Blog Post

Ouch! Verizon pulls free LTE for Chromebook Pixel one year early

About 14 months ago, Google(s goog) started selling the Chromebook Pixel. The flagship laptop cost $1,299 for a Wi-Fi model or you can get one with integrated Verizon(s vz) LTE for $150 more. I opted for the latter, partially because Verizon was also throwing in 100 MB of free LTE service each month for two years. But somehow, the carrier thinks one year really equals two years.

As JR Raphael reported on Monday at Computerworld, Verizon is only honoring the free LTE offer for the first 12 months of Pixel ownership. I didn’t even realize the free service had stopped but Verizon told Raphael the enforcement of this policy started in April, which is one year after the Pixel with LTE was first introduced. I don’t recall any notice being sent informing customers of the change. Then again, Verizon appears to think this isn’t a change at all based on Rafael’s chat with Verizon customer service:

“Verizon is telling customers that as far as it’s concerned, the plans were valid only for one year — and that’s why those initiated last spring are now expiring. I called the carrier’s customer service line and, after holding for 15 minutes and then talking in circles to an agent for another 10, was able to get through to a supervisor. That person politely told me he wasn’t aware of any two-year commitment and that — despite my pointing out official documentation to the contrary — there was nothing he could do to help me. “

I actually thought the LTE deal was good for three years, the same deal as the 1 TB of free Google Drive storage that comes with every Pixel purchase. I verified my storage expiration date — it’s April 2016. And Raphael has evidence showing the free LTE service was supposed to be valid for three years as well although some internet cache sites show it to be two years. Either way, none of the evidence says one year.


Frankly, 100 MB of LTE service isn’t much, but that’s not really the point. It’s enough to use in an emergency situation for a quick web search, email check or to handle some brief online issue; I’ve used the free service to edit or make corrections on blog posts, for example. The bigger issue here is Verizon reneging on a deal that may have had some influence on purchase decisions. It’s the same type of benefit, for example, that got me to buy an LTE version of Apple’s (s aapl) iPad Air: T-Mobile(s tmus) offers 200 MB of free data each month. And when I need more, I can purchase it. I took the same approach with the Pixel.

Unfortunately, I’m doubtful that Verizon will see the common sense behind reinstating the free offer for Pixel owners. Android Police scoured the Google Product Forums and found this entry from Joe Ellet:

“That was Verizon’s unilateral decision with no advance notice and no discussion with Google, HP or anyone else. You can contact Verizon but you’ll get the same answer they’ve given to thousands of people before you, which is basically “pay up”. Now that Verizon has reneged on their deal the only thing I can hope is that someone will be able to unlock the 3G and 4G radios so people can go elsewhere, but don’t hold your breath on that.”

Verizon should do the right thing here and honor the original agreement made to Chromebook Pixel owners. I still think it was supposed to be three years but at this point, I think people would be happy if they were met in the middle and given 100 MB of free LTE for two years.


13 Responses to “Ouch! Verizon pulls free LTE for Chromebook Pixel one year early”

  1. Ralph Dave Westfall

    Sounds a lot like my experiences with Verizon. They desperately wanted us to convert our phone to FIOS and verbally promised a $10/month discount for two years to get us to sign up. It took a year of attempts to resolve it and finally a complaint to California’s public utility commission to get the credits. Subsequently they cut off FTP access to the web space that came with the account, which was a critical feature for me. Eventually I was able to switch my phone and Internet access to Charter and am saving almost $40 a month. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  2. rohithmeethal

    Wow 100 MB of free LTE ! that should be the biggest news of this centuary ! How can they give 100 MB of free LTE, I cant belive that I am getting that much for free ! Incredible, I can google all month if I disable images,flash,stylesheets,videos,js awesome !

  3. joseph

    Kevin, enjoy your work.

    This reminds me of Verizon’s switcheroo about pay-as-you-go prepaid internet access for their Verizon iPads with 4G radios inside.

    Nowhere (at least as of a few months ago) did it state that if you sign up for a month of Verizon’s 4G service for your iPad…and then cancel the service at the end of the month…that if your Verizon 4G service remains inactive for, I think, 5 months…they deactivate your SIM card…and it (the SIM card) will need to be replaced with another Verizon SIM card before you can buy another month’s service.

    There are threads on this and when it was first discovered a lawyer-type guy went to small claims court over it and won a small settlement.

    But as far as I know Verizon’s prepaid 4G for iPads etc remains as I have described it.

  4. Matt Gillette

    This sounds like more of an issue with the contract. Who promised 2 years and why wasn’t this in the contract when you bought the laptop.

    • Just an opinion

      Matt G is correct. This is where the Contract Age and the Internet Age converge… The contract should state the terms and if this was indeed promised then surely someone has a copy or screenshot of a promo. Let’s not belabor this and dump on Verizon. Prove it…

      • The source article has the screen shot proof of the offer. There was no contract as Verizon simply provided the data without any sign up / contract. Same as Google who is providing the 1 TB of storage. Similarly T-Mobile is giving 200 MB of LTE for live with tablets today. There’s no contract on that offer either.

  5. John Nemesh

    Verizon? Going back on their word? Preposterous! I mean, it’s not like they didn’t promise to roll out FIOS to all of NYC, then backed out of it, right? Oh wait, they did do that, didn’t they. Or like they promised to honor the Network Neutrality principles with the purchase of their 700Mhz bandwidth, right? Oh yeah, they broke that promise too. Well, what about the promise of supporting ANY hardware on their network…Like the Nexus 7? Oh right, they didn’t honor that one either.

    I suggest people remember all of this the next time you think about renewing a subscription with them! THEY SIMPLY CAN NOT BE TRUSTED!