made Verizon Wireless the largest mobile network operator in the United States. It held that position until Cingular's acquisition of AT&T Wireless in 2004, and again after their acquisition of Alltel in 2009.[8]

At the end of 2006, Verizon Wireless acquired West Virginia Wireless, a regional GSM cell phone company. On July 30, 2007, Rural Cellular Corporation (Unicel) announced it agreed to be acquired by Verizon Wireless (a CDMA cellular network technology carrier). Verizon said that it plans to convert RCC's GSM customers to CDMA-based cellular technology, but will continue to operate RCC's current GSM network in order to generate roaming revenue. On August 1, 2008, the FCC voted to approve the deal. Per the Department of Justice, Verizon will divest certain properties in New York, Vermont, and Washington in order to complete the acquisition.[9] In mid-2007, Ramcell of Oregon made a deal to sell its assets to Verizon Wireless. Integration of local company to increase coverage area in Southern Oregon began in late 2010. On January 22, 2008 SureWest Communications announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the operating assets of its Wireless business to Verizon Wireless. On June 5, 2008, Verizon Wireless announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Alltel for $5.9 billion, plus the assumption of debt, in a deal that will create the biggest mobile phone company in the U.S. surpassing AT&T. Based on Alltel's projected net debt at closing of $22.2 billion, the aggregate value of the deal is $28.1 billion. The FCC approved Verizon's purchase of Alltel Wireless by a vote of 5–0 on November 4, 2008.[10] The FTC approved of the acquisition on December 10, 2008.[11] On January 9, this deal was finalized, making Verizon Wireless the largest carrier in the country. November 2008, Verizon Wireless purchased 2 markets in Kentucky formerly belonging to Dobson Communications from AT&T. This purchase closed the I75 corridor from Lexington, KY to Tennessee in which Verizon was lacking service. It also added about 40,000 customers to the Verizon wireless network.

On May 8, 2009, AT&T announced an agreement to sell five Centennial Wireless service areas in Louisiana and Mississippi to Verizon Wireless, pending upon FCC approval of AT&T's acquisition of Centennial.[12] Also on May 8, 2009 AT&T announced a definitive agreement to acquire wireless assets from Verizon Wireless for $5.35 billion in cash. Under terms of the agreement, AT&T will acquire wireless properties, including licenses, network assets and 1.5 million current subscribers in 79 service areas, primarily in rural areas across 18 states. Verizon Wireless is required to divest these properties as part of the regulatory approvals granted for its purchase of Alltel earlier this year. The states represented are: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.[13] On February 17, 2012, Verizon announced the purchase of Southeastern New Mexico wireless markets belonging to Plateau Wireless. The purchase will expand Verizon Wireless' brand and network footprint in southeastern New Mexico to the counties of Eddy, Chaves, Lea and a portion of Lincoln that it doesn't already serve with its own native network.[14]

In June 2013, it was revealed, through a leaked secret court document and subsequent commentary from elected officials, that for the previous seven years the NSA had required Verizon to provide all metadata relating to the phone calls of its customers. This practice continues.[15][16]

On September 2, 2013, Verizon Communications announced that it would buy out Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless in a deal valued at $130 billion.[6][17] Under the terms of the deal, Vodafone would get $58.9 billion in cash, $60.2 billion in Verizon stock, and an additional $11 billion from smaller transactions.[18] The sale closed on February 21, 2014.[19][20]

Network[edit]

Company owned retail store in Hillsboro, Oregon

Verizon Wireless is one of two major U.S. carriers that use CDMA2000, the other being Sprint Corporation. Alltel also used CDMA2000 before becoming part of Verizon Wireless. Other regional carriers that use CDMA2000 are: U.S. Cellular, Cricket, and MetroPCS used to use CDMA, now it's on LTE (see List of United States mobile phone companies for more information). Verizon supports 3 generations of CDMA-based cellular network technologies (IS-95, 1x, and EV-DO) in addition to 4G. 4G connectivity was released on Sunday December 5, 2010 in 38 cities. At that time, 4G service was only offered as a mobile broadband data option. 4G-Compatible Verizon mobile phones were released in the first quarter of 2011.[21]

Verizon Wireless offers voice services as well as 3G data services such as wireless broadband based on EV-DO Rev A, text and picture messaging, over-the-air downloadable applications and content from its "Media Center" (previously called, Get-It-Now) service, Video on Demand in the form of V CAST (which allows customers to download and view video content), location-based services, and Push-to-Talk.

On June 30, 2007, Verizon Wireless completed the overhaul of the entire EV-DO network to EV-DO Rev. A. This enables PC Cards and certain phones to obtain theoretical peak download speeds of 3.1 Mbit/s and upload speeds of up to 1.8 Mbit/s.[22] The actual download and upload speeds vary due to a number of factors, and users will typically see speeds close to 1 Mbit/s down, and 500 kbit/s up.

On November 27, 2007, Verizon Wireless announced plans to allow all cell phones compatible with their CDMA-based cellular network technology to run on their network. Users of such phones are also allowed to use any application they wish.

However, on September 20, 2007, Verizon Wireless announced a joint effort with the Vodafone Group to transition their networks to the 4G standard LTE[23] and on November 29, 2007, Verizon Wireless announced that they would start LTE trials in 2008. On December 9, 2008, Verizon announced that they intend to build and begin to roll out an LTE network, by the beginning of 2011.[24] Adopting LTE would make for a gradual shift away from Verizon Wireless’ current use of CDMA-based cellular network technology and offer increased operability for users traveling worldwide.[25]

On January 25, 2009, Verizon Wireless released its first Femtocell called the Verizon Wireless Network Extender.[26]

Verizon operates "America's Largest and Most Reliable Wireless Network," covering approximately 300 million people.[27]

On December 5, 2010 Verizon Wireless launched its "4G LTE" (Long Term Evolution) network. In an announcement made on January 6, 2011, from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Verizon Wireless stated in the first half of 2011 they will release: 10 new LTE devices including, five smartphones, two tablets, two netbooks, and two MiFi hotspots.[28] According to OpenSignal average download speeds on Verizon LTE in June 2013 were 19.9Mbit/s. [29]

Radio Frequency Summary[edit]

Further information: UMTS frequency bands and LTE frequency bands

The following is a list of known 3G and LTE frequencies which Verizon employs in the United States:

Frequencies used on the Verizon Network
Frequency Band Band number Protocol Class Status Notes
850 MHz Cellular 0 1xRTT/EV-DO/eHRPD 3G Active
1900 MHz PCS 1 1xRTT/EV-DO/eHRPD 3G Active Planning to refarm to 4G in 2015[30]
700 MHz Block C 13 LTE 4G Active Full coverage achieved at the end of Q2 2013[31]
1700/2100 MHz AWS 4 LTE 4G Active [32] Additional band for increased bandwidth

Advertising[edit]

In 2000, Verizon Wireless advertised they were the largest cellular network in the country by showing people using cell phones and then gesturing with two fingers, much like the World War II-era "V for Victory" sign, to show that the person was on the Verizon "V" or "iN" network. The slogan for Verizon Wireless at that time was "Join in." Remnants of the slogan "Join in" was used in their marketing scheme up to this day. i.e., "iN-calling", "iN-messaging", and even the toll-free number "1-800-2-JOIN-IN."

Later, Verizon adopted the slogan "We never stop working for you," with commercials starting in 2002 featuring a Verizon employee in a variety of everyday places continuously asking, "Can you hear me now? Good." The employee is played by stage actor Paul Marcarelli The "test man" represents Verizon test technicians.[33]

In 2005, Verizon Wireless added an "army" of network engineers into their commercials in conjunction with the "test man" and introduced the slogan "It's the Network." to emphasize their network quality. (Verizon Wireless still uses the slogan "We never stop working for you." from time to time –especially on their website, toll-free number, and shopping bags.)

In 2008, Verizon Wireless sponsored Korean pop sensation Se7en further helping Se7en trademark his name in America and promote his U.S. debut single that was released in spring 2009.

Also in 2008, Verizon Wireless began a new television advertising campaign, with parodies of horror movies (including The Shining), with people trying to scare a main character with tales of a Dead Zone where calls cannot be made, who calmly responds that he or she has Verizon, and then the slogan appears, "Don't be afraid of Dead Zones."

In early 2009, Verizon Wireless officially dropped the "IN" campaign. Previously, calls between two Verizon Wireless subscribers were referred to as IN calling, but will now be referred to as Mobile-to-Mobile calling. With this change, Verizon Wireless also renamed their prepaid service Verizon Wireless Prepaid from iNPulse (which was previously FreeUp) to Prepay.[34]

Late in 2009, Verizon began ads that made use of the iPhone "There's an app for that" slogan, changing it to "There's a map for that" (see below). They began with maps showing large areas of the United States covered in red to represent Verizon's 3G service, with very limited areas in blue to show 3G service for AT&T, which at the time was required to use the full capabilities of the iPhone.[35] The ads progressively got more aggressive, including one where the iPhone was placed on the Island of Misfit Toys.[36]

In 2010 Verizon launched its latest advertising campaign creating the new tagline "Rule The Air." The campaign boasts Verizon's allegedly superior ability to "send a strong signal" and early advertisements heavily feature Verizon's range of Android powered smartphones.

In 2011, Paul Marcarelli reprised his role as the Verizon test man to promote the Verizon iPhone 4, slamming AT&T's network when he answers a phone call using the iPhone with, "Yes, I can hear you now."[37]

In 2013 Verizon Wireless began using the slogan "That's Powerful."

At the 2012 United States Grand Prix the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, featured Verizon logos on their cars' sidepods and drivers' overalls.

A panoramic view within a Verizon Wireless Store, Norwalk, CT, United States
A panoramic view within a Verizon Wireless Store, Norwalk, Conn., taken in 2012.

Awards[edit]

2004[edit]

  • Best Wireless Product – Wireless Systems Design, February 11, 2004
  • Highest Customer Service Quality Rating – RCR Wireless News, January 21, 2004
  • Carrier of the Year – Wireless Week, March 22, 2004
  • Best Place to Work in IT – ComputerWorld, June 14, 2004
  • Best Overall Carrier – Laptop Magazine, May 2004
  • 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers – Working Mother, October 2004
  • Reader's Choice – PC Magazine, November 29, 2004

2005[edit]

  • Gold Well Workplace – The Wellness Councils of America, September 2005
  • Top 125 Training Organizations in America – Training Magazine
  • 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers – Working Mother

2006[edit]

  • Carrier of the Year – Wireless Week, April 1, 2006
  • Best Place to Work in IT – Computerworld, June 19, 2006
  • Tops For Diversity – DiversityBusiness.com, March 30, 2006
  • Training Top 100 – Training Magazine, March 2006
  • Best Wireless Service Provider in the World – Business Traveler, December 4, 2006
  • 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers – Working Mother, September 2006
  • Most Reliable and Responsive Web Site – The Keynote Service Level Rankings Study, September 14, 2006
  • Highest Ranked Wireless Customer Service Performance (in a Tie) – J.D. Power and Associates, July 26, 2006
  • Top Honors For Online Customer Experience – The Customer Respect Group, July 21, 2006
  • Highest in Customer Satisfaction With Business Wireless Service – J.D. Power and Associates, May 17, 2006
  • Leading in Customer Satisfaction – ACSI, May 16, 2006
  • Highest Overall Satisfaction Among Wireless Telephone Users in Mid-Atlantic, West, Northeast, Southeast and North Central Region (all in a Tie) – J.D. Power and Associates, April 18, 2006
  • 1st in Diversity – DiversityInc, April 19, 2006
  • Highest Call Quality Performance Among Wireless Cell Phone Users in Northeast Region in a Tie, Mid-Atlantic Region and Southeast Region – J.D. Power and Associates, March 16, 2006

2007[edit]

  • Carrier of the Year – Wireless Week, April 1, 2007
  • Tops in Customer Satisfaction – Vocal Laboratories, October 23, 2007
  • 25 Companies That Are Good for the World and Your Wallet – CareerBuilder.com, September 24, 2007
  • 100 Best Company for Working Mothers – Working Mother, September 2007
  • Health & Wellness Trailblazer – Alliance for Workplace Excellence, June 26, 2007
  • Best Place To Work in IT – Computerworld, June 19, 2007
  • Leading in Customer Satisfaction – ACSI, May 15, 2007
  • Top 125 Training Organizations in America – Training Magazine, March 2, 2007
  • Top Corporation For Diversity – DiversityBusiness.com, January 22, 2007

2008[edit]

  • Top 125 Training Organizations in America – Training Magazine, February 2008
  • Top Green-IT Companies for 2008 – Computerworld, February 15, 2008
  • Carrier of the Year – Wireless Week, April 2008

2009[edit]

  • World's Best Wireless Data Service Provider Business Traveler, December 17, 2009
  • Winner in the 2009 Readers' Choice Survey for Cellular Services PCMag.com, September 15, 2009
  • The Best in Call Quality ConsumerSearch.com, March 2009

Content delivery systems[edit]

Get it now, VCast, and VZNavigator[edit]

Overview[edit]

Get It Now is Verizon Wireless' implementation of Qualcomm's BREW technology, allowing a user to download and use applications on a Verizon Wireless Get It Now-enabled phone. It is a proprietary interface to download ringtones, music, games, applications, and use instant messaging on a phone. Users usually are unable to load content on the Verizon Wireless phones outside of Get It Now system; this is done for financial reasons. Verizon Wireless has exclusivity agreements with its Get It Now content providers (this is a walled garden system). Sometimes cell phone enthusiasts perform unsupported modifications to their phones or use 3rd-party software to make the phone accept non- Get It Now -originated content, or use free services that send ring tones through picture messaging, like Mobile17. In 2008 Verizon Wireless announced that their "Get It Now" service will be renamed "Media Center" on all their future phones beginning with the LG EnV2.

On March 25, 2011, Verizon sent a software update to Get It Now to users of some older phones. If the phone was not activated at that time, or had a data block, the phone did not receive the required update to continue Get It Now functionality. Phone models known to be affected include the LG VX8100, LG VX8300 and LG VX9100 series. Subscribers with these phones can no longer acquire applications, update applications and software or access Backup Assistant from their phones unless they visit a Verizon Wireless Retail Store and have the phone flashed with the update.

All applications through Get It Now/Media Center are BREW-based and the selection differs depending on what Verizon phone one is using.

Many first-time mobile phone users freely access the internet through internet-capable phones ("Mobile Web"), only to find that a sizable charge has been added to their phone bill at month's end. Verizon currently charges $1.99 per megabyte (in 2009) and $10 per 75 megabytes downloaded into the phone from the internet. This is called "Megabyte Usage" or "Data Usage". Whenever anyone accesses the internet, the charge is incurred, because in order to access the web, web pages must be downloaded into the phone for viewing. New customers are often confused on what activities incur a charge and which activities do not. Visiting 50 web pages is a download of .3 MB. A visit to Media Center/Get It Now page incurs a charge, even if nothing is bought/downloaded. Music, games or ringtones downloads incurs the MB charge, but Picture/Video messaging (MMS) does not charge. Whenever data is being downloaded into the phone, a little phone icon with arrows going back and forth appears. Blocks can be set by account owner to block specific types of downloads. If a specific type of unlimited download is included in the customer's plan, then the customer is charged a flat fee per month instead of per MB.[38][39]

VZ Navigator[edit]

Main article: VZ Navigator

Within Get It Now, Verizon has implemented an A-GPS navigation application, VZ Navigator, that works for the most part like a standalone A-GPS unit. Users can also locate businesses within their vicinity, searching by category or business name. Users can type in addresses and receive turn by turn directions to their destination.

V CAST[edit]

Main article: V CAST

Also within Get It Now/Media Center is V CAST, Verizon Wireless' high-speed audio, video on demand, and entertainment delivery system.

V CAST Mobile TV[edit]

Main article: MediaFLO

Verizon Wireless uses Qualcomm's MediaFLO technology to broadcast live TV to certain phones, such as the LG Voyager. A VCAST mobile TV subscription is required. This service was discontinued in November 2010.

V Cast Music with RHAPSODY[edit]

A subscription based service which allows access for $9.99 per month for unlimited song downloads to a person's computer using the VCAST with Rhapsody software. This program also allows the user to sync the music with up to three different media devices examples (mobile phones and mp3 players). The user has to authorize these devices through the VCast with Rhapsody software in order to sync the music. However if the consumer wants to move the music from digital to a physical medium (e.g., a compact disc) the consumer will need to pay 99¢ per song in order to move it to that physical medium.

Backup Assistant[edit]

Backup Assistant is a white-label product that backs up the mobile address books of Verizon Wireless subscribers. The contacts are stored on My Verizon and can be edited and migrated to a new device if needed. However, on March 25, 2011, Verizon discontinued offering Get It Now to users of some older phones. Subscribers with these phones can no longer access Backup Assistant from their phones. Backup Assistant is free for Verizon Wireless customers. The technology for Backup Assistant is provided by Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. In February 2010, Backup Assistant became free to all VZW subscribers. Verizon has also introduced Backup Assistant Plus, which allows customers to back up additional media such as pictures for a small fee and different plan sizes.

"Friends & Family"[edit]

On February 16, 2009, Verizon Wireless launched its new service, called Friends & Family, in light of their recent acquisition of Alltel Wireless, which had a similar service called My Circle; the 2005 purchase by Verizon of MCI gave them the trademark rights to the "Friends & Family" name, which had been the name of a landline long distance plan marketed by MCI in the 1990s.[40] With an eligible plan, customers will have unlimited calling to a select group of numbers outside their standard mobile-to-mobile calling group, including landlines. This will give single line accounts up to 5 numbers to choose from on plans with 900 or more minutes, and family plan accounts up to 10 numbers to choose from on plans with 1,400 or more minutes.[41]

Wireless Home Phone[edit]

In February 2011, Verizon Wireless rolled out "Home Phone Connect".[42] This wireless local loop service competes directly with landline services from local carriers and offers unlimited US calling for $19.99/month plus taxes and surcharges.[43] Although the Verizon Wireless Network is used to carry signal to and from the residence where the service is installed, subscribers use their home phones rather than a mobile handset to make and receive calls. The device which interfaces between the Verizon network and home phones is identical in function to the devices called ATAs which VoIP providers like Vonage use as an interface between the Internet and phones. Verizon Wireless promotes the fact that no Internet connection is required and supplies the interface device for free with a two-year contract or charges a one time fee of $149.99 on a month-to-month plan.

July 17, 2014 Verizon Wireless changed the name of the "Home Phone Connect" to "Wireless Home Phone". The need for change explained by Verizon: "We want our product names to be more descriptive of what the products are. These names are simple, descriptive and will help our customers better understand what services are provided".

The device supplied by Verizon Wireless includes battery backup so that, like a PSTN line, it will continue to function during a power outage. It also has a GPS so that accurate location information can be provided on a 911 call.

The service is not compatible with satellite TV DVRs, medical monitoring devices, fax machines, and most wired home monitoring systems. Wireless security systems, however, circumvent the need for a landline connection and are therefore unaffected by the switch to Verizon's device.

A variant of the service is available for a $9.99/month plus taxes and surcharges. This is essentially an extra line on an existing Verizon Wireless mobile phone plan and does not include unlimited calling.

Partnerships[edit]

LTE in Rural America[edit]

Verizon Wireless is leasing 22 megahertz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band (block C, band 13) to carriers in various rural markets through 2029 to help facilitate the faster rollout of LTE services. Verizon Wireless would not build out LTE services in those markets where a rural carrier is providing coverage and carriers are able to set their own pricing plans for the service, including offering unlimited data packages if they so choose.[44]

Participants (list is not complete):

  • Appalachian Wireless
  • Bluegrass Cellular
  • Carolina West Wireless
  • Cellcom
  • Chariton Valley
  • Chat Mobility
  • Northwest Missouri
  • Pioneer Cellular
  • Strata Networks
  • Thumb Cellular

Catalyst Communications Technologies[edit]

On August 17, 2009 Verizon began their work with Catalyst Communications Technologies. Catalyst integrated Verizon Wireless Push-to-Talk service with traditional Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Systems. This allowed for greater RoIP. This advanced solution dynamically routes Push-to-Talk voice on the Verizon Wireless nationwide network and calls placed on private radio systems and connects the two together. The new solution routes push-to-talk voice and calls placed on private radio systems on the Verizon Wireless nationwide network. The Catalyst IP|Console provides dispatch of Verizon Wireless push-to-talk calls as well as legacy Land Mobile Radio calls. The solution is designed for public safety, transportation, energy, federal and other critical communications agencies.[45]

Apple[edit]

On October 14, 2010 Apple Inc. and Verizon Wireless announced a partnership that would bring the Apple iPad to Verizon Wireless Stores across the United States on October 28, 2010. While the collaboration will not see Verizon compatible technology embedded in the iPad, it will bundle the iPad Wi-Fi with a Verizon MiFi 2200 Mobile Hotspot.[46]

On January 11, 2011, Verizon announced during a media event that it had reached an agreement with Apple Inc. and would begin selling a CDMA2000 iPhone 4. The Verizon iPhone 4 went on sale on February 10, 2011.[47][48][49] It includes features such as 'Mobile Hotspot', which allows a user to use the iPhone as a wireless hotspot, with up to 5 devices connecting at one time. It also has a new antennae that is said to solve the 'death grip', which means that holding the iPhone 4 in a certain way would deplete its signal rapidly. Due to the minor 2-mm downward movement of the volume buttons, cases were adapted to specifically fit the Verizon iPhone.[50]

General Motors[edit]

On December 19, 2011, General Motors announced plans to join with Verizon to offer video chat and streaming content to automobile passengers.[51]

Competitors[edit]

Controversies[edit]

GPS disabling of certain devices[edit]

Verizon no longer restricts or disables GPS chips in their phones. However, in previous years, Verizon restricted GPS functionality on many of the devices it sold. On November 30, 2007 Verizon Wireless was named in a class action lawsuit alleging the company deceived customers by advertising the devices as "GPS enabled". The suit alleged that, before sale, Verizon intentionally disabled the devices' built-in global positioning systems (GPS), offering instead a proprietary, fee-based GPS service.[52]

Since this dispute, all smartphones sold on the Verizon network have their GPS receivers unlocked by default, and some older devices can be unlocked with a firmware upgrade. Phone hackers were able to restore GPS functionality in some older models that did not receive firmware updates. A-GPS, however, remains unavailable on some Verizon smartphones, notably the Palm Pre Plus,[53] which requires aGPS to function as a standalone GPS, as Verizon claims it will.

Mobile Broadband plans[edit]

Verizon Wireless had come under fire by "power users" of its EV-DO wireless data network (called Mobile Broadband, formerly BroadbandAccess), for using language in its terms of service which heavily restricts what activities an EV-DO user can conduct even though the service is advertised as offering "Unlimited" data usage. The service was in fact limited to 5 GB of data transfer per month (as part of a fair use policy). The language in Verizon Wireless' previous usage agreement stated:

Unlimited NationalAccess/BroadbandAccess services cannot be used (1) for uploading, downloading or streaming of movies, music or games, (2) with server devices or with host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, Voice over IP (VoIP), automated machine-to-machine connections, or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, or (3) as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections... We reserve right to limit throughput or amount of data transferred, deny or terminate service, without notice, to anyone we believe is using NationalAccess or BroadbandAccess in any manner prohibited above or whose usage adversely impacts our network or service levels.[54]

[55]

These plans were quickly eliminated in favor of 5GB plans, which cost the same as the prior "Unlimited" plan. Verizon chief financial officer Fran Shammo dismissed the term "Unlimited" as just a word.[56]

Kelsey Smith cell phone records[edit]

On June 2, 2007, Kelsey Smith, a teenager from Overland Park, Kansas, was abducted in a Target parking lot behind the Oak Park Mall. She was murdered later that night, and immediately after an abandoned car was found, a search began for her. Local law enforcement involved in the investigation contacted Verizon Wireless, the family's cell phone provider at the time of the murder, for records to pinpoint a search location for her. Verizon Wireless was extremely compliant with local investigators, it took Verizon less than a day to collect cell phone records to assist local law enforcement.[57] A Verizon technician pinpointed a cell phone tower and told investigators to search 1.1 miles (1.8 km) north of the tower. Within 45 minutes, the body of Smith was found.[58]

"There's A Map For That"[edit]

In late 2009, Verizon started an ad campaign "There's A Map For That", to parody the iPhone's "There is an app for that" and the AT&T network coverage. Since iPhones used AT&T, and maps used in the commercials claimed Verizon had five times the 3G coverage of AT&T, iPhones were not as useful as they could be with Verizon's 3G coverage. This campaign was followed by new "iDon't" ads for Droid phones which pointed out that Droids could do more than the iPhone could do. In November, AT&T filed a lawsuit against Verizon stating that they reach the same number of customers as Verizon Wireless, and claiming the ads were "misleading" and caused a loss of "incalculable market share." The ads only refer to 3G, and not overall coverage. However, the ads claim that many people outside urban areas may not receive 3G, in an industry where 4G may soon be the premium standard. Verizon has edited their ads, removing "out of touch" and adding in small print, "Voice and data services available outside of 3G areas."[59][60] AT&T still does not agree with the ads, stating in their response, "The ads still confuse non-technical viewers into thinking AT&T provides no service at all outside of its 3G coverage." Verizon responded as follows: "AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon’s 'There’s A Map For That' advertisements are untrue; AT&T sued because Verizon’s ads are true and the truth hurts."[61] AT&T was defeated and Verizon continued[when?] to air their "There's A Map For That" ad campaign for a number of months after.[62] AT&T has since issued a response featuring actor Luke Wilson, stating that AT&T covers 97% of Americans, although this is not entirely 3G coverage.

Refunds for billing errors[edit]

On October 3, 2010, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) confirmed that they were investigating so-called "mystery fees" that Verizon Wireless was charging their customers. The "mystery fees" were charged to customers who did not have data usage plans, or had data blocks, but had devices capable of using data. These devices could access web-pages that were supposed to be free, and instead, they would incur charges. This happened as Verizon changed its plans from minutes to include data charges. At first there were no issues, however internally executives were warned by employees by internal forums. These were reported by several employees and referred to as "Phantom MB charges". Verizon charged $1.99/MB to customers without data plans.[63]

On October 28, 2010, the FCC announced that they had reached a settlement with Verizon. Verizon refunded a minimum of $52.8 million to 15 million customers. In addition to the refund Verizon Wireless provided relevant customer service training, information to consumers wanting refunds, and plain-language explanations of data charges.[64]

In addition to the $52.8 million Verizon Wireless paid in refunds, they also made a $25 million payment to the U.S. Treasury. Verizon stated that the payment to the treasury was voluntary, and that they accepted responsibility for their errors.[65] The payment to the treasury is the largest in history, followed by a $24 million fine that Univision paid in 2007.[66]

On April 5, 2011, Verizon Wireless agreed to pay the federal government $93.5 million (later increased to $96.5 million) to settle a "qui tam" case brought by a whistleblower. The lawsuit, brought under the federal False Claims Act, alleged Verizon fraudulently billed the U.S. government for voice and data communication surcharges for six years.[67]

Other acquisitions[edit]

On August 21, 2012, the FCC approved Verizon's $3.6 billion purchase of cellular frequencies from cable companies Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Bright House.[68]

Notes[edit]

Early in 2006, Verizon announced their intent to buy out the remaining 45% of stock of Verizon Wireless from Vodafone.[69] However later that year, Vodafone stated they "have no current plans to exit" the US market by giving up its stake in Verizon Wireless.[70]

On December 19, 2006, it was announced Verizon Wireless' CEO Denny Strigl has been called up to parent Verizon Communications to be the company's new President and COO. He was to begin serving in the new post on January 1, 2007. Verizon Wireless COO Lowell McAdam was to take over Strigl's role as CEO of VZW.[71]

On September 20, 2010, it was announced Verizon Wireless's CEO, and Verizon COO Lowell McAdam has been called up to parent Verizon Communications to be the company's new CEO, replacing Ivan Seidenberg. He was to begin serving in the new post on October 1, 2010. Verizon Wireless Daniel Mead was to take over McAdam's role as CEO of VZW.[72]

Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) and Verizon Wireless announced on May 5, 2008 that they have signed a 5-year agreement for Qwest to market and sell Verizon Wireless service beginning the summer of 2008.

On November 28, 2011 Verizon Wireless retail workers in Bloomington, Illinois filed for union representation from the Communications Workers of America.[73] The election was a narrow loss. The workers at this retail location as well as the CWA contend that the election was intentionally subverted by Verizon Wireless.[74] This milestone election would have created the first union-represented Verizon Wireless retail location in the United States.

On February 21, 2012, T-Mobile filed a formal petition with the FCC asking them to block the sale to Verizon Wireless of spectrum first purchased at auction in 2006 by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox Communications.[75]

On August 30, 2013, news circulated yet again that Verizon would be interested in purchasing the remaining ownership from Vodafone. The deal currently in progress is expected to have a vote from both votes Monday, September 2, 2013. The expected deal would include the largest corporate loan ever made of $65 billion, currently half of the prospective size of the total offer.[76]

On April 7, 2014, Verizon entered an agreement with Cincinnati Bell Wireless to acquire CBWs Wireless Spectrum. Pending regulatory approval, the deal is expected to be completed in early 2015[77]

On May 14, 2014, the retail workers in Brooklyn, NY voted for union representation and won with a 39-19 vote. They are now represented by the CWA.[78]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]