Verizon suffers wireless failures even before 'explosive' launch of iPhone

No explanation or fix yet for days-long BlackBerry outage

Verizon isn't saying it explicitly, but would be happy for customers to know that the iPhone has not yet brought down its 3G data network.

BlackBerry users may not be impressed with that, though, following a days-long outage that kept many RIM BlackBerry customers from using their phones for anything but phone calls.

Verizon plans to launch its iPhone Feb. 10.

The last time it said anything about it, Verizon Wireless was confident its upcoming release of the iPhone 4 and unlimited data plans that go with it wouldn't overstress its networks or customer-service capabilities.

"We are not going to have any flaws on the execution of the iPhone launch," said Chief Financial Officer Francis Shammo on Tuesday, while predicting "explosive growth" in traffic and revenue.

Verizon Wireless acknowledged yesterday to the Los Angeles Times that it was having service problems with BlackBerry data services on some parts of its network, but is working with RIM and its own networking people to fix the problems.

"BlackBerry customers have been experiencing an issue with some delays," Verizon spokesman Ken Muche told the LA Times. "We have escalated it with tech folks at RIM and our company on the network side."

The outages are apparently centered in Virginia, North Carolina and in scattered regions elsewhere through the continental U.S., including California.

The problems have raised concerns with iPhone watchers and those who remember how much trouble AT&T had when it launched its own, far-less-anticipated iPhone service.

Verizon, acting consistently with its ignore-the-customer emergency-response reflex, has so far said little about either the outage, its response or any potential refunds to customers, although the blame apparently falls on everyone.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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