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Old 02-27-2010, 12:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
lifesaver1
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Default Why Verizon International SMS Text Is Unreliable

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Let me start by advising those who have trouble using Verizon to send SMS messages internationally (or wish to do so) that Verizon's international texting feature basically doesn't work, to any acceptable degree of reliability.

I am an officer in an international NGO and regularly need to send SMS messages to colleagues in other countries, texting while in the USA and while traveling internationally. I previously used T-Mobile, which I found to be seamless with respect to international texting and calling. I have used it while in the US and overseas to call and SMS others on various systems in various countries. No problems.

I recently switched to Verizon and use the Storm 2. I tried to use it to text colleagues in Belgium, Denmark, and Australia. In each case, the SMS was not received (I tried repeatedly).

I checked the Internet and found a number of complaints from confused Verizon users unable to text internationally. I phoned Verizon customer service. After several calls involving uninformed representatives, a "trouble ticket" was opened and shortly thereafter an individual called me. I eventually ended up talking to three different people on three different occasions, each escalating the problem. When I advised one representative that Internet chatter suggests the system often doesn’t work, he exclaimed, “That’s not true!” Alas, it was to turn out, it is true.

I was eventually called and advised by a Verizon representative that Verizon does not have an agreement with the carriers of the mobile phones to which I was texting in Denmark and Belgium. I asked about the Australia number and was advised I would need to open another trouble ticket for that number – essentially that I would have to personally test their system before they would investigate the issue. In any case, it didn’t work for me from the US to three different carriers, unquestionably in three different countries.

I asked the representative if I could get a list of international carriers that accept SMS from Verizon and was advised that I could not. I asked if I could get a list of carriers that do not accept SMS from Verizon and was advised I could not. I later found a list on the Verizon website though, which enumerates every carrier with which Verizon purportedly has texting agreements. I found that the carrier of the phone to which I tried to text in Belgium was Mobistar, which was listed as one of those to which a Verizon customer can text. Therefore, I find the list to be unreliable and deceptive.

When sending an SMS internationally from my Storm 2, I receive no notification that the SMS was accepted or rejected. Thus, there is no way to know if the person received the text or not. As a result, the system is completely undependable and essentially useless, unless you can confirm that the other person receives your texts. Confusingly, receiving text messages from these systems seems possible, so it would seem that the problem is with Verizon’s outgoing system.

Some specifics, of a sort, can be found in Verizon’s website where I was able to find several notices while searching on international texting. For example:

Verizon states: “International Text Messaging allows you to send and receive text messages from your wireless phone to select international destinations while within the Verizon Wireless Nationwide Coverage Area.” The operative word is SELECT, but the Verizon representatives to which I spoke would not direct me to a list of carriers (perhaps because they realized the list is wrong). In any case, I found it to be incorrect in at least one case, and I presume others.

Verizon states: “If you run into problems, confirm that the recipient is using a participating carrier.” Again, no Verizon representative advised how I could do this, but when I found a way, I found it to be incorrect.

My Storm 2 will theoretically roam in countries with GSM carriers on GSM systems. I have yet to try this, although I am quite familiar with international GSM roaming, having used Verizon global phones in the past and, as noted, T-Mobile. I regularly use SMS messaging when overseas, in part to avoid the high cost of international calling. Clearly, Verizon will prevent me from doing so in many cases.

Because Verizon is a CDMA carrier and has high quality service in the USA, it would seem to be an attractive service for many. In the past, when I have used Verizon's global phones for roaming in other countries, I have had very poor experiences (nonfunctional, etc.) I had hoped Verizon had overcome them. I have yet to test the Storm 2 overseas, but this experience with international texting leads me to believe that for international travel, a carrier such as T-Mobile would be a much better choice. I, unfortunately, am stuck in a contract now.
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