When Verizon Wireless started disconnecting rural customers for using too much data, the nation's largest wireless carrier described them as extremely heavy data users who were costing the company money. When the disconnections began in June, Verizon told Ars the customers "are using vast amounts of data—some as much as a terabyte or more a month—outside of our network footprint."
But it's now become clear that Verizon's disconnection notices also went to people using just a few gigabytes a month. As we've previously reported, the affected customers are supported by Verizon’s LTE in Rural America (LRA) program, which relies on a partnership between Verizon and small rural carriers who lease Verizon spectrum in order to build their own networks.
Verizon customers in these network areas may not see a "roaming" indicator on their phone, but they're technically on another network and Verizon has to pay roaming charges to the local network operator. When Verizon acknowledged last week that it is disconnecting another 8,500 customers, the company said that "the roaming costs generated by these lines exceed what these consumers pay us each month."