Verizon dropping thousands of rural customers

Nation & World News
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(WSPA/WCBD) — We’re all familiar with your call or data getting dropped, but when your cell provider drops you, that’s an inconvenience on a whole new level.

Verizon is dumping thousands of rural customers. The company says they’re using too much data while roaming on other providers’ networks. But now those customers are left scrambling to find new service.

“I wouldn’t take kindly to that,” said Keith Hoots, a farmer in Henderson County North Carolina.

He switched from Verizon to U.S. Cellular years ago, but sympathizes with any rural folks who are now being told the company’s unlimited plan no longer extends to them.

“Those phone calls that come in the tomato field or the cornfield, those is very important,” said Hoots, who runs Keith Hoots Farm.

While Verizon wouldn’t say exactly where the customers are located, but according to reports, the 8500 people are in 13 states including Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin.

The company claims those consumers are using a large amount of data while roaming on other providers’ networks.

In some cases, it left people in such a lurch, Verizon had to double back.

Since the announcement Verizon says it has been contacted by some people who use their personal cell as their roll as a first responder. If they can’t get other service Verizon says it will work with those people so they can stay on the network.

Elizabeth Sloan with Wireless Warehaus says most people in the North Carolina mountains have other options, but should always read the fine print on any provider’s coverage area.

“Really it all boils down to what you want to spend on a device if you do or don’t have to, and then what service it is that you want, but really your most viable options are Sprint and US Cellular,” she said.

Sprint is best for people who want a new phone and need a plan that helps pay for that in monthly installments.

U.S. Cellular is a prepaid plan where you have to purchase your phone outright.

If there is no alternative provider Verizon will allow customers to switch to a 2G to 8G plan but it’s no longer offering the unlimited plan.

Otherwise, customers must switch providers by Dec. 1.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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