Verizon restores LTE data network after outage

Delays sale of second LTE phone, the Droid Charge

Verizon Wireless said its 4G LTE network was back "up and running" at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, following a nationwide outage that began late Tuesday.

Verizon also delayed Thursday's scheduled launch of sales of the Droid Charge from Samsung, its second LTE-ready phone, a representative of a Verizon store in suburban Boston said. The reason for the sales delay was unclear, although some bloggers speculated it might have been due to the LTE network outage, which would have prevented activations of the new Charge.

As a result of the nationwide LTE outage, which lasted more than a day, Verizon customers could not get the faster LTE data service on their smartphones and were reverted to slower 3G service or the even slower CDMA 1xRtt service, Verizon said in a statement late Wednesday. Voice and text service were not affected on Verizon's first LTE phone, the ThunderBolt, because LTE only handles data.

"Our network engineers and vendors quickly identified the issue and solved it," said Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson via email. "Customers using the ThunderBolt have normal service."

One owner of a ThunderBolt in Framingham, Mass., reported the 4G LTE connection was indeed working Thursday morning; the user had experienced email troubles on the device late Wednesday.

Nelson said that some laptop users with USB modems on LTE may need to reconnect to the network when they move between 3G and 4G towers. "This will continue to improve," he said.

Verizon officials couldn't be reached to explain the Droid Charge sales delay, although the store representative said "they told us it isn't ready." The store representative also said that customers should check the availability of the Droid Charge online, since the device wouldn't be available in any stores. Verizon's website didn't list the device as being on sale Thursday.

LTE gives users speeds of 6.5Mbps downstream, about 10 times what the 3G CDMA network would offer. Many users might not have known about the LTE outage, since data would move to the CDMA network when LTE is not available.

Verizon didn't explain the cause of the outage in any detail. Verizon launched LTE service late in 2010. LTE is available in 45 cities and 60 airports, according to Verizon's Web site.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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