Nexus 7 Intro

Verizon Refuses to Activate the Nexus 7 LTE on its Network

September 20, 2013 - Written By Cory McNutt

We were so eager to get our hands on the new Nexus 7 (2013) when Hugo Barra announced the device at the “Breakfast with Pichai,” event held in July.  But the debut of this wonderful and powerful tablet has seen more than its share of rocky starts.  Oh, we expect a few bugs on any new device, but the main problem the Nexus is facing are the carriers, specifically AT&T and Verizon.  We saw the above screen showing that the three major U.S. carriers would indeed offer the device on their networks.

Nexus 7 Avail GP

Next we saw the device offered in the Play Store – true it comes with a T-Mobile SIM, but the device is unlocked and therefore available to use on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile with the proper SIM Card.  This way Google can sell one Nexus 7 model and it can be used on all all three networks.  The problems started as AT&T and Verizon customers tried to activate their SIM Card, AT&T has a glitch in some programming it appears, but Verizon has decided to simply prevent activation.  When one customer questioned Verizon about their issues, he received this tweet:

Nexus 7 Tweet

It seems like the main reason the Nexus 7 is not on Verizon’s compatible list now is because the Nexus 7 was designed with only a LTE and GSM modem inside, no CDMA.  Sprint, Verizon, and a few smaller carriers in the US, use a technology termed CDMA for their 3G technology.  So this means if you are in an area that receives LTE,  you would be OK, but as soon as you leave that area and the service would drop to 3G, you would be disconnected.  Verizon must feel that would be a poor customer experience, which is true, but begs the question, why didn’t the new Nexus 7 include the CDMA technology, knowing the largest carrier could not use it, at least seamlessly from LTE to 3G.  All of this after Verizon’s PR sent out this statement on 10/18:

The Google Nexus 7 is not yet a Verizon 4G LTE certified device, though it entered our process in August and we expect it will be certified shortly. Once the device is certified, we will work with Google to enable the device to be activated on our 4G LTE network.

According to the FCC rules it is the law that Verizon should allow this activation to proceed:

(b) Use of devices and applications. Licensees offering service on spectrum subject to this section shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network, except:
(1) Insofar as such use would not be compliant with published technical standards reasonably necessary for the management or protection of the licensee’s network, or
(2) As required to comply with statute or applicable government regulation.

A customer took his complaint to the FCC and wrote the following:

Verizon is refusing to connect my tablet though it has been approved by the FCC and is compliant with standards such that it is also being offered and being activated on AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s LTE networks. Further, Verizon is instead attempting to require that I buy a tablet from them. This is a clear violation of the letter and intent of the openness requirement on Block C.

I later tested Verizon’s claim that the device could not be connected. I took the SIM from my Chromebook Pixel, placed it in the Nexus 7 LTE table, and it connected to the Verizon network just fine. So the issue is not that the device cannot be connected but that Verizon will not connect it.

Thus it is clear that Verizon is violating the terms of the Block C spectrum auction and of its consent decree with the Enforcement Bureau of the Commission.

Verizon’s response to the FCC was basically, be patient and the blamed Google for announcing the device on their network before Verizon had a chance to test and certify it, and Verizon claims their testing procedure is with the guidelines of their Block C purchase of spectrum.

So it does appear that Verizon may finally certify the Nexus 7 on their network, but how long that will take, we do not know at this point.  In the meantime, you can put your SIM Card in from another, activated device, and use the Nexus 7, as long as you have 4G LTE service.  What do you think about Verizon’s attitude and do you think they will eventually allow Nexus 7 activations or simply hope it “blows” by.