I’m Down to Two Bars

by Colin Berkshire

At my home I have enjoyed 5 bars of Verizon coverage for decades. This is the reason that I went with Verizon so long ago. AT&T had spotty coverage and a lot of dropped calls. T-Mobile only had “2G Edge” service. Sprint didn’t have coverage. But over time things have changed. T-Mobile has three bars of service on my wife’s phone. Verizon dropped to 4 bars about a year ago. Within the past month the coverage had dropped to just 2 bars, and occasionally 1 bar.

To me it seems clear what is happening. (It’s only an educated guess.) Verizon is dumping cell sites and getting worse.

Since Verizon has switched to unlimited usage, they have no economic incentive to actually let you use any service. Frankly, the way for them to maximize coverage is to lock you into a 2 year contract and then throttle you down to the point where they have very little cost.

This is not just speculation. Verizon has publicly admitted that as tower cell cite leases come up for renewal they are “carefully analyzing” the location. Presumably after they carefully analyze the location they can save a thousand bucks a month by discontinuing the tower.

And what precipitated this?

Well, a few years ago Verizon decided it was imperative that they acquire AOL. To finance this $5 Billion purchase they sold off all of the towers they owned. It was roughly an even swap, as they brought in about $5 Billion by selling their towers.

But now Verizon must pay rent to be on the towers they once owned. This is an out of pocket expense. So every tower that they can ditch is a thousand bucks a month in their pocket. And, since the don’t publish their tower locations, the public and regulators are none the wiser.

I think one or two of the towers that they used to own got caught up in this. And, so they no longer use the primary tower near my house. It’s just a theory. But why else would I no longer have the Verizon coverage that I have had for decades?

Thank goodness Verizon has AOL now. Right?