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Verizon’s Unrelenting Hard Sell for iPhone 7 Device Plan

hammerLet me first state that I’m getting an iPhone 7. I’m going to buy it from Apple. My prior “contract” which I signed when I traded an iPhone 5 for an iPhone 6 expired when I paid this month’s bill and I am off contract.

It isn’t that I plan to switch carriers, as Verizon is the only real choice where I’m located. AT&T doesn’t even give one bar inside my home. I want the freedom to decide my own destiny so to speak. Verizon, on the other hand, seems to be using training that requires their store agents to use a sledgehammer approach when customers ask about their options and want to make changes.

I can’t remember ever having such a hard time getting what I wanted and getting a sales person to stop hammering me with details of something I indicated up front I had no interest in. (And getting my intelligence questioned to boot.)

 

On Thursday, I went to one of the corporate Verizon Stores to discuss what plans were available. I brought a print out with me so that it was crystal clear what I was interested in:

plans

After waiting for a store rep (busy, longish wait, others were there with the same questions) on Thursday, a rep came over and asked what I wanted. I said, “ I’m going to be buying an iPhone 7 from Apple, not Verizon. I’m checking to see if there are any hidden charges if I sign up for the “new Verizon Plan” and keep my tablet (already activated) on it and get the iPhone 7 for the Apple Store at the Mall and activate it there and I don’t want a contract with Verizon”. He checked my account and confirmed I was “off contract’’” and launched into a sales pitch for trading my phone (iPhone 6) and getting a free iPhone 7. I said (nicely) “I already told you I wasn’t interested in this trade up two year contract. I want to talk about any hidden charges on the New Verizon Plan”.

The rep checks some stuff on his tablet and then says “You can buy the iPhone 7 from us on a device plan for $27.04 a month. It’s not the same as the old contract”. I stood up and said “You aren’t listening to me. I’m not buying a phone from Verizon”. He then decides to tell me “You can trade in your iPhone 6 for a $200 credit that you can apply to accessories”. I tell him that this is just another ‘shell’ for a 24 month contract. He confirms this is true. I want to smack this guy upside the head. I restrain myself. I decide to leave the store and come back the next day.

So yesterday (Friday), I return the the Verizon store and a different rep waits on me. I still have my piece of paper (the above print out) and I tell her I don’t want to buy an iPhone 7 from VZW, lease one, trade in anything and all I want to do is switch to the new Verizon Plan with MY CURRENT DEVICES, as I am off contract and eligible. She launches into a sales speech about how I can trade in my iPhone 6. I tell her bluntly to STFU as I already stated I was not interested. Then she starts with the device payment plan. I ask her if she has actually listened to what I told her. (Apparently not.)

I stand my ground, I tell her I want to switch to the new Verizon Plan. She taps some stuff into her tablet and tells me she can make it effective with my next billing period. She gives me figures. I tell her I’m off contract and it would save me $35 to switch today. She then tells me that THAT would involved a pro-rated bill and that I would have trouble understanding it. I stand up again, and restrain from physical violence and tell her that it is uncalled for to question anyone’s intelligence or math skills and to make the switch or get a manager over that will do it. She tries one more time to sign me up for device payment or a contract. She asks me why I won’t take a contract or buy a phone from VZW or select device payment. And I tell her it is none of her business.

She finally sets up the plan I want and pushes the buttons to make it happen. She tells me she is making a note in my account that I probably will be complaining about a pro-rated bill that I don’t understand. Unbelievable. Exhausting.

How to get online With Verizon with an unlocked Surface 3 LTE

This post provides the steps to activate an unlocked Surface 3 LTE for consumer/retail/soho customers who have Verizon as a carrier who are not eligible for a business package from Verizon. The unlocked Surface LTE is only available to business customers with a 5 line minimum commitment and two year contract. https://ecomm.verizonwireless.com/commerce/servlet/en/verizon/devices/devices-tablet/microsoft-surface-3. This article shows you how to activate a single unlocked Surface 3 LTE.

Ever since I first heard about the Surface 3 with LTE, I was chomping at the bit to replace my Nokia Lumia 2520 with a better Windows tablet that included cellular capabilities. When I heard that the first devices would be AT&T only, and then T-Mobile I was disappointed. Then I heard about an unlocked version. When that unlocked SKU became available in mid September, I asked about Verizon. I couldn’t get an authoritative answer, but was told that a VZW specific model was coming. So I waited.

On November 12, I saw an announcement that Verizon was finally selling a VZW Surface 3 SKU. http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/article/2015/11/microsoft-surface-3-with-verizon-4g-lte-now-available-for-business-professionals.html. I tried to order online, but found that it was business customers only. Five lines, five devices. I called and was told the same thing. As a consumer, no chance. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

I decided LTE was LTE and that just had to be a way to get an unlocked Surface 3 LTE working on the VZW network. And I followed my instincts. Here are the steps. Don’t skip any.

1. Go to a Verizon company owned Store (not an agent)

2. They’ll need to add an unauthorized device to your account/plan (or swap out one that is already there).

3. They need to make a NANO SIM.

4. They need to place this NANO SIM in their demo iPad and activate it.

5. They need to turn WiFi OFF on the demo iPad and wait for the SIM to activate on the network and verify by successfully browsing the web.   Making the connection to the Internet with the activated SIM is a critical step. Don’t let the VZW tech tell you this is not needed.

6. Completely turn off your Surface 3.

7. Put the NANO SIM in the Sim tray and slide into your Surface 3.

8. Turn on the Surface 3.

 

On the Surface 3.

1. Open Settings, Network and Internet and turn Cellular ON if it is off. You should turn Wi-Fi off temporarily to test your LTE connection

 

airplane mode

2. You may need to wait a few minutes, but as long as you or the VZW tech followed the first 5 steps above, you should get connected to Verizon’s LTE network. You’ll see an icon in the task tray indicating signal strength and should be able to visually confirm your connection in the Action Center.

 

LTE1

Network and Internet, Cellular will show Connected as well.

LTE2

Trouble Shooting

If the above doesn’t work (it really should), a few things you can check:

1. If Network and Internet, Cellular does NOT show Verizon Wireless (LTE), turn on Wi-Fi.

cellular1

2. Tap the signal strength icon. This should let you access the info online about the SIM and the device. I’ve removed so PII from the screenshot below, but the important pieces are there. Under Network Mode, insure that it shows LTE and APN is set to vzwinternet. If it isn’t, get Verizon to make a new NANO SIM. A partially activated SIM might show GSM as the Network Mode.

 

 

connection manager

3. If you tap the Network Settings box above, on a successfully activated and working connection, the Network Type may show as Global. This is OK.

 

apn

 

Verizon employees don’t have much experience with this and you can print this article out so they have a reference. Don’t let them tell you they have to send your device IMEI and other info in to a special team to be added to a database of devices. It isn’t needed and won’t help.

I hope this is helpful. If you’ve used this to get an unlocked Surface 3 online, let me know on Twitter @barbbowman. Enjoy

Simultaneous Voice and Data on Verizon iPhone 6

 

Woo. Here’s a nice and long overdue surprise. Verizon has quietly rolled out the feature called HD Calling and the iPhone 6 is one of the devices capable of using this feature. Finally.

 

Go to settings, Cellular, and drill down. Check off Voice & Data (Data Only is probably checked).

 

voLTE

 

You’ll see a spinning cursor as it looks like turning it on here automatically provisions this feature in your Verizon account. Once the cursor stops:

voLTE 2

Just checked my account online and saw:

 

vzw web site

So if you’re using LTE, you now should have the same dual capabilities carriers like AT&T have had for years. The voice quality is like being in the same room. And I can browse the web at the same time.

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