Verizon Delays Droid Charge Following 4G Outage

Verizon today said it is delaying the Droid Charge, its latest 4G smartphone, as it struggles to fix an embarrassing high-speed network outage.

The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based carrier didn’t confirm the delay was linked to the outage, but selling the Droid Charge right now would be anticlimactic given its nationwide, two-day 4G outage. The wireless carrier says it’s working hard to restore the high-speed connection, but gives no word on when the network or the phone will be ready to go.

The 4G mishap and subsequent phone delay could cost Verizon in its fight against AT&T. With both carriers selling the same marquee Apple products, they’re competing largely on network quality. Verizon rolled out its LTE, or Long-Term Evolution, high-speed network last year and is well ahead of AT&T’s 4G efforts — but when the network is dark, that doesn’t count for much.

Verizon can’t afford such mistakes, as number-two carrier AT&T is poised to merge with T-Mobile in a $39 billion deal. AT&T will be able to build its own 4G network using T-Mobile’s spectrum if the deal goes through, meaning Verizon may soon find itself a much larger foe than it’s used to.

Once the network issues are surmounted, it’s likely the Charge will do well, as it offers an powerful 1-gigahertz dual-core chip, a 4.3-inch touch screen display and 8-megapixel camera. The Charge can also share 4G connections with up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices, and allows users to buy films and TV shows on Samsung’s Media Hub.

Verizon sold 260,000 4G HTC Thunderbolt phones in less than a month last quarter plus another 240,000 4G devices.

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