Verizon’s 4G network goes down, cripples Thunderbolts; [UPDATE] VZW identifies outage source

verizon-4g downVerizon’s 4G LTE network is experiencing a major national outage that has largely left its customers without service. The network went down sometime last night and remains unreachable, and unfortunately many users are also unable to connect to Verizon’s 3G service.

After ample speculation, Verizon launched its 4G LTE network in December 2010. While Verizon said it would roll out coverage over the course of the next three years, the original launch was nothing to scoff at, hitting 38 markets and 60 airports in its first wave. Since then, the carrier has introduced its first 4G phone, the HTC Thunderbolt, which debuted to almost instantaneous popularity and strong sales. Just last week Verizon announced it has sold approximately 500,000 4G devices since December, and its second LTE smartphone, the Droid Charge, is set to launch tomorrow.

All has been going according to Verizon’s 4G plan up until last night. The carrier has only commented on its 4G via Twitter: “We’re aware of an issue with 4G LTE connections & our network engineers are working to resolve quickly. Will update here.” Verizon also posted that Thunderbolts are now making voice calls, although any sort of data needs are still crawling.

Verizon’s user forums are full of customer complaints and confusion. One user reported after a call with Verizon support early this morning, there was no ETA for a solution. At the moment, Thunderbolts are operating at about a 1xRTT rate, or 1G. The 4G phone started at $199 with a Verizon contract and $699 without. The phone’s high-speed connectivity was responsible for much of its prestige, and its owners are understandably frustrated by their very expensive and now achingly slow phones.

Adding injury to insult is the fact that these users are having difficulty accessing Verizon’s 3G network. If you’re one of these forsaken phone owners, all may not be lost. According to Android Central, the problem is with Verizon’s Thunderbolt specific 3G/4G networks, and the 3G network its various other smartphones operate on is up and running as per usual. The site claims users can connect via 3G by following these steps:

  1. Dial ##778# and hit send.
  2. Enter the password: 000000
  3. This brings up your programming screen. Select “modem settings” and next “Rev a.” Change this to enabled and then hit “menu.”
  4. Reboot your phone, and you should then be connected to Verizon’s basic 3G network.

Various Twitter users have posted the fix, and it seems to be getting some decent recommendations so it’s worth a shot – at least until Verizon comes  up with a better solution.


[UPDATE]

Verizon says it has determined the source of the outage and is working on restoring service. Here’s the full statement, via Engadget.

We are aware of an issue with 4G LTE data connections and our network engineers are working to resolve this quickly. We have determined the cause of our issue and are working with our major vendors to restore connections.

* 4G LTE Smartphones will still be able to make calls.

* Customers are temporarily unable to activate any 4G LTE devices.

* Please note: Customers may experience a 1XRTT data connection during this time.

* After determining the cause of our 4G LTE network connection issue, we are continuing to work to restore connections.

* We expect to see the network restore on a market-by-market basis. Timing and additional details will be provided as they become available.

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