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9/19/2013
09:54 AM
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Verizon LTE Nexus 7 Tests Continue

Verizon Wireless took to its blog to explain why Google's Nexus 7 tablet doesn't work on its LTE network.

Google Nexus 7, Chromecast: Visual Tour
Google Nexus 7, Chromecast: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view)
When Google announced the Nexus 7 tablet in July, it said the device would run on the LTE networks of AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. The LTE model went on sale earlier this month. It is being sold with a T-Mobile SIM card, but the device is unlocked. Unlocked devices can generally be used on other networks without issue. Some believed they'd be able to buy the LTE Nexus 7, ditch the T-Mobile SIM card, and add one of their own from either AT&T or Verizon Wireless. It turns out that's not quite the case.

"The Nexus 7 with LTE that we launched is bundled with a T-Mobile SIM. On background, it will work on other networks that allow unlocked devices. We will have more news to share soon regarding other carriers for the LTE version," said Google in an email to InformationWeek earlier this month.

The issue has since blown up in Verizon's face.

[ Google's Nexus 4 smartphone is out of the Google Play Store. Does that mean the Nexus 5 Is On Deck? ]

Huffington Post contributor Jeff Jarvis purchased the LTE Nexus 7 and took it to Verizon stores to activate it. Verizon refused. When he chided Verizon on Twitter, Verizon responded, "I'm excited you got your Nexus 7 but not all LTE tablets are created equal. It's not part of our lineup & can't be activated."

Jarvis then accused Verizon of violating the open access provisions that are attached to the 700-MHz spectrum on which Verizon operates its LTE network. When the Federal Communications Commission auctioned off the 700-MHz spectrum five years ago, it mandated that the winners allow any device to access their network. By refusing to activate the LTE Nexus 7 on its network, Verizon was seemingly in violation of that requirement.

Verizon was forced to respond.

"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," said Verizon spokesperson Debi Lewis. "Once the device is certified, we will work with Google to enable the device to be activated on our 4G LTE network."

Verizon takes device certification seriously. The process takes anywhere from four to six weeks in what Verizon calls "one of the most rigorous testing protocols of any carrier." Verizon does this to ensure the device will function properly, but also to ensure that it doesn't harm Verizon's network.

The bottom line here is that you can't yet use the Nexus 7 on Verizon's LTE network. Hopefully Verizon will complete its testing, and the device will be available via Verizon soon.

Wondering about the AT&T version? AT&T announced earlier this week that consumers can purchase an AT&T-specific version directly from the Google Play Store. It costs $349 and comes with 32 GB of storage.

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Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
9/19/2013 | 6:39:39 PM
re: Verizon LTE Nexus 7 Tests Continue
So essentially the term "unlocked" does not necessarily mean what a typical buyer thinks it means. Just another way carriers endear themselves to customers.
bhenrikson
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bhenrikson,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/21/2013 | 3:19:00 AM
re: Verizon LTE Nexus 7 Tests Continue
Maybe the real question is how well will the Nexus 7 perform on the Verizon network even if it does get certified. The lack of backward compatibility because of Verizon's CDMA network combined with the Nexus 7 lack of CDMA radios could be a very serious impediment to reliable coverage.
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