Verizon Wireless has issued an explanation for the service outages that affected users across the United States earlier this week.
"Being a pioneer comes with growing pains," read a Dec. 29 statement issued by the carrier. "The recent issues that affected our customers' 4G LTE service were unforeseen despite careful, diligent planning, deployment and ongoing upgrade programs." Some customers also experienced issues with their 3G connectivity.
The statement claimed that Verizon's 4G LTE connectivity has been available "approximately 99 percent of the time this year."
Verizon Wireless' network experienced three periods of downtime in December. The previous outage, which hit Dec. 21, affected 4G LTE customers from San Francisco to New York City. It took Verizon officials several hours to issue an official statement in that case, in which they said company engineers had resolved an "issue" with the 4G network during the early-morning hours. Another outage on Dec. 7 affected an unknown subset of customers.
In its Dec. 29 statement, the carrier suggested each outage had different causes. "Our engineers have successfully diagnosed those past triggering events, and they have not re-occurred," it read. "We also work diligently to rectify technical problems in the network before they affect any customers."
Verizon's 4G network reaches some 200 million users in 190 markets across the United States, and the carrier offers more than a dozen 4G-enabled smartphones and tablets. The higher-speed network recently hit its one-year anniversary, and Verizon has given every indication it wants to continue aggressively building it out to more customers.
On Dec. 12, the carrier announced an agreement with a company called SpectrumCo-a joint venture between Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks-to buy 122 Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum covering some 259 million people. That deal cost $3.6 billion. A few days later, it followed that up with the purchase of Cox Communications' 20MHz AWS, covering some 28 million people, for around $315 million.
Verizon's aggressive spectrum buys have apparently piqued the interest of the federal government. According to a Dec. 28 report by Bloomberg, the Department of Justice is reportedly investigating Verizon's spectrum deals in order to determine whether they could hurt competition in both the wireless and cable industries. A DOJ spokesperson told Bloomberg that the agency's Antitrust Division was examining the deals.