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Report on Verizon Wireless Lack of Service in Puerto Rico 02/03/16-02/08/16

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Travel Dates: Feb. 3, 2016 - Feb. 8 2016

Device:  iPhone 4s - (3G only)

Verizon Wireless Plan:  Prepaid 2G $45/month purchased in Virginia, USA  (all services function without any issue whatsoever both before and after travel)

For duration of travel to Puerto Rico - (where over 75% of time was spent in San Juan metro area).......

Never functioning:

1. Data service

2. ability to receive calls (either originating in continental US or Puerto Rico)

3. ability to make calls (either to continental US or Puerto Rico)

Nearly always functioning...

1. SMS text service

Attempts while in PR to regain service:

1. powered off/on device numerous times with Settings > Cellular > Roaming and toggle off/on Voice Roaming, off/on Data Roaming and turn on International CDMA (which was turned off).

2. dialed *228 multiple times - message in Spanish from the local company Open Mobile - no ability to answer 2 and then 1 or proceed at all

3. called Verizon support in the continental US, they basically unable to help, said they could see the device was connected to a local Open Mobile tower and directed me to call the Open Mobile (Puerto Rican company providing CDMA service on the island)

4.  attempted to call Open Mobile - support representative only spoke Spanish.  My best Spanish determined that they could only offer to help dial numbers for us if we used their 411 service

5. Visited two different Open Mobile retail stores in the main Mall (Las Americas) in San Juan with the device in hand.

     - first store tried rebooting several times, *228, basically told me that the Open Mobile <-> Verizon Wireless deal had some issues where he thought he had heard that one party or the other was not paying for its side of the deal (recently?) - therefore only Open Mobile customers are completely able to take their CDMA devices to the continental US and everything functions fine.  He did not expect for Verizon Wireless customers to be able to use Open Mobile's CDMA services on the island.  He did say that Verizon Wireless customers used to be able to do this though.

     - second store also tried rebooting several times and dialing *228, could not figure anything further out, they thought 4G devices might fare better on their network however.  I had no way to prove or disprove that theory.

The iphone did constanly receive an "Extended" roaming signal during our stay.  What would happen when we tried to make a call is that it would make the noise that it was "ringing" the other end twice and then dead silence with the call never completing.

Upon arrival back at the airport in Miami, all services on the device functioned normally and immediately and remain that way to the present day.

REF:

Open Mobile: Data roaming deal with Verizon opens new business prospects | News is my Business

Open Mobile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

We resorted to using my T-mobile 4G LTE based android phone for the duration of the trip.  It encountered zero issues for the entire time.

Hope this helps someone before they leave the US with their phone to visit the island rather than having to deal with this unpleasant surprise while there.  It is a beautiful place, unfortunately it can be frustrating for Verizon Wireless customers.  My suggestion is to buy one of the month to month SIM cards from T-mobile (or one of its MVNO's) to use for your trip - it should help save significant headaches and make the trip much more enjoyable.  I was told that Sprint also is well supported on the island.  I did notice advertising for both of those companies while there and at least noticed that T-mobile has a retail store in the Mall - perhaps Sprint does also.

On the other hand, perhaps this report will motivate Verizon Wireless to re-establish their currently very sub-par level of support in PR.

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