09
Dec 09

AT&T takes Verizon head-on

[Sorry, the commercial referenced here has disappeared from YouTube]

Droid vs. iPhone. Verizon vs. AT&T. To the spectators’ delight, we have a war on two fronts. And now we have AT&T lobbing a new grenade over the fence.

But first, a recap:

Apple planted the seed for this fight when they chose AT&T as iPhone’s exclusive carrier in the US. That put the nation’s most loved phone on the nation’s least loved network. It also gave Verizon an opening, assuming they might one day find another hot phone to hawk — which they did in Droid.

Then the fun started. Verizon slapped AT&T with its “there’s a map for that” stuff. They got silly with misfit toys. AT&T threw half a punch back with some lame Luke Wilson spots. Apple tried to speak rationally about the differences between networks while Droid burst in chainsawing bananas.

After whining to the courts and getting nowhere (Judge Droid?), AT&T is back at it with this new Luke Wilson spot. Creatively, it’s fairly harmless. But it’s all part of the chess game, and that’s what makes it fun to watch. (War, boxing, chess — have I exceeded the metaphor limit yet?)

To their credit, AT&T is presenting a simple argument: we’ve got a faster network. (It’s actually more clear than Apple’s attempted Verizon-bashing.) Verizon has their simple argument: we’ve got a bigger network. That would be a tough choice for most people.

So who wins the big fight? Nobody. And who wins the customer? AT&T. Because when the heavyweight match ends in a draw, all you can do is go with the best phone. And you know what that is.

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  • Paul

    Interesting, I was with you until the next-to-last sentence, I thought you were going to say “network”.

    True, I wish VZW had the IPhone but I’m still with VZW using my Blackberry. Maybe not the best but a really really really good phone and I don’t have to think about the network dropping.

    “Can you hear me now?” was much more subtle and effective.

    I would be interested to see the results of this survey:

    http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2009/03/04/verizon-wireless-grills-exiting-customers-about-the-iphone/

  • ken segall

    @paul:
    Do I get credit for having you 98% of the way? I think it’s fairly predictable that Verizon would be looking for this kind of information. Big companies love research, and they’d be searching under every rock for any possible way to keep customers or win them back. The good news for all of the gladiators in this arena is that the market is huge. Apple isn’t about to build an iPod-size market share here. I’m sure we’ll see quite a bit of ebb and flow as the months tick by.

  • Cory

    Paul…. one point…

    with a Blackberry, network data speed doesn’t matter as much because people with Blackberries don’t surf the web (at least, they don’t surf it as much) or use data the same way as iPhone users do.

    So you think you’re getting everything you want (like I did when I was a Blackberry user)… but once you switch, you’ll realize what you’re missing… and you will use more data with an iPhone… the iPhone is more then just a phone and email device like the Blackberry.

    One stat: there are more Blackberries out in the wild… yet all the iPhone users use 12 times more data then all the Blackberry users combined. Let me say it this way… less iPhone users use 12 times more data then more (way more) Blackberry users.

    source: http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8

  • Paul

    @Ken – total props for 98%.

    @Cory – Good points. Makes me wonder how BB usage changes with the move towards consumers, ie. Storm/2

    Not to mention the efficiency question is the BB more efficient with the network? See what Businessweek said: (Yes, significantly)

    http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2009/11/blackberrys_big.html

  • Cory

    Paul… very interesting… but those stats I used are for webpage hits (not volume of data). But that article is very interesting… but a G4 network is 1000 times faster and more robust (then 3G)… so I’m not sure it will matter… the networks will be upgraded regardless… and then again to 5G… and so on. We will always demand more… and then the devices will do more and require more… and so the cycle will go on.

    It does make sense though… when I get an email from a Blackberry, everything is stripped out… the email experience is not very rich. The iPhone emails have all the pictures and formatting intacted.