Author Jeff Jarvis is raising a bit of a stink on Google Plus. Apparently, after getting a Nexus 7 LTE, he tried to activate it on Verizon. During the Nexus 7 announcement it was stated that the New Nexus would be compatible on AT&T, T-Mo, and Verizon Wireless. That last one is proving to be a touch frustrating for Mr. Jarvis.
After reaching out to Verizon on Twitter he received the following cheeky reply:
@jeffjarvis I’m excited you got your Nexus 7 but not all LTE tablets are created equal. It’s not part of our line up & can’t be activated^JH
— VZW Support (@VZWSupport) September 17, 2013
Yeah, ya see VZW, that’s absolutely the wrong way to handle a customer with a problem. Sardonically patting them on the head with a “your bad”. This is made even funnier / more frustrating as their current line up of tablets is pretty uninspired. Well done VZW. You’ve managed to exacerbate a frustrating situation and highlight your own device line-up inadequacies all with one poorly thought out PR tweet.
It’s moves like this which just reinforce consumer desires to have less and less to do with their carriers. When they seemingly provide little value, and only stand as barriers to using the technology their customers want. The number of my personal friends who have expressed they wished their carrier was just a big dumb data pipe and to get out of the way. It doesn’t have to be that way VZW, but you have to offer a compelling reason or service.
Jeff Jarvis has been organizing his ordeal on Google Plus. At the time of this writing he was reaching out to Sundar Pichai, the Senior Vice President at Google in charge of Android and Chrome… So that’s probably not good…
As it stands now, Google is now advertising only AT&T and T-Mobile versions on Google Play. A little frustrating, as eventually you’d hope that we could get one version of the Nexus 7 which we could take to any carrier we want. It looks like Verizon doesn’t want to play ball…
VZW has crafted an official PR response:
The Google Nexus 7 is not yet a Verizon 4G LTE certified device, though it entered our process in August and we expect it will be certified shortly. Once the device is certified, we will work with Google to enable the device to be activated on our 4G LTE network.
Verizon Wireless’ certification process, which generally takes between four and six weeks, is one of the most rigorous testing protocols of any carrier, and is focused on guarding the safety and security of our network. Certification is done by third party labs approved by Verizon, and selected by the device manufacturer. Over the years, Verizon Wireless has certified hundreds of devices; information on the certification process is available to anyone at opennetwork.verizonwireless.com.
Verizon is committed to ensuring our customers have the best overall experience when any device becomes available on the nation’s most reliable network.
So, while this might not outright betray the agreement Verizon signed to support any device or service for their chunk of the 700MHz spectrum they built their LTE network on, it certainly seems to violate the spirit of what they agreed to. Especially ironic considering that their highly restrictive network approval criteria are detailed on a website called “Open Network”.
Lastly, in terms of consumer justice, I still find it frustrating that no one at VZW has addressed the awful tone of that first tweet which is probably as responsible as VZW’s actual policy in turning this into the storm it’s become.