Verizon Restoring 4G Network, Delays Droid Charge Launch

Verizon's unexpected 4G network issues have forced the delay of its second 4G phone, sources report.

Network operator Verizon Wireless is in the process of restoring its 4G wireless network shortage after a one-day outage shut down the network, which covers 45 metropolitan areas in the United States. The Wall Street Journal reported a user of the HTC ThunderBolt smartphone was able to connect to the 4G network in New York, and Verizon said on April 27 that it was aware of the problem and working to fix it on an area-by-area basis. Other news outlets have reported connectivity in San Francisco has been restored.

It is an embarrassing development for the company, which prides itself on its network reliability, compounded by criticism that the company wasn't doing enough to inform consumers what the problem was or when service would be restored. Twitter was Verizon's main avenue of explanation, and the cryptic short messages the company tweeted only led to more speculation on the Web as to what the issue actually was.

"We have determined the cause of our issue and are working with our major vendors to restore connections," a company statement released on April 27 said. "We expect to see the network restore on a market-by-market basis. Timing and additional details will be provided as they become available."

While the company works to fully restore its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network following the outage, there is speculation Verizon may have to delay the launch of its second 4G phone, Samsung's Droid Charge. The technology blog Engadget claimed to have received an internal email from Verizon confirming the delay. "According to an internal email we obtained, the blame's on "unexpected delays" and no new date has yet been set," the Engadget article said.

The Droid Charge is designed with Samsung's 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display and is equipped with both a rear-facing 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera for both stills and video chatting. The smartphone is also includes mobile hotspot capability, which allows users to share a working 4G connection with up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices or a 3G connection with up to five devices. Unlimited 4G LTE data packages start at $29.99 for monthly access.

Earlier this year, the company started offering two new 4G LTE USB modems for laptop connectivity, and offer data plans starting at $50 for monthly access to 5GB of data or $80 for 10GB of data. With both plans, each additional gigabyte will come at a cost of $10. Verizon launched its 4G LTE network on Dec. 5, 2010, in 39 major metropolitan areas, covering more than 110 million Americans. By 2013, Verizon plans to expand its 4G LTE network to its entire 3G coverage area.

Verizon claims 4G LTE users should experience average data rates of 5 to 12M bps on the downlink and 2 to 5M bps on the uplink. When customers travel outside of a 4G coverage area, the devices automatically connect to Verizon's 3G network. Records the company released earlier this year showed that more than 260,000 HTC ThunderBolt phones have been sold by the company.