With iPhone On The Horizon, Jitters About Verizon’s Network Outages

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When Verizon announced earlier this month that it would finally start to carry the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPhone on its network, starting in February, Verizon honchos talked up the quality of Verizon’s network and how it would be able to handle the rush of iPhone users that would join the network en masse. Have a few network outages this week undermined those claims?

When Verizon’s executives Lowell McAdam and Dan Mead (pictured) and Apple COO Tim Cook presented the CDMA-enabled iPhone 4, much was made of the robustness of Verizon’s network and how it would fare under heavy usage. Lowell McAdam said the operator expected “unprecedented volumes” of iPhones hitting its network. But Verizon has “more than enough network capacity” to handle this, he said.

However. If you are an iPhone user in the U.S. already and you think that moving away from AT&T (NYSE: T) will mean fault-free network, think again. Verizon today is the subject of not one, but two different reports about mobile outages.

The first concerns network services in Virginia, where the mobile network was down for only a couple of hours this afternoon, but that was long enough for users to post messages about the outage on Twitter and send multiple messages to blogs like Engadget and Boy Genius Rehttp://www.bgr.com/2011/01/24/virginia-based-verizon-wireless-subscribers-no-we-cannot-hear-you-now/port, both of which then ran stories about the outage.

Meanwhile, several other blogs are reporting that data services are down for Verizon customers who use BlackBerry devices (voice services still work apparently). Again, this problem doesn’t seem to be consistent — a post on SlashGear about the outage had as many comments about the data network working as there were those comments confirming it was down.

Verizon has not said that either outage has anything to do with testing the network before the iPhone makes its debut. But nevertheless, network issues could not have come at a worse time, given how much attention the Verizon network will have in the coming weeks.

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