While watching the latest episode of Breaking Bad today (which I must say is one of the best shows on TV right now), I witnessed the latest Verizon Wireless Best Buy commercial advertising Verizon Wireless phones, boasting VZW's incredible network coverage, ultra speeds, and reliability.

It was going so well until I saw a close-up of the phone that lasted a good number of seconds for everyone to witness... no, not the 4G LTE symbol, and not even the 3G symbol. Nope - the phone is roaming (it has also been pointed out in the comments that on some devices this symbol could also mean it's unactivated, which is even worse). To top things off, at the exact moment this happened, the cheery narrator was talking about network reliability. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a fail.

Best Buy, I think it'd be a good idea to run your ads by a few techie people - just a suggestion. And while you're at it, do you really think that pushing VZ Navigator, the V Cast Music/Video stores, and other apps nobody wants all the way to the top of the screen is going to impress potential buyers? Vizzaw, please.


Update: And here's the video:

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • http://TheAndroidSource.com Chris Gustafson

    It wasn't roaming, it was unactivated.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      As far as I know, that's the roaming indicator. That's what it looks like on all roaming Android phones I've seen.

      Unactivated devices should still show network signal, at least 3G.

      • Frank

        I've never seen that icon when roaming. Usually it's a small R on top of the signal bar

        • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

          Either way, that's not something you want to put in a commercial. Especially, if it's an unactivated device.

        • Brian

          I've seen that icon plenty of times. The triangle indicates roaming. There's a dead spot about 20 miles from my house that I always pass through and my DX definitely shows that icon. Definitely a fail by Best Buy

        • Vaskess

          That's true. This is NOT the roaming indicator - I know, becasue I travel abroad a lot. The Roaming indicator (R) replaces the 3G (or 3.5) indication in the signal bar.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

          It can actually vary by device. On the Incredible 2, it is just the R for roaming, but other Verizon devices will show the triangle when roaming. Also if you are in an area where there is CDMA service but no roaming agreement with Verizon or Verizon native service, you can see this icon, even on the Incredible 2.

          This is just likely just not activated though as that icon will appear when you have either no home network programmed into the phone or the phone is connected to a non-home network and is not authorized to make calls on it.

      • http://TheAndroidSource.com Chris Gustafson

        It shows the roaming indicator because it doesn't have a home network...because it's not activated.

        They should have activated it for a commercial though...how hard would that have been? lol

      • http://4596Ciara zach

        Way to create a whole article on this when you don't even know what that icon means. Congratulations. I activate VZW phones on a daily basis. That is the icon that shows the device has not been activated.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

          The icon simply indicates that the device is not registered on it's home network or a home network is not defined. So it can be EITHER the phone has never been activated (the likely scenario here) OR the phone is roaming.

          I understand the point of the article though. If someone is familiar with that icon as the roaming icon, from the consumer point of view it could be negative.

    • Topgun

      That is the roaming signal my friend. Does not matter if the phone is active or not. If its not active it wont get a data connection but still a network connection. I think this guy is on BBY's marketing team realizing that he eff'd up lol

    • modplan

      No, that is the roaming signal. Unactivated phones show the same signs as activated phones. You still get the service, you just aren't authorized to use it.

  • dan

    +1 for what looks to be Charter... lol

  • Denny

    Don't know what phone you're using, Chris but that's the roaming symbol. VZ FAIL.

  • NCX

    Which HTC phone is that? it looks like a silver Incredible 2

  • NCX

    I love how people that make these commercials miss those kind of details, kinda how they showed an xbox 360 controller when advertising a PS3. Or when they are playing a fighting game they look like playing a racing one with the controller.

    Details like this are usually only caught by perspective eyes, nice catch. Probably 70% of people would have missed this. I know i'm picky when it comes to details such as these :P

  • Jaymoon

    Too funny! That's definitely the roaming indicator. Good catch. :P

  • Irish Cream

    I work for VZW. No, devices show the triangle when not activated because there is no data connection. As you can see there is voice signal. You wouldn't have data when not activated because you have no authorized data package.

    • ChumbleSpuzz

      That's probably true, but Joe Schmo phone user doesn't know that. His own experience tells him that the phone appears to be roaming. Regardless of the true cause, it looks bad.

    • Jaymoon

      Um, study up your employee manual then... Especially about phones with Sense on it. That is most definitely the Roaming icon (the triangle above the bars). Just got it over the weekend on my phone that's been activated for months.

      The roaming guard pops up right when that icon shows, warning you that you're roaming.

      • Hoochfly

        Umm...learn to read then. He didn't say it wasn't the roaming indicator....

    • modplan

      You are full of shit. I use my old Droid Inc, that is NOT activated as an "iPod" and it has a NORMAL signal indicator. That is the roaming indicator and ONLY the roaming indicator. Verizon FAIL.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

        If the phone has NEVER been activated and/or has no home SID programmed into it, you will see the Roaming Triangle. If it was previously activated and you deactivate it and the SID and everything is still programmed, you will not see the roaming triangle.

        Two situations where you will see the roaming triangle:

        1. Roaming on a non-network SID
        2. No SID programmed into the phone at all.

  • Geri O

    Irish Cream beat me to it. You "experts" not getting the inactivated triangle thing aren't much better than Best Buy. Even I knew that (after dealing with a Bionic that would not activate for 24 hours).

  • djembeman

    When I was roaming in Alaska, no Verizon coverage whatsoever, I had to enable global roaming (LG REVO) and while roaming my 3G indicator looked completely normal. I'm leaning toward this meaning non-activated or no service at all.

  • Cameron Summerson

    I find it amusing that there's a debate going on as to what the triangle indicates, when, in fact, I am currently using an unactivated Android device as an MP3 player and this illusive triangle is noticeably absent from my notification bar.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

      That will be the case if the device was previously activated. If you were to go into the manual programming menu and delete the SID and other information, you would get the triangle again. Once the home SID is programmed in (*228), the triangle goes away because it knows it is looking for Verizon. Then if you deactivate the phone it will not have the triangle if you remain in Verizon coverage, since the phone still knows Verizon is its home.

  • Jaymoon


    Yes, this is from Sprint, but I've seen it on Verizon Sense-based phones too, along with a "R" icon as well, to indicate roaming.

    Doesn't Verizon have some kind of "extended-roaming" or something along those lines?

  • Sparhawk

    Might as well rename this article a "fail fail". The device is absolutely not roaming.
    C'mon people, look at the bleeping manual already. http://www.htc.com/us/Content/documents/HTC_Incredible2/VzW_ADR6350_UM_ENG_2011APR27F.pdf page 23, shows the roaming indicator is an "R" above the signal bars. This device is not roaming, it is not yet activated or at least the Gmail account has not been entered yet.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Many phones display that symbol when they're roaming. Some phones display R. It doesn't really matter - in fact, if it's unactivated it makes it even more of a fail.

    • Mesmorino

      LOL best post in this ridiculous thread. You'd think RTFM would be de rigueur before calling out Best Buy (or is it Verizon y'all are bashing?) and starting a pointless argument.

      On the Internet.

      • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

        It's a minor point. It doesn't change the fail, only makes it worse.

  • Beejers

    You give people more credit about noticing something this minor than they deserve. And the majority of the people who would look close enough and know what it really is don't care. But I understand your need to make a big deal about it and defend your little article, you need to make a living.