Verizon and AT&T wasting precious comms time

Now that Verizon Wireless thankfully put to rest exhaustive rumors and finally unveiled an iPhone compatible with its network much of the world can move on.

Now that Verizon Wireless thankfully put to rest exhaustive rumors and finally unveiled an iPhone compatible with its network much of the world can move on.

But before we do, there are some PR points on the whole saga.

A real polarization between AT&T and Verizon's network remains among potential and current iPhone users. Some can't wait to jump ship to Verizon because they are tired of dropped calls and spotty coverage, or just AT&T in general. But some are also unsure that Verizon's network can handle the demands of the iPhone, or may prefer AT&T's monthly data plan.

Either way, it's not a stretch to say that behind closed doors both carriers have known for months that AT&T was going to lose its iPhone exclusivity. So it's interesting that both seem not to have a well thought out communications plan in place to win over iPhone customers.

Before the announcement on Tuesday, both were apparently quarreling on a tech reporters Twitter stream. When renewed rumors surfaced last October, in our reporting AT&T declined to comment on PR around losing its exclusivity and the rumors, and simply said that its own research indicated most of its iPhone customers would stay put. Verizon declined to comment.

Given it seemed predestined that AT&T was going to lose exclusivity, both carriers could have been doing more on the PR front before the announcement on Tuesday. Instead they chose to remain silent, while frustration and uncertainties brewed with consumers.

Going forward, Verizon should work out its messaging to consumers and unhappy AT&T iPhone customers. AT&T, now unable to hide behind the shadow of Apple, should clearly communicate it's differentiators to Verizon.  Thousands, if not millions, of paying iPhone customers are at stake. And they are all listening.

It would behoove both carriers to put the announcement behind them and develop a real PR strategy to win over iPhone customers. Time is a wasting.

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