Alert from CNET Staff

 Attention forum users:  We want you to try out the new CNET forums platform! Click here to read the details. Thanks!

Cell phones forum: Verizon Wireless crippling connectivity for Alltel customers. FCC complaint

by: winterband February 21, 2010 8:29 AM PST

Like this

0 people like this thread

Staff pick

Verizon Wireless crippling connectivity for Alltel customers. FCC complaint

by winterband - 2/21/10 8:29 AM

The following is an active complaint with the NC Atty General and the FCC regarding Verizon Wireless deliberately crippling the connectivity of customers who elected to stay on Alltel data plans. This would mostly affect people in fringe areas (though advertised as full coverage areas) An update to this complaint is that Verizon is retaliating by removing credits that we had been given because of previous service failures. Please spread this information around, especially to any Verizon customers you know who may be having connectivity problems. It COULD be deliberate.

FTC complaint # 25257585 NCDOJ Complaint # 1001670 FCC complaint 10-C00194123
BBB complaint # 9431389

This may need a technical person to understand the details.

Verizon Wireless bought Alltel and the Alltel customers could remain on Alltel plans. Verizon is now deliberately crippling the connectivity of smart phones that are on the Alltel plan instead of the more expensive Verizon plan.

We came over to Verizon Wireless when they purchased Alltel. We were/are on a data plan with one "smartphone" and the rest regular phones.

I was expecting to get better phone reception once the transition was done to merge Alltel etc. Instead I found that my phone (the smartphone) would not work well as a phone. I was advised that the smartphones don't get as good of reception (why don't they advertise that, eh?)

I have endured months of poor phone service and have gone through several phone changes (which meant wasting hundreds of dollars in accessories that I had purchased for my original smart phone).

The event that prompted me to change phones and lose my investment in accessories was an event where my wife was desperately trying to call me because our grandson was bleeding and it would not stop. My son was with me and she was able to call him to contact me, but what if he had not been there? (I thought).

For months we would be in the same car and she would be unable to call me but his phone would work just fine (same plan but his is not a data phone).

Verizon tech support suggested going to another brand of phone and one on the Verizon system so that I could get a "hybrid" PRL (preferred roaming list) so that I could get phone reception. After several more phone swaps and wasted time I was finally advised of the cause.

Verizon Wireless is deliberatly crippling the smart phones which are on an Alltel plan instead of the more expensive Verizon plan. This is only the smart phones that are being crippled. My phone has a PRL of 40059 which deliberately limits my connectivity even though I am in the advertised full coverage area. You can imagine my anger at discovering that all these months Verizon had been deliberately crippling my connectivity to try to get me to move to their more expensive plan. The Verizon plan data PRL starts with a 6

I believe that their actions may well be criminal as they are discriminating against former Alltel data phone customers.

It was a tech support manager who revealed this to me because they are very frustrated in trying to give support to people whose phones are being deliberately disabled by a crippled PRL.

This deliberate crippling of smartphones that are still on Alltel plans could cause public safety issues such as the incident when my grandson was bleeding. Imagine when I discovered that my phones failures and poor reception was a DELIBERATE marketing strategy by Verizon.

Update 2/17/2010 I was contacted by one Karen Milbrodt from the Verizon Wireless President's office stating that because I was on an Alltel plan that I was not entitled to the same connectivity that I would have if I was on a Verizon plan. She basically confirmed my allegations. Also she advised me that I was not entitled to the credits that had been applied to my account by an earlier customer service manager and that they were going to remove the credits. I had been concerned about this retaliation by Verizon Wireless.

If you are a smart phone customer who is on an Alltel plan with Verizon wireless and you are having connectivity problems please note the complaint numbers at the beginning.

Steve Winter


This is my reply to Verizon's 2/17/2010 answer to the North Carolina Dept of Justice

FTC complaint # 25257585 NCDOJ Complaint # 1001670 FCC complaint 10-C00194123
BBB complaint # 9431389

I have expanded my complaint to include fraud and false advertising by Verizon Wireless

Re File # 1001670
In the Verizon Wireless response they admit my allegation that they are limiting the connectivity of Alltel customers by providing a crippled PRL. That most certainly does limit the connectivity of the phone. Their excuse for their discrimination against Alltel plan customers affirms my allegation.

We are in a fringe area, BUT this area is advertised by Alltel and Verizon Wireless as being a full coverage area. This amounts to an admission of false advertising by Verizon Wireless.

The credits given us previously were due to the past trouble that we had been experiencing. I am not privy to how the customer service manager coded the credits but we were promised the credits for many years into the future as incentive to stay with Verizon., and as compensation for past troubles.
It was my concern that Verizon would retaliate for my filing this complaint by removing the promised credits. I had called Verizon many many times and wasted many hours on the phone with a plethora of problems. The customer service manager was able to see all of the problems we had been having.

Verizon also admits that the unlimited free photo, free video etc. plan that we are on does use minutes which is also an admission of false advertising on the part of Alltel

Verizon is engaged in a pattern of limiting connectivity of Alltel customers, especially those on data plans. The other phones my family members carry have a DIFFERENT PRL from mine that does seem to work. It is my data smart phone that has the deliberate connectivity limitation.

In summary, in the letter from Karen Milbrodt she admits the following:

1.Verizon/Alltel continues to advertise full coverage in areas that they KNOW that they do not have full coverage.
2.Verizon/Alltel are advertising an unlimited text video and photo family data package knowing full well that they are charging call minutes for use of those unlimited features.
3.I was promised the credits that she now is removing. The details she provides are just a lame excuse for Verizon's retaliation for my filing this complaint. Obviously credits don't block unwanted features which should establish that she is lying. The credits were given as a culmination of many ongoing problems and trouble tickets etc. I was told that data had to be enabled for the photo and video messaging features to work. The credits were compensation and incentive to stay with Verizon.

I feel to add that it was Verizon tech support who first advised me that I needed a better PRL to fix the connectivity issues that I was experiencing. It is my understanding that Verizon has in some areas actually transferred towers FROM Alltel use to exclusive use for Verizon plan customers with the effect of further limiting connectivity of the Alltel customers.

Today I have very poor connectivity and I am very much within an area that is advertised by Verizon/Alltel as a full coverage area. I ask that my complaint be expanded to include false advertising AND deliberate fraud by Verizon Wireless especially Karen Milbrodt in their retaliation efforts to breach the agreement that I had been given in the $19.95 credit per line to stay with Verizon.

Steve Winter

Forum Icon Legend

  • UnreadUnread
  • ReadRead
  • Locked threadLocked thread
  • ModeratorModerator
  • CNET StaffCNET Staff
  • Samsung StaffSamsung Staff
  • Norton Authorized Support TeamNorton Authorized Support Team
  • AVG StaffAVG Staff
  • avast! Staffavast! Staff
  • Webroot Support TeamWebroot Support Team
  • Acer Customer Experience TeamAcer Customer Experience Team
  • Windows Outreach TeamWindows Outreach Team
  • DISH staffDISH staff
  • Dell StaffDell Staff
  • Intel StaffIntel Staff
  • QuestionQuestion
  • Resolved questionResolved question
  • General discussionGeneral discussion
  • TipTip
  • Alert or warningAlert or warning
  • PraisePraise
  • RantRant

You are e-mailing the following post: Post Subject

Your e-mail address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the e-mail and in case of transmission error. Neither your address nor the recipient's address will be used for any other purpose.

Sorry, there was a problem emailing this post. Please try again.

Submit Email Cancel

Thank you. Sent email to


Thank you. Sent email to


You are reporting the following post: Post Subject

If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

Offensive: Sexually explicit or offensive language

Spam: Advertisements or commercial links

Disruptive posting: Flaming or offending other users

Illegal activities: Promote cracked software, or other illegal content

Sorry, there was a problem submitting your post. Please try again.

Submit Report Cancel

Your message has been submitted and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.


Your message has been submitted and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.


You are posting a reply to: Post Subject

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to the CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to CBS Interactive Site Terms of Use.

You are currently tracking this discussion. Click here to manage your tracked discussions.

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

Sorry, there was a problem submitting your post. Please try again.

Sorry, there was a problem generating the preview. Please try again.

Duplicate posts are not allowed in the forums. Please edit your post and submit again.

Submit Reply Preview Cancel

Thank you, , your post has been submitted and will appear on our site shortly.