Verizon Wireless is reportedly experiencing its third widespread outage of December.
The outage has been widely reported in the media, including AllThingsD, even as customers head to Verizon Wireless' online community forums to vent their frustrations. Those customers cited parts of Florida, Ohio and Washington, D.C., among the nationwide trouble spots, with many saying both 3G and 4G connectivity are knocked out of commission. Others claimed some 3G service, but no 4G.
"No 4G or 3G in Indianapolis," wrote one commenter. "At least I got a recording when I called Customer Service stating that they were aware of the problem and were actively working on it."
The previous outage, which hit Dec. 21, affected 4G Long-Term Evolution (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.
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 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.