Verizon Communications Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg yesterday covered a range of topics at Goldman Sach’s Communicopia XIX conference in New York City, including the long-awaited iPhone for Verizon Wireless and the possibility the carrier will pursue tiered data pricing.
Seidenberg used a basketball analogy when asked about whether Verizon Wireless would eventually land the iPhone. “This is like the Knicks getting Carmelo Anthony, you know. Like it would be really good if the Knicks got Carmelo Anthony but they have to play the game to get him. Right?” Seidenberg said.
In the end, Seidenberg said the decision is really up to Apple, suggesting that the iPhone’s GSM technology and incompatibility with Verizon’s CDMA network was what put them out of the game initially. “I can’t speak for Apple but my view is there is a lot of momentum in the industry for people to move on the 4G issues quicker,” he said, eluding to the fact the Verizon’s LTE network may be what Apple has been waiting for.
In the meantime, Seidenberg stressed that Android has been a good replacement for the iPhone. “We have worked hard at building a franchise out of Droid which proves that if there is an alternative, an acceptable alternative to the iPhone, and a great network and a great distribution channel, the market will go that direction,” he said.
As for how Verizon Wireless will handle data pricing going forward, Seidenberg suggested that the carrier will follow AT&T’s lead into the tiered model. “Our view on that is we didn’t need to be first. I think what we have watched others do is good. We are not sure that we agree yet with how they have valued the data. So the tiers they have created is not necessarily the way we think about it,” he said.
Seidenberg admitted that AT&T has more smartphones than Verizon Wireless, but he noted Verizon’s predominance in the air card market as one reason the two carriers see similar data traffic.
New tiered data plans will be “feathered in,” Seidenberg said, as Verizon rolls out new plans and services, including its 4G LTE network. He said that the new LTE network is unofficially up and running in 30 markets and commented that some are already experiencing the new service. “So some of you may be running around and your devices actually have been experiencing the 4G speed and you will probably say what happened? But it is probably not that noticeable because you don’t think about it,” he said.
Seidenberg said he’s happy about the recent promotion of Lowell McAdam to chief operating officer for Verizon Communications, adding that McAdam will someday be CEO and chairman of the company.