Verizon is having quite a month, as the company’s LTE network has suffered three outages, shutting down access to smartphone and wireless hotspot customers across the country. Verizon went on a PR offensive and said that sometimes being the pioneer leads to growing pains.
In an interview with GigaOm, Verizon’s VP of network engineering Mike Haberman tried to explain the LTE problems that occurred. Basically, he said the issues were with the service delivery core (IP Multimedia Subsystem), which replaces the old signal equipment used in 2G and 3G networks
Haberman also said that running such a service on a large scale means there would be some issues but it is taking steps to address those. On the bright side (I guess), these outages came from different bugs, so at least it’s not one recurring issue.
“Being the pioneers, we’re going to experience some growing pains,” Haberman told GigaOm. “These issues we’ve been experiencing are certainly regrettable but they were unforeseeable.”
What Haberman said is absolutely true, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that Verizon was unprepared for these disruptions, as these 4G issues have been somewhat puzzling for a company which markets itself as the “most reliable wireless provider in the country.” That said, Verizon does deserve a little bit of a break. I’m not going to pretend that I know the intricacies behind LTE and HSPA, but I do know they’re completely different architectures.
We can cut Verizon a little bit of slack because it’s the first and when its 4G LTE is working, it’s pretty darn good. We won’t be as kind to other networks though because when AT&T and Sprint roll out its 4G LTE networks, these companies had better learn from Verizon’s mistakes.