1. choctawfluteman's Avatar
    Several months ago I began a battle with Verizon Wireless regarding them locking the GPS chips on their phones. Due to my efforts, tonight a local news station ran the following piece regarding this. I realize that it probably won't change anything but if enough us did things like this Verizon might do the right thing and unlock our GPS chips!!

    Man: Phone Purchase Began Battle With Co.
    GPS In Phone Locked By Provider, Man Says

    POSTED: 5:41 pm EST November 12, 2008
    UPDATED: 7:41 pm EST November 12, 2008
    [NEWSVINE: Man: Phone Purchase Began Battle With Co.] [DELICIOUS: Man: Phone Purchase Began Battle With Co.] [DIGG: Man: Phone Purchase Began Battle With Co.] [FACEBOOK: Man: Phone Purchase Began Battle With Co.] [REDDIT: Man: Phone Purchase Began Battle With Co.] [RSS] [PRINT: Man: Phone Purchase Began Battle With Co.] [EMAIL: Man: Phone Purchase Began Battle With Co.]
    WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- A West Hartford man said that after much research, he purchased a new BlackBerry cell phone specifically to use its GPS system, but that the purchase began a battle with his cell provider.

    Don Zimbleman said he purchased the phone to use its GPS feature for a game called geocaching. The high-tech treasure hunt uses GPS coordinates to search for hidden items and is currently played by nearly 1 million people worldwide.

    Zimbleman said that when he logged on to start the hunt, he found out that his GPS didn't work. He said he called Verizon, and was eventually told that the company had disabled the feature.

    "Nowhere in any of their information, on the box or on the Web site, or anywhere else does it say that the GPS chip is locked," hes aid.

    Zimbleman began an e-mail battle with Verizon Customer Service, sending 17 e-mails challenging the policy, before finally hearing from Gabriele Naimaister in executive relations, who ended the debate by saying that Verizon Wireless would not unlock the GPS chip.

    "Well you can buy Verizon Navigator for $9.95 a month, and you'll be able to use the Verizon Navigator feature," he said.

    Zimlbeman questioned whether Verizon would lock out the GPS chip in the blackBerry phone customers already bought to force them to use the Verizon GPS service for nearly $10 a month. Mike Vertefeuille, the director of information technology services at the University of Connecticut Business School said of course they would.

    "They're trying to do business, and trying to trap you into buying a service," Vertefeuille said.

    Vertefeuille said he got caught in the trap as well. His new laptop is Bluetooth compatible so he planned to use his PDA's Bluetooth to connect to the Internet until he tried it and found that feature was disabled. His carrier was also Verizon. The company told him to purchase a wireless card and pay another monthly fee.

    "I'm looking at $80 a month for this, and $40 a month for this, so $120," he said.

    The I-Team contacted a representative from Verizon Wireless, who said that the GPS is locked and that the company may have a software update at some point in the future that will unlock it, but for now he claims the company won't unlock it because it won't work with their network.

    Both Vertefeuille and Zimbleman allege Verizon's claims are nonsense.

    "It's just something to get me to be quiet and to pay their $9.99 a month," Zimbleman said.

    Posts left on geocaching Web sites claim that AT&T and Sprint customers are not having the same problems, and that the GPS function on their phones are functioning properly. The I-Team spoke with a technology expert who advised consumers to ask very specific questions before purchasing to make sure your phone will do what you want it to do.

    "Make sure you research before you buy any products, and don't assume it will work. Because chances are, if the company you're buying something from has a competing product, the one you want to use, won't work."

    Despite the BlackBerry being specifically purchased for geocaching, Zimbleman has given up on ever using it for that purpose. He hopes his lesson in big business will save someone else from a similar headache.
    11-13-08 12:13 AM
  2. mikells43's Avatar
    wheres the link for the news site? i want to see the story . was on tv?
    11-13-08 12:35 AM
  3. choctawfluteman's Avatar
    Here is the link w w w.wfsb.com/iteam/17966851/detail.html It aired last night and they should have the video up on their site today or tomorrow sorry about the url I have to have ten points before this thing will let me just copy and paste the link
    11-13-08 07:21 AM
  4. jackie treehorn's Avatar
    Who knows what may come of this and heres the link for anybody wanting to just click and go Man: Phone Purchase Began Battle With Co. - I-Team News Story - WFSB Hartford good luck with your efforts
    11-13-08 07:34 AM
  5. raylol16's Avatar
    It won't change anything. Verizon nickel and dimes as much stuff as they can get away with. Besides if you wanted to use GPS why not get AT&T it's free there?
    11-13-08 07:37 AM
  6. RicanMedic78's Avatar
    that doesn't solve the problem specific to verizon tho. Their service is top notch, I will admit. But thats also the problem as well. Because there are such loyal fans out there, they (we) are forced to stick with outragious and totally unfair practices or choose another service that we are not happy with. I doubt most people are going to trade a better network for an unlocked GPS. And there lies the problem
    11-13-08 09:12 AM
  7. JRSCCivic98's Avatar
    Mike Vertefeuille, the director of information technology services at the University of Connecticut Business School couldn't tether via Bluetooth to use DUN. I really hope he's not talking about his Blackberry 8830 when stating this, otherwise I think he weaseled into his IT position a bit.

    Bluetooth tethering works just fine for me (using a PC) and god knows how many other Mac users have done it too... with a Mac at that.
    11-13-08 10:56 AM