May 10, 2011, 9:12 PM — Even though Verizon Wireless claims its fast LTE network is "up and running" following an April 26 outage, it's still not working for some customers, including 50 Chicago-based users of laptops with LTE modems.
A Chicago-based IT manager who asked not to be named, said via email that she had upgraded 50 laptop Verizon 3G modems to Pantech 4G LTE modems before the outage, but they "constantly drop [LTE] because Verizon still has not fixed their switching issues between 4G and 3G."
The IT manager, who works for an advertising firm, said she was surprised when Verizon's own technicians suggested she hack the Pantech modems so they "don't use 4G at all" to resolve the problem.
But the IT manager said doing that to 50 modems is "honestly, far too time consuming and hardly something I want to repeat 50 times and then 50 more once it's been resolved!" She was surprised by the suggestion because carriers typically don't approve of such methods.
According to the woman, a Verizon tech said he hacked his personal USB LTE modem on the day of the outage -- April 26 -- and didn't suggest doing so at the time. "But since so much time has passed and I've threatened to return all the devices I just upgraded, they are now proposing the hack," she said.
Verizon sells the Pantech 4G LTE USB Modem for $249.99 on a month-to-month data plan or for $99.99 with a two-year service contract that can be discounted down to $49.99 with an online purchase.
The monthly service plans start at $50 for 5GB of data per modem, according to Verizon, although business users may be able to negotiate special terms that include pooling of data across a group of workers.
When informed of the IT manager's problem, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman said: " Our 4G network is up and running. I apologize for the experience your reader describes...." She offered to have a Verizon technician work with the woman to resolve the problem.
When the nearly two-day outage was reported as over on April 28, a Verizon spokesman also said that the LTE network was "up and running," with normal service for ThunderBolt smartphone users who had noticed data slowdowns to 3G or slower service.
At that time, he noted there might be lingering problems for USB modems that would improve over time. "Laptop users with USB modems may need to re-connect to the network when moving between 3G and 4G," the spokesman said on April 28. "This will continue to improve."