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News Verizon crippling connectivity of Alltel plan smartphones

Discussion in 'Alltel' started by Steve Winter, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Steve Winter

    Steve Winter New Member

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    The following is an active complaint with the NC Atty General and the FCC regarding Verizon Wireless deliberately crippling the connectivity of customers who elected to stay on Alltel data plans. This would mostly affect people in fringe areas (though advertised as full coverage areas) An update to this complaint is that Verizon is retaliating by removing credits that we had been given because of previous service failures. Please spread this information around, especially to any Verizon customers you know who may be having connectivity problems. It COULD be deliberate.

    FTC complaint # 25257585 NCDOJ Complaint # 1001670 FCC complaint 10-C00194123

    This may need a technical person to understand the details.

    Verizon Wireless bought Alltel and the Alltel customers could remain on Alltel plans. Verizon is now deliberately crippling the connectivity of smart phones that are on the Alltel plan instead of the more expensive Verizon plan.

    We came over to Verizon Wireless when they purchased Alltel. We were/are on a data plan with one "smartphone" and the rest regular phones.

    I was expecting to get better phone reception once the transition was done to merge Alltel etc. Instead I found that my phone (the smartphone) would not work well as a phone. I was advised that the smartphones don't get as good of reception (why don't they advertise that, eh?)

    I have endured months of poor phone service and have gone through several phone changes (which meant wasting hundreds of dollars in accessories that I had purchased for my original smart phone).

    The event that prompted me to change phones and lose my investment in accessories was an event where my wife was desperately trying to call me because our grandson was bleeding and it would not stop. My son was with me and she was able to call him to contact me, but what if he had not been there? (I thought).

    For months we would be in the same car and she would be unable to call me but his phone would work just fine (same plan but his is not a data phone).

    Verizon tech support suggested going to another brand of phone and one on the Verizon system so that I could get a "hybrid" PRL (preferred roaming list) so that I could get phone reception. After several more phone swaps and wasted time I was finally advised of the cause.

    Verizon Wireless is deliberatly crippling the smart phones which are on an Alltel plan instead of the more expensive Verizon plan. This is only the smart phones that are being crippled. My phone has a PRL of 40059 which deliberately limits my connectivity even though I am in the advertised full coverage area. You can imagine my anger at discovering that all these months Verizon had been deliberately crippling my connectivity to try to get me to move to their more expensive plan. The Verizon plan data PRL starts with a 6

    I believe that their actions may well be criminal as they are discriminating against former Alltel data phone customers.

    It was a tech support manager who revealed this to me because they are very frustrated in trying to give support to people whose phones are being deliberately disabled by a crippled PRL.

    This deliberate crippling of smartphones that are still on Alltel plans could cause public safety issues such as the incident when my grandson was bleeding. Imagine when I discovered that my phones failures and poor reception was a DELIBERATE marketing strategy by Verizon.

    Update 2/17/2010 I was contacted by one Karen Milbrodt from the Verizon Wireless President's office stating that because I was on an Alltel plan that I was not entitled to the same connectivity that I would have if I was on a Verizon plan. She basically confirmed my allegations. Also she advised me that I was not entitled to the credits that had been applied to my account by an earlier customer service manager and that they were going to remove the credits. I had been concerned about this retaliation by Verizon Wireless.

    If you are a smart phone customer who is on an Alltel plan with Verizon wireless and you are having connectivity problems please note the complaint numbers at the beginning.

    Steve Winter



    › See More: Verizon crippling connectivity of Alltel plan smartphones
  2. Steve Winter

    Steve Winter New Member

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    This is my reply to Verizon's 2/17/2010 answer to the North Carolina Dept of Justice

    FTC complaint # 25257585 NCDOJ Complaint # 1001670 FCC complaint 10-C00194123
    BBB complaint # 9431389

    I have expanded my complaint to include fraud and false advertising by Verizon Wireless

    Re File # 1001670
    In the Verizon Wireless response they admit my allegation that they are limiting the connectivity of Alltel customers by providing a crippled PRL. That most certainly does limit the connectivity of the phone. Their excuse for their discrimination against Alltel plan customers affirms my allegation.

    We are in a fringe area, BUT this area is advertised by Alltel and Verizon Wireless as being a full coverage area. This amounts to an admission of false advertising by Verizon Wireless.

    The credits given us previously were due to the past trouble that we had been experiencing. I am not privy to how the customer service manager coded the credits but we were promised the credits for many years into the future as incentive to stay with Verizon., and as compensation for past troubles.
    It was my concern that Verizon would retaliate for my filing this complaint by removing the promised credits. I had called Verizon many many times and wasted many hours on the phone with a plethora of problems. The customer service manager was able to see all of the problems we had been having.

    Verizon also admits that the “unlimited free photo, free video etc. plan that we are on does use minutes which is also an admission of false advertising on the part of Alltel

    Verizon is engaged in a pattern of limiting connectivity of Alltel customers, especially those on data plans. The other phones my family members carry have a DIFFERENT PRL from mine that does seem to work. It is my data smart phone that has the deliberate connectivity limitation.

    In summary, in the letter from Karen Milbrodt she admits the following:

    1.Verizon/Alltel continues to advertise full coverage in areas that they KNOW that they do not have full coverage.
    2.Verizon/Alltel are advertising an “unlimited text video and photo family data package” knowing full well that they are charging call minutes for use of those “unlimited” features.
    3.I was promised the credits that she now is removing. The details she provides are just a lame excuse for Verizon's retaliation for my filing this complaint. Obviously credits don't block unwanted features which should establish that she is lying. The credits were given as a culmination of many ongoing problems and trouble tickets etc. I was told that data had to be enabled for the photo and video messaging features to work. The credits were compensation and incentive to stay with Verizon.

    I feel to add that it was Verizon tech support who first advised me that I needed a better PRL to fix the connectivity issues that I was experiencing. It is my understanding that Verizon has in some areas actually transferred towers FROM Alltel use to exclusive use for Verizon plan customers with the effect of further limiting connectivity of the Alltel customers.

    Today I have very poor connectivity and I am very much within an area that is advertised by Verizon/Alltel as a full coverage area. I ask that my complaint be expanded to include false advertising AND deliberate fraud by Verizon Wireless especially Karen Milbrodt in their retaliation efforts to breach the agreement that I had been given in the $19.95 credit per line to stay with Verizon.

    Steve Winter
  3. nicknrm

    nicknrm Super Moderator

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    Technically, you cannot get Verizon Wireless for false advertising.

    From Verizon Wireless/Alltel Site Maps:

    These Coverage Locator depictions apply to the following calling plans:
    Nationwide Calling Plans, America's Choice initiated (activated) on or after 2/21/2005, Mobile Broadband and INpulse.

    Roaming charges will apply in the Canada Coverage area unless you subscribe to the Nationwide Plus Canada Plan.

    Roaming charges will apply in the Mexico Coverage area unless you subscribe to the Nationwide Plus Mexico Plan.


    These Coverage Locator maps are not a guarantee of coverage and may contain areas with no service. These maps reflect a depiction of predicted and approximate wireless coverage of the Verizon Wireless Network and the network of other carriers. The coverage areas shown do not guarantee service availability, and may include locations with limited or no coverage. Even within a coverage area, there are many factors, including a customer's equipment, terrain, and proximity to buildings, foliage, and weather that may impact service. An all-digital device will not operate or be able to make 911 calls when digital service is not available. Some of the coverage area includes networks run by other carriers; some of the coverage depicted is based on their information and public sources and we cannot ensure its accuracy.






    ---------- Post added at 08:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:09 PM ----------

    Personally, I doubt complaints to any company/organization is going to get you anywhere.

    There IS; however, something you can do.

    Verizon Wireless (and every other wireless carrier) must allow you out of your contract without penalty IF:


    • You are drafted into the military
    • you die
    • you move into an area where coverage no longer exists or you no longer receive coverage for a reason beyond your control
    If Verizon Wireless is able to pull up call history and verify you have problems, they will request to file a trouble ticket. Once that occurs, you'll get a response that generally says "you appear to reside in a marginal coverage area"...call back and basically say that's unacceptable. Another trouble ticket may be filed at this point. Once you get a response for this one, then basically say "BY LAW, you must allow me out my contract without a penalty...that's what I want". Most of the time, the technician will bring that up as an option before you do.

    That will probably be the best solution for you.
  4. Steve Winter

    Steve Winter New Member

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    I have a substantial investment in phones, accessories etc that I do not want to just throw away. Plus the deal that I was promised is pretty good if my phone would just work.

    It is my understanding that Verizon is already getting heat for buying Alltel and then taking Alltel towers, converting them to Verizon towers and then locking Alltel customers out of those towers.

    I believe that if what Verizon is doing crosses the right desk at the FCC that hopefully items will hit the fan so to speak.

    At the very least something might be accomplished to stop Verizon from expanding.

    Steve
  5. nicknrm

    nicknrm Super Moderator

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    Once again, Verizon Wireless contains 65% of the U.S. wireless market...more than any other carrier.

    This means they control the U.S. market...therefore they WILL NOT be forced into anything. I've seen it happen many times.

    Just remember to post the responses back on this site.

    The BBB complaint will arrive much quicker (be expecting it any day)...the FCC can take months.

  6. Doug Denison

    Doug Denison New Member

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    Our phones (Blackberry) have not worked since March 5th unless were in a major city. They will not do anything about it. They said they will let us out of our contract. Dream on! thats what they want, for all of us Alltel people to end our contracts so they can sign us up for a higher cost and less useage. We are so fed up with these people. I would love for all of us to get together and file a class action law suit. Come on lets do it!
    2 people like this.
  7. Steve Winter

    Steve Winter New Member

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    File complaints with your state atty and the FCC. Feel welcome to mention my complaints.

    Note that in their reply to the NCDOJ, Verizon admitted what they were doing but said that Alltel customers did not deserve the same connectivity, were not "entitled". In their reply to the FCC Verizon stated the opposite and denied what they had admitted to the NCDOJ

    Steve
  8. jdmm72

    jdmm72 New Member

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    I put a verizon PRL (51739) on my Alltel phone, then turned off all roaming notifications. This worked, restored my service. I have a HTC Touch Pro, and am also running the Telus radio on it, which also immensely improved service. Verizon will not help you, you will have to do it yourself by googling. I got Verizon to drop my contract also. Also, in order to upgrade my phone, Verizon requires me to purchase a separate data package for $29.99 in addition to the Alltel price I pay of $89.99 for data/500 minutes/ 11 my circle/ and unlimited messaging for a total of $119.98 a month. I reckon I will stay at $89.99 until I want a new phone, then I'll switch to Sprint for $79.99/month. I kinda find it funny that they want me to pay $89.99 for a package that includes data, then want me to pay an additional $29.99 for data AGAIN.

    Had they let me keep my current plan and get a new HTC Touch Pro2 for $29.99 today, as they advertised, then I'd save $20 over 2 years in comparison to Sprint (after factoring phone price.) but they won't instead wanting $119.98 a month (FOR 500 minutes only)
    1 person likes this.
  9. Darwinist

    Darwinist New Member

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    Couple things to report from Alltel side.

    1. Its not a requirement that your contract is waived if you moved out of the intended home area. Alltel did not allow this last I checked, but with the pending buyouts with ATT and Allied Wireless, I wouldn't doubt it if they became lax on this restriction.

    2. Alltel Divest (those who did not go to Verizon) have been complaining to management for almost a year now of what the original poster is stating. It isn't just VZW side, its anyone who had an Alltel data plan. Verizon was specifically turning down the volume available for the local towers they were using. They were blatantly bad about this in other Divest markets, specifically Georgia and Ohio with even regular handsets.

    Basically, they were transitioning towers they had purchased from Alltel over to their own network, while not migrating over the existing customers who had been using those towers originally.

    I haven't heard tech gripe about this lately, so its possible the issue may have passed.
  10. jdmm72

    jdmm72 New Member

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    Ummm....yeah, it's still happening. I actually have a Verizon Touch Pro 2 on a Alltel plan, and with the "stock ALLTEL" prl I cannot get service in many areas. With a Verizon PRL (on my Alltel plan though Verizon) I get coverage just about everywhere. And when I say coverage, I mean both data and voice. On the Alltel PRL I get neither. Alltel prl is still 30035 (per *228). Verizon PRL is 51739. Again this is a VERIZON phone, not an Alltel phone, which of course tech support said would fix the issue, NOT!!!
  11. Steve Winter

    Steve Winter New Member

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    Those victims who are not filing complaints with their State Atty and the FCC have only themselves to blame for what Verizon is getting away with. The FCC would like to do more but their hands are tied unless more people file complaints.

    Regards,

    Steve
  12. jdmm72

    jdmm72 New Member

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    Yeah, that's great and all, but I did complain to the FCC and the State AG, nothing got accomplished. I got a form letter back from the FCC, great. The AG wanted me to file a formal complaint which required me to fill out a 10 page form and go get it notorized, no thanks. BBB did the trick after lengthy process of back and forth, Verizon/Alltel let me out of the contract, gave me my monthly fees back. I fixed the problem before that occurred, so I kept them, and actually upgraded my phone and am still with them. As long as I can fix the problem, I don't have a problem with Verizon. In fact I'd rather not have to call them ever again, as you get a different answer every time.

    I mean, yeah you can complain to these agencies, but don't hold your breath for a response....

    If you are unhappy with their service, leave, demand ETF be waived, sue if needed, but don't wait for someone else to fix it for you. I fixed it for myself. I just manually load a Verizon PRL and all is good.
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  13. Darwinist

    Darwinist New Member

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    Definitely a good thing to know, but you should also put out a warning label.

    PRL stands for "Preferred Roaming List". If you still have an Alltel rate plan, using the Verizon PRL can be a very dangerous gambit.

    PRL is basically a code assigned to the phone to tell it what towers or SIDs to look for while traveling. These preferred towers are part of your service and will not bill you additionally for the calls. While in your home area, you should be just fine, but once you start traveling it can make a world of difference in charges.

    That said, Alltel and Verizon share a ton of towers. Verizon bought out just about every Alltel tower in the merger. So the likelihood of this biting you in the ass is minimal. However, if Verizon catches people doing this regularly (changing their PRL to one they did not designate for you), an easy fix on their end would just be to screw with the towers in a way that would make the phone pick up on a VZW PRL tower, that is not included as part of your National Freedom service on the Alltel PRL.

    From there, they got you by the balls and you'd be pretty much forced to take a Verizon plan.

    Doubt it'll ever get that dirty, but if enough people figure out this loophole - I wouldn't be surprise if that did happen.

    So yeah, if you do this trick, then find roaming charges on your bill - that would be why. You're using a roaming list for a Verizon plan, while having active service on an Alltel based plan.

    Hope that wasn't too confusing.
  14. jdmm72

    jdmm72 New Member

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    If you do this trick and find roaming charges, then call and complaint to Verizon. I am now a "Verizon" customer on a "Alltel" rate plan, remember. When Verizon bought Alltel, they stated that our service would increase, because we'd have access to "The Nation's Largest Wireless Network." What they did was exclude us from that Network, take away our Sprint roaming agreement, and basically stonewall about it. I called their bluff, as they didn't have a resolution and would not let me out of my contract.. I filed BBB complaint and sued.

    I was released from my contract, refunded the service charges for the time since it quit working. But while that was happening, I found this PRL resolution. I passed it by Dennis Philpot from Executive Customer Relations and his answer was,

    "Yes, this would not cause any roaming issues, as you are a Verizon customer, and anywhere any other verizon customer can get service you would be able to get the same service."

    In fact he ordered that a Verizon PRL be pushed to my "Alltel" phone.
  15. Steve Winter

    Steve Winter New Member

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    OK, so some have had success by changing their own PRL, but no one has posted exactly how that would be accomplished and whether or not there would be dangers like voided warranty etc in a Droid. Also where would you get a PRL and how would you know it was for real? I think the answer still lies in FCC and atty general complaints if just enough people would take the time.

    Steve
  16. jdmm72

    jdmm72 New Member

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    I've had it with Verizon. I returned my brand spankin new Touch Pro2. They crawfished on a deal and now they get their phone back. They prorated my account when I switched from my Touch Pro to TP2. So, gist of the story is, I used my minutes towards the end of the month and had 135 minutes of overage, although I didn't get to use the 176 minutes I had left over in the begining of the month. They told me (when they SOLD the new phone to me) that if I had an overage, they would adjust it out. So, now I get a $185 monthly bill ($30 for the new phone) and they state that no one noted the deal on my account, and they would not honor it. I asked for a supervisor, was told I'd get a callback, never did. Signed up for the Sprint HTC Evo 4G. Waiting for June 4....

    I had just dropped Verizon from my landline services (took 3 YEARS to get my local loop repaired) before the Alltel merger, and am MORE than happy to get rid of them on the cell side too. My current CLEC DSL and phone is cheaper than just phone was with Verihell.
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
  17. nicknrm

    nicknrm Super Moderator

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    Please note that Verizon landline and Verizon Wireless are unrelated services provided by two separate companies. They are not tight nit companies like AT&T Mobility and AT&T Landline.

  18. jdmm72

    jdmm72 New Member

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    I could care less if they are the same company or different. They have the same name, the SAME website, and are all CRAP in my book....

    GO TO VERIZON.COM and SEE THAT THEY ARE RELATED....
  19. nicknrm

    nicknrm Super Moderator

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    If you go to Verizon.com and click wireless, it simply redirects you to VerizonWireless.com. Unlike with AT&T and their landline/mobility service, you cannot initiate wireless service from the landline page and landline service from the wireless page.

    Sometimes you may see that they say Verizon Wireless is part of Verizon Communications, since it is; however, all relations and problems with one company cannot be blamed on the other as they have separate call centers, different employees, different training programs, and even different CEO and CMOs. They are becoming more and more tied together, however. In the past if you went to Verizon.com you would see no talk of wireless at all. You used to not be able to merge bills or anything. They're slowly becoming more and more like the AT&T joint venture.

    I can for a fact tell you that if you're able to get Verizon landline, you're one lucky customer. I've been trying for years but because AT&T monopolizes my area, I'm unable to do so (so we just stick with our Verizon Wireless phone). AT&T is a hell hole, and they charge twice that of Verizon..so as far as landline, I'd prefer (and everyone I personally know would prefer) Verizon Landline over AT&T...in my area anyway.

    As far as wireless, Verizon Wireless leads the wireless industry by providing top of the line, high quality devices and national service that has been unsurpassed for over a decade. They provide intelligent customer service representatives, reasonable prices (for a national carrier), and an overall good experience for over 98% of their customers. Unfortunately, you seem to be in the 2% turnover rate that VZW has. 2%, to note, is the lowest turnover rate in the wireless industry.

  20. jdmm72

    jdmm72 New Member

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    Oh, really. Dealing with Verizon land services is like dealing with the government. I love the repair windows. "We can get someone out there in the next 4 weeks." NO JOKE, 4 weeks!!!... My trouble was related to moisture, and what would invariably happen in 4 weeks, it would dry up. Or the fact that they cancelled 4 appointments in a row in one week. They never rescheduled them, I had to call when they wouldn't show. My current CLEC, Fibernet, is like 24 hours from trouble call. Additionally, my DSL and Telephone are $50/month for 2.5 Mb service, which Verizon telephone is over $50 for just phone. Great value for the money!!! And try calling landline customer service, you get to talk to the robowoman forever, then you get to wait for at least 10 minutes after robowoman can't help you. Call Fibernet, and within 2 minutes a real person...

    Yeah, they have nice devices, but I love how they are notorious about crippling them. I got that Touch Pro 2, right. So I install a copy of ALK CoPilot Live v8. Doesn't work, why, because Verizon locked out the GPS. Oh, and try installing Google Maps. Yeah, again, doesn't work straight from the phone as it is blocked out. You have to download it to your computer, then transfer it to the phone and install the .cab file. Easily enough fixed, but hey, why should I have to hack the phone to get features of the phone to work.

    Oh, and since it appears that you work for their "customer diservice," it is the pits. It seems to me that their favorite word is NO, or CAN'T. I loved how when Alltel existed, I called them up and activated my nTelos CDMA Motorola Q on their network, no questions asked. Now, with Verizon, you can't even activate an Alltel (who they swallowed) phone, and why is that? Pretty intelligent, "It can't be done," when it should be, "We won't do it, because of our companies monopolistic tendencies." Oh, and the crippled PRLs on Alltel devices, that was a great fight. I loved how the Verizon Corporate people would order a VERIZON PRL to my phone and the lunkies at support would cancel the order and say, "NO, it can't be done." Fortunately, I knew how to do it myself. What was the proposed solution to that? "Get a Verizon device with your CHEAPER Alltel plan, then you'll get a Verizon PRL." NOPE, didn't work either, because my Verizon device pulled an ALLTEL prl...

    Additionally, the only time I deal with "customer diservice" is when I am dissatisfied. If the product works as intended at the price I agree upon, then they will not hear from me.

    Pricing....Hmmmm.....Why are they the most expensive of the three major carriers? I love the, "Nation's largest wireless network," yet when they took over here, I lost coverage to a vast majority of rural areas (because of the loss of Alltel's Sprint roaming agreements." I now have a Sprint plan that is similar to my Alltel plan, what does it cost? $69.99/month. When I was with Alltel? $89.99/month. With Verizon? $110ish/month(and Verizon doesn't offer unlimited texting with the plan).

    Furthermore, the reason that Verizon has a big market share is mostly because of acquisitions (don't believe me, look at their acquisition records, which are publically available), not customer sign ups.

    You know it's really sad that my backup phone (necessitated by Verizon's Alltel lack of coverage) was a cheap Virgin Mobile $9.99 phone. What is really sad is that it was on Sprint and didn't cover extended or roaming areas in the Sprint network, and it still got better reception than my full featured Alltel Touch Pro or Verizon Touch Pro2 on the Full Verizon network.

    I also liked the fact that recently, I was in southern West Virginia in a town called Oceana, worked a contract ACROSS the street from an AT&T wireless store, and got no cell signal, but apparently AT&T and Sprint did.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2010

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