Verizon, Is That the Best You Can Do?

by Chris Seibold Oct 14, 2009

When you see someone with a Blackberry Storm you're seeing a person who is willing to pay a price, a premium price, for something that just comes close to the iPhone. But odds are good that you're seeing someone who really wants the iPhone and really wants Verizon, but since he or she can't get both, he or she has concluded that Verizon's network is worth more than the iPhone. It shouldn't be a surprise after all, those are the kind of decisions that companies rely to effectively promote their products. What is surprising is Verizon's response to users' dilemna. Take a look:

When you watch that ad you should be aware of two things. The first is that the maps shown are very, very misleading. There is no way that AT&T's coverage is that good. The second is that Verizon has just admitted that the iPhone is kicking the collective asses of all the phones available at Verizon.

Indulge me in a tangent. Once, while surfing, I had the misfortune of having a jellyfish slide in my boardshorts and come to a rest against a sensitive area. The ensuing sensation was unpleasant for a few hours, but I always lacked the words to adequately describe how painful and nauseated I felt. Thanks to Verizon I can just point to that ad and say: "I felt exactly like the Verizon execs felt when they okayed that ad. An ad that, beneath the upbeat demeanor, says:


Our Phones Are Garbage

Let us put a finer point on it. Verizon's advantage is the network. Verizon's Achilles heel is that the company doesn't have the iPhone and its apps. Verizon's pitch is our network is so good you won't mind, too much, that our devices are obviously inferior. That is it, that is the entire pitch.

So you, the consumer, are faced with a single decision. Go with the greatest smart phone in the world (according to Verizon) and suffer from a less than impressive network or choose the less desirable network and get the greatest phone ever made.

That admission must rankle the execs at Verizon. They've got access to all the ones and zeroes Apple has access to. They are the market leader and yet they are forced to tacitly admit they can't compete with an upstart phone maker. Can you imagine Microsoft making such an admission? It isn't going to happen. When OS X was clearly out in front with the iApps, Microsoft was making ads showing how creative you could be with Windows. Watching a Microsoft ad you could be forgiven for thinking that Windows was the only system where you could slap together soccer videos. 

The fact that Verizon, a company that will sell you any of several dozen phones, is forced to attack a single offering manufactured by a computer company instead of actually attacking a rival company head on has to be an embarrassment inside of Verizon headquarters. It isn't as if Verizon is attacking AT&T's network and incidentally attacking the iPhone (which would be a good idea) the ad goes straight for the iPhone and leaves the impression that the network problems only exist when using the iPhone.

On the other hand, maybe the attack is justified. At the rate the iPhone is being adopted it could be that Verizon no longer sees the company as in competition with AT&T but rather that they see themselves in competition with Apple. In that case, the ad makes more sense but it is still a quick trip from market leader to bottom feeder with the admission that Verizon can't even copy the iPhone worth a damn.



  • We have family contracts with Verizon, so we’re in one of the demographics that Apple doesn’t want.  Some people live where there aren’t options.  But I’m also not in the market for 2nd rate smart phones either.

    I don’t know whether AT&T;pays Apple enough to counter the loss in iPhone sales, or whether this strategy is based upon not being able to build iPhones quickly enough.

    Howard Brazee had this to say on Oct 14, 2009 Posts: 54
  • I have yet to travel to every major metropolitan city, but I’ve found that AT&T;‘s service is acceptable, although not stellar. For years I’ve been a Verizon customer and enjoyed the coverage but not how they treated my phone and any content I bought. Ringtones and games I bought on one phone were not ported. Expensive (albeit usable) turn by turn GPS service. Really Dead Zones in the northern half of my state.

    I carefully read the AT&T;horror stories before making the iPhone switch. I’ve quickly learned a few things.

    1) AT&T;‘s primary carrier flaw is that their cell frequency is easily blocked by conventional building construction. Changing to a different RF will quiet most people that complain.
    2) AT&T;‘s 3G power for data is unmatched. Without it, the iPhone has no greater abilities than a Verizon phone. I’ve tried web services on a Verizon RAZR. I’d rather shoot myself than do that again.
    3) The biggest complainers live in the super-metropolis areas like NYC and SF. Here in the Midwest (think auto racing) our 3G is totally great. But then, we’re just about 1.2 million as opposed to 3-7 million trying to watch YouTube all at once.

    Verizon’s coverage may be better, but their network quality and phone hardware support and quality have much to be desired. In this case, AT&T;‘s disadvantages are offset. The real test will be in the Windy City.

    Spencerian had this to say on Oct 14, 2009 Posts: 2
  • “1) AT&T;’s primary carrier flaw is that their cell frequency is easily blocked by conventional building construction. Changing to a different RF will quiet most people that complain. “

    Bzzzzzt.  Wrong answer, but thanks for playing.  AT&T;in most of the US is one of the two “cellular” carriers meaning they get to use 850 Mhz rather than carriers such as T-Mobile and Sprint which are relegated to the “PCS” 1900 Mhz band.  Both AT&T;and Verizon use the same bands i.e. mostly 850 with some 1900 Mhz.  How they deploy their base stations may factor in how good one works over the other.  And let’s not deceive ourselves about Verizon.  All that great coverage is not all handled by Verizon base stations it’s handled by partner networks.  Just because someone claims to have the most networks world wide (claim of T) doesn’t mean there’s 100% truthfulness in the statement (AT&T;, Verizon and T-Mobile have pretty much the same roaming partners outside of the US with a compatible device.)

    weekilter had this to say on Oct 14, 2009 Posts: 4
  • weekilter:
    I don’t appreciate the rudeness, but I do appreciate the clarification, even if it doesn’t answer the point why several million iPhone users watch their cell service die in the middle of their buildings and even homes. I didn’t have this issue as much with Verizon, true. But, if it’s a matter of Verizon “ganging up” with multiple base stations and sub-carriers to spread out their effectiveness, good for them. In short, AT&T;has fewer roaming partners, while Verizon has more.

    Spencerian had this to say on Oct 14, 2009 Posts: 2
  • That ad just confirms my complete displeasure for AT&T;. Before my iphone I gave up verizon. A love hate relationship. I loved the coverage every where I went, but hated the company. With AT&T;I hate the company and the coverage. The iphone is useless without a wireless connection due to the bad coverage. It is so bad that I will most likely give up one of my iphones (my wife’s of course) so we can have a smart phone which works anywhere we travel. At one of my homes in New England it works at home, but not when I travel to Maine or Vermont. At my second home in Florida, it works when I land at the airport and up until about 5 miles from my home. If Apple doesn’t recognize that a smart phone is only as smart as it fastest internet connection then they will quickly be eaten up by the competition.

    arlswifty had this to say on Oct 16, 2009 Posts: 1
  • Page 1 of 1 pages
You need log in, or register, in order to comment