Itís all about the network

Ever since Verizon started taking direct shots at AT&T with its award-winning Maps advertising campaign back in 2009, the relative strengths and weaknesses of the major carriersí networks have become at least as important as hardware considerations when consumers think about buying a new phone.

Although the iPhone has been the long-time market leader when it comes to smartphones, its position of dominance has been slowly eroded by what many people believe to be AT&Tís inferior network. That has fueled the explosive growth of Android-powered devices, as customers choose reliability over functionality.

Now, life is about to get even tougher for AT&T: their position as exclusive provider of the iPhone is about to come to an end. After months of speculation, Verizon is expected to announce tomorrow that they will begin offering the iPhone towards the end of January.

Considering that most of AT&Tís network shortcomings were exposed by the huge data demands of millions of iPhone owners, how confident are Verizon executives that the same thing wonít happen to them? Very confident, if a report in todayís Wall Street Journal turns out to be correct. Apparently, the nationís largest carrier has so much faith in its vaunted network that it will offer the iPhone with unlimited data plans.

Recent developments tend to support Verizonís optimistic view. The carrier added nine million data-guzzling Android smartphone subscribers in less than a year without any noticeable drop in performance. Verizon also plans to take advantage of the enormous capacity offered by its new 4G network, offloading demand from the 3G network as existing customers upgrade to the faster service.

Either way, Verizon feels it is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this new opportunity Ė and perhaps further increase the gap between itself and its nearest rival when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Comment by Milcah, posted 1/10/2011, 10:08 PM:

I like when competition benefits consumers! :)
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