Did Verizon Wireless just shoot another arrow into AT&T’s heart, or what?
AT&T has been trying to position itself as the carrier with the broadest smartphone line-up. It’s reeling from complaints about service quality. It’s trying to play catch up in the network upgrade realm, and it’s getting low ranks in various surveys.
Now Verizon Wireless is seizing the moment, like a boxer in the ring might land punches on a fallen contender. On Monday, it will roll out new pricing designed, as CEO and President Lowell McAdam puts it, to be an on-ramp for LTE.
If Verizon executives are the least bit scared that data traffic from the Motorola Droid, soon-to-be released Palm Pre Plus and upcoming Nexus One devices are going to crash its network, they’re not letting on in the least. Far be it, McAdam told financial analysts in a conference call today that the new price plans were vetted and all systems analyzed before they pulled the trigger. The carrier expects to add 20 new devices to its road map in 2010.
Nothing that McAdam said in the call today seemed to indicate any change in the types of strategies that Verizon historically has pursued. “What you see out of Verizon over the years is when we see an opportunity to take share and do it profitably, we are going to do it,” he said. And going out early in the year with a new offering means they have a better chance of seeing the returns within the same year.
Interestingly, McAdam seemed to make a huge understatement when he said Verizon’s “There’s a Map For That” advertising campaign is getting “some very nice traction in the marketplace.” Judging by various comments on the Web, that campaign has been a huge hit and totally crushes commercials from the likes of AT&T starring (why?) Luke Wilson. I know, personal tastes vary when it comes to advertising, but I, for one, have found Verizon’s to be LOL funny.
We’ve seen ongoing complaints from iPhone users, the Fake Steve Jobs’ stunt to bring attention to AT&T’s network woes, and now Verizon with new price plans and reassurances about network prowess. This week has not been a nice one for AT&T. Let’s hope it pulls itself up and becomes a contender again. The iPhone can’t prop it up forever. The coaches are screaming and AT&T had better deliver some good punches or this match will be over before the bell rings.