verizon horns

Update: Verizon has responded to our inquiry about the Nexus 7 LTE registration issues. A company representative said that the Nexus 7 LTE would be certified for the Verizon network at some point.

That isn't much to go on, but it's certainly promising - it implies that Verizon is at least aware of the problem and taking steps towards upgrading the company's infrastructure to compensate. Of course, it could take any amount of time for Verizon to certify a new, unlocked device for their network (and Verizon isn't exactly known for speedy response when it comes to devices and software).

Verizon will need a some kind of system for allowing unlocked devices eventually - see the Block C LTE requirements below. Here's hoping that the availability of a reasonably popular unlocked LTE tablet makes them accelerate whatever plans they may have had. We'll be keeping an eye on the situation, of course.


The new LTE model of the Nexus 7 2013 is compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon LTE bands. Which is great, especially for Verizon customers who want a Nexus device and haven't had any new options for almost two years. But there's a huge fly in the ointment: Verizon doesn't want the device on their network. At all. The company is refusing to open new data lines activated with the unlocked, LTE-only Nexus 7.


Let's take a look at the technical side of things before we continue. The Nexus 7 LTE is a GSM-LTE device - it will work on the 3G GSM bands of AT&T and T-Mobile, plus the LTE bands for both carriers. Verizon's network is a hybrid of the older CDMA standard and the newer LTE standard, which is based on GSM technology. That's why LTE-capable Verizon phones use a SIM card whereas earlier 3G-CDMA phones didn't, and had to be individually activated on the network. Google and ASUS decided to work around this with the Nexus 7: it includes the LTE bands for Verizon but no CDMA radio. That means that the Nexus 7 LTE works on Verizon's LTE network (but not the older 3G network) with a Verizon SIM card. Take a SIM from any currently-activated Verizon device, throw it in the Nexus 7 LTE, and it will have data access.

Unfortunately, Verizon is still clinging to its older business model when it comes to actual device activations (which in this case means SIM cards as well). Apparently Verizon lacks the infrastructure to activate a new device/data line on an LTE-only device without a legacy CDMA radio and the corresponding ESN or MEID identifier. This shouldn't be that much of an issue: paying or prospective Verizon customers should be able to call Verizon or walk into a Verizon retail store to set up a new data line, right?

Wrong. At present, it appears that Verizon is either unable or unwilling to set up a new line of service for a device that the company isn't offering as part of its official lineup. After This Week In Google podcast regular Jeff Jarvis complained that he couldn't activate his new Nexus 7 LTE, the official Verizon Twitter support account had this to say:

Plenty of customers have been able to swap SIM cards from "legitimate" Verizon devices into the new Nexus 7 and have it work without issue. That would seem to suggest that any Verizon employee could set up a new line with, say, a demonstration tablet, then give the SIM card to a customer. There may be corporate policies that are preventing this from happening, and at least one user on the resulting Reddit thread claims that a Verizon employee refused to sell him data service and the SIM card to use it. Another user claiming to be a Verizon representative says that the limitation is a technical one (despite the seemingly flippant response above) resulting from the Nexus 7's lack of an ESN.

Obviously this is a big blow for Verizon customers, but it's a major headache for Google as well: the LTE version of the Nexus 7 2013 has been promoted as Verizon-compatible since the announcement event. There are also some legal issues for Verizon: as part of the conditions of the company's purchase of the Block C LTE spectrum, they are required to allow customers to access to the network on any compatible device. Verizon may be able to stall on this point, since it's technically possible to use the Nexus 7 LTE on Verizon, and they aren't legally required to allow non-Verizon devices until they implement voice services over LTE. And the "open access" provisions of that sale are something that Verizon has publicly denounced, and the company's compliance doesn't mean what some power users may wish that it means. There is also a network security provision that could mean Verizon is free to refuse any individual device, including those that lack support for its legacy authentication systems.

So what can you do if you're a Nexus 7 LTE owner who can't activate a new line? Aside from switching to a less draconian carrier, you can try your luck at a retail store. Licensed resellers (non-franchised brick-and-mortar stores, or the phone sections of department stores) may be more eager to activate a new line via the swapping method, regardless of a device sale or compatibility. We've reached out to Verizon representatives for comment. At the time of writing, the company has made no official statement on the matter... unless you count the tweet above.

Source: Jeff Jarvis (Google+), Reddit

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

    Verizon: pissing off basically everyone since 2000.

    • ProductFRED

      When I worked for them (in a non-corporate store), I noticed that there were two main types of customers:

      - Those who absolutely needed service everywhere (doctors, construction workers, etc)/money is no object.

      - Those who don't know or care that there are better carriers. In other words those susceptible to their "WE ARE THE BEST" marketing (average Joes).

      I can understand the reliability aspect (they generally are), but unless you live in the middle of nowhere or have something else preventing you from jumping ship, you should. I get tired of the big 2 (AT&T and Verizon) corroborating and finding new ways to rip people off (EDGE and NEXT). Verizon does not care about you. I once had a doctor come in with a BB Storm 2. He'd gone through 5 or so replacements and rightfully wanted something else. Specifically he asked to be downgraded to a Curve, because he'd miss calls from patients all the time due to the phone freezing, crashing, and dying. Verizon over the phone told me to tell him that he could leave them if he wanted, but they were not going to give him another phone.

      • ERIFNOMI

        Well I'd like to fill you in on a 3rd type of customer, the type I am. We're the ones who are basically fucked and have no other choice. It's Verizon or AT&T and really what's the difference?

        • UtopiaNH

          Verizon is way worse than AT&T

          • ERIFNOMI

            Worse, but not way worse. They're both so low down the shit tree that it doesn't matter. I'd like to switch to AT&T, but they cost the same so keeping my unlimited data outweighs dealing with VZW.

          • spydie

            who says so?

          • UtopiaNH

            Simply by being GSM, it means AT&T can't pull the same level of bullshit.

        • spunker88

          At&t is GSM so you can bring you own device and there are prepaid options that run from At&t towers. AIO Wireless, Straight Talk, GoPhone, etc.

        • ProductFRED

          I thought your category would go without being said. AT&T is automatically better for allowing you to use any device you want (GSM). This whole Nexus 7 issue doesn't exist on GSM carriers since they don't rely on proprietary CDMA to activate, and "activation" is just placing your SIM in any device you want.

          • spydie

            as long as you don't mind dropped calls all the time and shitty customer service. GSM is a LOT handier for switching phones and using the SIM in other devices, but good points associated with it stop right there.

      • Zieen

        While a majority of the US population may have access to more than just Verizon in their home area, a majority of the country only has coverage from Verizon (good coverage). In my area, I could switch to Sprint (who I have had terrible customer service experiences with), but if I left town I would lose coverage.

        I stick with Verizon, because they are the only company that provides good coverage and I've never had any issues with their customer service. They may be over-priced and have little interest in customer satisfaction at a corporate level, but they are generally the best option outside of major metropolitan areas.

        • spydie

          good come-back, but I disagree on the "over-priced" bit. They really don't cost us anymore for a family plan than any of the others and I've had all four carriers.

          • jimv1983

            I'm not really sure what family plan you have but I just did a comparison of the 4 major carriers and this is what I found:

            Plan: 4 lines. Unlimited voice and text. 10 GB of data between all 4 lines.

            Verizon: $250/month
            T-Mobile: $140/month
            AT&T: $240/month
            Sprint: $140/month (Sprint did not have a 10GB data plan only unlimited).

            So you can see that Verizon is the most expensive at $250/month for the 4 lines. Even AT&T is cheaper but only by $10/month. Both T-Mobile and Sprint are more than $100/month cheaper.

          • John O’Connor

            Unfortunately that math is off. You forgot to select the data packages (per device) on sprint and tmobile. Unfortunately this makes them all roughly $240-260/ month once you factor in the data package add on and monthly device fee if any.

            I just tried this myself on all 4 carriers websites and in the end they are all the same, with the exception of sprint offering unlimited and tmobile taking away the monthly subsidy if bought outright.

            Then again all the carriers have their own version of a nonsubsidy plan, which brings them more in line with tmobiles supposedly lower pricing when device subsidies are removed. I didn't expect sprint to remove their other plans online which are still available and are cheaper for 4 lines

          • jimv1983

            I'm not sure what you were looking at on T-Mobile's web site but you are just wrong.


            Select 4 lines and the starting price is $100/month which includes 500MB of data per line. Upgrading each line to 2.5GB adds $10/month to each line. That is a total of $140/month and is unlimited voice and text and 10GB of data at 2.5GB x 4 lines. Even 5 lines with unlimited data for ALL lines only came to $210/month.


          • John O’Connor

            Is that with or without the subsidy? Because most people aren't going to fork over the money for 4 devices at full price?

            Again I mentioned that I did not compare and unmobile, jump, next, etc pricing plans although every carrier now has them.

          • jimv1983

            For AT&T and Verizon there is no with or without subsidy because you are paying the same for service either way. With Verizon and AT&T you end up paying more in the long run. They sell you the phone for a discounted price but after the two years are up and they have made back the money they lost on the phones they still continue to charge the same higher subsidized price. T-Mobile does not do that.

            For the 4 line T-Mobile example you pay the same price for the phones no matter what. If you buy them on a payment plan you have a separate charge each month. At the end of the 2 years your bill goes down because the phones are paid off. If you decide to pay off the phones early you can do that and your bill again goes back down. If you decided to pay for the phones up front your bill is the $140/month. With AT&T and Verizon it actually costs you more if you buy the phones full price because the service is the same price either way. Also, even if you do finance the phones each month it is an extra $84/month for 4 Galaxy S4 phones which makes it $224 which is still less than Verizon.

            Take for example the Galaxy S4 on T-Mobile.

            If you pay off the phone at the beginning it is $604. If you pay for it over the 2 year period it is $100 at the beginning and $21/month for 2 years. $21 x 24 = $504 + $100 = $604.

            Let's take a look at the total cost over 2 years using the subsidized phone costs.

            For this example I am again using the Galaxy S4.

            Service: $140 x 24 = $3,360
            Phones: $604 x 4 = $2,416
            Total: $5,776

            Service: $240 x 24 = $5,760
            Phones: $200 x 4 = $800 (Remember the rest of the cost will be gotten back plus MORE over the 2 years).
            Total: $6,560

            So including the cost of the phones T-Mobile costs $784 less over 2 years or a per month savings of about $32.

            Personally I have AT&T because
            1. T-Mobile sucks in my area.
            2. I had an individual plan that isn't available any more that is only 1000 sms and 2GB of data. The normal price for my plan is $75/month. Plus I also have a work discount which makes my bill $65.

            If T-Mobile gets better in my area and AT&T ever makes me upgrade to a current plan I will switch.

      • Magneira

        Your description very much matchs what I believe to be the smartphone users, 1 being the Android and WP7 users and 2 being iOS users.

      • spydie

        had the same thing happen with ATT and Sprint. Same shit, different day.

    • varun

      Agreed, but I also blame the FTC. It didn't participate in the creation of the GSM standard, didn't mandate the adoption of it, and refused (still does) to involve itself in portability and open access regulations. The predictable result was a hodge-podge of conflicting network types, which didn't benefit anyone other than a bunch of patent holders (hello, Qualcomm). Imagine if in 2000, the FTC had mandated GSM; seriously, can you believe the years of incompatible, shitty handhelds we'd have avoided?


      • rstat1

        Don't you mean FCC? I'm pretty sure a trade commission has nothing at all to do with communications standards.

        I also don't believe the FCC has to power to mandate any particular standard over another. Have you see the kind of crap they had to go through for passing any sort of Net Neutraility rules? Just take that fight and times by a billion and you'd see the kind of problem trying to mandate a wireless standard would be.

        • varun

          Correct, FCC not FTC. I'm pretty sure they can set parameters like that, as they can only license frequencies for certain uses.

      • Asphyx

        It's a double edged sword when your dealing with the FCC...
        Sure they could have mandated GSM..But then we would probably not have LTE because it wasn't mandated by the FCC. Mandates usually stifle innovation. So there are benefits to the hands off approach they take...
        The issue isn't what they do or don't mandate it's all the exceptions to every rule they make that gives every company under their charge able to ignore whatever the rule was intended to fix.

        Such as the security exception that Verizon has used for everything from blocked devices, own phone activation and even Data Tiering as the excuse for what they do.
        Technically the tiered Data they force everyone into is as much a LIMITING OF USE of the spectrum they have bought but they use the security excuse to say if they don't limit it the netowrk will be at risk.

        Pile of Bull it's just a money grab it doesn't cost them a penny more to give you 3 gb as it does 10 gb. All that happens is the network might be a little slower during high use times.

        • varun

          I don't know about that: all the carriers have gone back to the FCC to get official blessing for deploying LTE. T-Mobile more than once, actually: once to get their AT&T donation up and running, then reallocation of PCS to HSPA and such.

          As to not having LTE develop organically ... carriers in most countries are fiercely competitive and they drive GSMA to develop new standards to try to lure new customers in, reallocate their spectrum in more efficient ways, reduce power and base station needs, and push up speeds. Frankly, I trust the GSMA to keep innovating and standardizing in a way that I do not trust any of the carriers or manufacturers to do so.

  • Hunter Knepshield

    Guess I'm switching carriers again when the Nexus 5 (4?) is announced... Even if it has LTE support it looks like they won't activate it. Maybe they'll treat phones differently.

    • Sir_Brizz

      I seriously doubt it. Why do you think they decided to stick with CDMA?

    • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

      The Nexus 5 won't work on Verizon -- according to the spec, the LTE bands that it supports cover Verizon's AWS band only, which has not been rolled out. On top of that, as a phone, you will need a CDMA radio that supports Verizon's band to make calls because VoLTE has not been rolled out either.

  • PhineasJW

    The embodiment of pure corporate evil.

    Vote with your feet and leave. Losing market share is the only thing that will force them to change.

    • spydie

      If all the whiners on this blog left VZ, they wouldn't even notice. Rant on. Cut off your nose to spite your face and buy a worse carrier just because you are mad at VZ.

      • PhineasJW

        You or a relative work there?

        There are two ways for Verizon to change:

        1. They start losing market share.
        2. The FCC or Congress steps in and forces them to open up their network.

        Sorry you find this offensive.

  • Dwayne

    This is the last straw. When my contract is up, I'm gone.

    • Dean Politis

      I left Verizon over the Galaxy Nexus debacle

      • Ian Santopietro

        My new Nexus 4 comes in tomorrow.

  • http://twitter.com/SParKlngCyaNide SparklingCyanide

    And absolutely nobody is surprised at this, Verizon being Verizon as usual. Mega Lame.

  • Captain Spaulding[1800+ posts]

    Verizon sucks.

  • Guest


  • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

    How about buying a Verizon supported tablet, add a SIM, activate it, then return the tablet and keep the SIM? First of all, you get the activated SIM. Secondly, we give Verizon a whole bunch of returned tablets that they can only be sold as refurbished!

    • Defenestratus

      I've got my old Xoom 4G SIM card sitting here. All I'd need to do is reactivate it.

      Someone want to give me a Nexus 7 LTE to try? ;)

      • Joe

        Your IMEI number is the answer. LTE Simcards can be activated through Verizon's web interface with a Verizon device IMEI, but the CDMA portion can not without an MEID. So while the donor device is never actually activated, the simcard is. Well, the nexus doesn't have a CDMA portion to worry about. Interesting....

  • Evan Jenkins

    What I think is really odd is that I have been hearing "Verizon is the wooorrrsstt!!!1111 EVAR!!!!1 I HAT THEM SOOO MUCH" and "AS SOON AS MY CONTRACT IS UP I'M GONE" Yet Verizon is still a super popular carrier. (Not a Verizon supporter, been on AT&T since the iPhone3GS) But what is it about Verizon, despite their obnoxious ways such as demanding metric tons of bloatware, refusing devices on their network without the OEM kowtowing to a laundry list of ridiculous demands, and slapping massive logos on the back, front (and home button amirite?)

    Despite dozens of stories like this, Verizon's numbers haven't declined, they haven't had any kind of financial issues at all, in fact, they have only gotten bigger (I apologize for not having any solid numbers to back this up, so I could be off on this) Is their network just so much better than the competition that no one is willing to leave them? I not trying to be mean about this, but I am thoroughly confused.

    • Defenestratus

      All of the issues you have pointed out are totally irrelevant to any customer who doesn't visit cell phone blogs for entertainment :P

      • Evan Jenkins

        True, and I understand that some people just want to let off some steam, that's fine. But when I hear people complain about some valid issues like Verizon not supporting Google wallet (I know that AT&T and other carriers don't support it either) and dragging their heals on updates to the Galaxy Nexus (to the point of being mocked by everyone in the Android blog business) It makes me wonder, I thought about switching to VZ but after I did some research about their network strength here in West Virginia, and their sour business policies I stuck with At&T and haven't looked back. I guess some people don't do research about their carrier, but if I have to sign a 24 month contract, You better believe I'm gonna search every nook and cranny before I make a decision.

    • didibus

      Most of those "issues" are the reason why they stay strong. Slapping their logo on all the phones is a way to advertise their brand.

    • spydie

      first of all you don't have to get a 2 year contract, guys... there are two other options, so stop bellyaching about "I just hate to have to get another 2 year contract." Secondly, while VZ business practices really piss off a lot of people, they are best carrier in the US bar none. I carried a tmo and an ATT phone with me all over the US and tested it against VZ. ATT covered about the half the areas that VZ did, and TMO only covered you in big cities. If you want a phone that works everywhere, you HAVE to get VZ (and no, they really aren't any more expensive than ATT, at least not our family plan). If you live in a big city where the "drop call king" resides (ATT) and you get good service and you never travel anywhere, then there's no need to go to VZ. I need better coverage than sprint/tmo/att have because I travel a lot in my motorhome and I'm really tired of dropped calls (ATT). TMO has the very best voice quality in their calls and no dropped calls, so we can't say that ATT's problem is because it's GSM. But unfortunately, TMO has very limited coverage. But if I lived in an area that had great TMO coverage and I never needed to leave that area, I'd be with TMO in a heartbeat.

  • James

    Can I use my 4G LTE XOOM SIM card in the NEXUS 7? Will Verizon able to detect the NEXUS 7 if I use my XOOM SIM card?

    • assaa


    • Jaime

      You can do it. They will not know it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Assuming the XOOM uses a microSIM, yes, it should work.

      • Jaime

        He can just cut the sim to make it fit.

    • Defenestratus

      I don't see why on a technical level you couldn't do that - but I remember a VZW rep saying that massive roaming charges would apply if the SIM card was put into a different device. Could be a baseless threat, could have legs.

    • http://androidtaskforce.com/ Chris Gustafson

      Yes, just trim the SIM card. If you want a microSIM, just call Verizon and they'll send you one, you can then activate that SIM on the XOOM line.

  • http://androidtaskforce.com/ Chris Gustafson

    This isn't new...Verizon has never allowed you to activate just a SIM (which is what you would have to do since they don't sell the Nexus 7).

    Best bet is to go buy an old 4G hotspot for about $20 (http://goo.gl/ZWOjRl) and let Verizon activate it, then just switch the SIM to the tablet. If happen to do that and use that particular hotspot you'll need to trim the SIM, but that's really easy.


    I thought Verizon wasn't allowed to do this. I forget the stipulations of that Block C deal again. So much confusion was spread around during that time.

  • Willie D

    Verizon just lost a ton of market share on this device, and AT&T and TMobile gained.

  • train234

    F verizon

  • Michael Parsons

    And this is why I left the Red Baron known as Verizon.

  • MeCampbell30

    This seems like an unlawful boycott (of all non Verizon-cartel phones) in violation of antitrust laws. Someone should tell the DOJ to bring an enforcement action. Like, immediately.

  • Paul Tobeck

    This is exactly the BS that makes me really, REALLY want to leave Verizon, but can't just yet until the other options around here (AHEM, AT&T and Sprint) get their LTE shit together. AT&T is so bad in my area that the local AT&T service guys carry Verizon phones (Seriously), but they are slowly improving. Sprint's 3G is just pathetic and T-Mobile is non-existent. My wife just got a Note 2 in March, so she's stuck for another year and a half, but I'm up in March 2014. I damn sure don't want to get stuck for another 2 years if anybody else makes strides in the local coverage.

    • Paul Tobeck

      Oh, and on a side note...Jeff Jarvis's Cheerios are not ones to be pissed in.

    • spydie

      stuck? Nobody makes you extend your contract.

      • Paul Tobeck

        I could always pay the ETF+the cost of a new phone on a different carrier, but most of the time I don't have that kind of spare cash laying around doing nothing. I've still got 7 months to go, and my POS Rezound value used wouldn't come close to covering the ETF.
        As I said, there isn't another option that works everywhere I need it to, but 7 months is a long time and maybe AT&T can get enough towers activated to make it tolerable.

  • RaptorOO7

    And yet when Verizon bought that lovely 700Mhz spectrum it was tied to allowing any device to work on that spectrum and yet here we are again with Verizon saying NO. No to Google Wallet, No to Tethering Apps and No to LTE use with a device that can be used on it.

    So when is that lame ass FCC Chairwoman going to get a pair and actually do something. You know WE PAY HER FRIGGIN SALARY!

  • MeCampbell30

    Also, I'm surprised no one knew about this until now.

  • ConCal

    I wish Google would just buy them or something. They suck.

  • MeCampbell30

    "Verizon may be able to stall on this point, since it's technically possible to use the Nexus 7 LTE on Verizon, and they aren't legally required to allow non-Verizon devices until they implement voice services over LTE."

    I'm not sure this is right.

  • John O’Connor

    Yet the Chromebook Pixel works just fine on Verizon LTE only. hmmm

  • Greg H

    Having been doing Verizon activations for a few years ow I can give a little insight into the problem at hand. It really is as simple as the device needs an ESN, MEID or IMEI to be activated as a new line. It really is that simple. Sim swapping works since the service is already active from another line. If you want to use the Nexus 7 on Verizon, get a new line of service and purchase a tablet. Sell it on Ebay, Craigslist ect and put your sim into the N7.

  • mattj78

    Why isn't such a crucial market more tightly regulated? Why can't it be like is done in Europe. The European Union do a lot of things wrong but dealing with Telcos is not one of them. In Europe there is one standard mandated and all devices are compatible, when a contract is over the customer can get their device unlocked and go to whatever carrier they like. This sees carriers actually compete for Customers and frankly it puts the power in the customer's hands and not the carrier.

  • shirlbissell

    I get paid over $87
    per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I'd be able
    to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she
    convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I've been

  • Caleb Escamilla

    Inorder for a sim to be activated on verizon it must have a "suported" device to activate it. In sort there sim cards require cdma to activate after that yiur good to go. Its not that verizon employees dont want to activate it its that they cant due to system limitations but thats never stoped us tech savy users