Verizon is sending out notices that it will disconnect 19,000 lines spanning 8,500 accounts due to high roaming fees.
Users in rural parts of 13 states Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin face the ax by October 17. If the current customers don’t move to a new carrier by the deadline. They could lose the ability to port their phone number.
Despite being enrolled in the company’s “LTE in Rural America” program and being offered unlimited plans. It looks like many families will lose the best option they have for cellular service.
The LTE in Rural America plan’s purpose was for Verizon to team up with small rural carriers. To build out cellular infrastructure and allow those small carriers to lease spectrum.
Now, Verizon is trying to pull out of those agreements and leave some customers out in the cold.
Verizon claims that the affected customers are using “substantial amounts of data”. On the other hand, one of the affected customer says her family has never used more than 50GB a month across four lines despite having an unlimited plan. The problem comes down to, as it often does, dollars and cents.
Verizon can’t make money off these customers if they’re paying out more in roaming fees than bringing in from monthly payments. The problem is so bad, apparently, that Verizon is willing to forgive any current charges on the account. The balance of financed phones to get customers to move. While this sounds like a great deal for the customer. The lack of other desirable carrier options negates any savings or credits they might see.
Often in rural areas, the only choices are national carriers who get spotty coverage and regional carriers who charge higher prices.
It seems, though, that not every line in these areas will be disconnected. Many lines who aren’t costing Verizon money will remain active. Verizon refused to give a cap on how much roaming data one could use before they became unprofitable.
The letters that will be heading out to affected Verizon customers soon. Customers don’t give the recipients any recourse or options to stay with the carrier.