Monday, November 23, 2009

Why I Don't Care About This Verizon/AT&T War (And You Shouldn't Either)

I could say (with a bunch of anecdotal evidence) that these Verizon map ads are a load of hoo-ha.  I've driven from both Houston and Chicago to New York City using my Google Maps app to get me there with little or no problems.  I used my iPhone, which is on AT&T if you didn't know, to not only guide my way but also find food, gas and lodging along the interstates of this country.  But, if I were to go into greater detail it would just sound like I am some sort of first mover who is scrambling to justify my purchase to the rest of the world.

I could also say that the court controversy marks a seminal moment in advertising and media law, but when it comes down to it I really don't care right now either.


First, I don't understand why Verizon is using a national ad campaign to say that AT&T's 3G coverage is spotty in various localities.  I think it's extremely foolhardy and a massive waste of money to run these ads in major metropolitan areas where AT&T is popular and works.  The fact of the matter is that most people do not travel enough to see the effects of the coverage map (if there are any) in their daily lives to justify switching phone companies.  Most people only care about the area they line in, and if they're on the road they want to make sure that they can make a phone call and not surf the web.  Seeing that roaming charges are a thing of the past as long as you subscribe to a national carrier, your phone will work wherever anyone's phone will work.

Second, I really don't understand why AT&T is wasting their time and trying to answer to these ads.  I should say that there is a reasonably good chance that they think they are going to lose customers over this campaign, or that people are actually calling them and tying up their customer service lines asking if these spots are true; however, acting on stuff like this is just as foolish.  While there is an increase in the purchasing of smart phones, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that "By April 2009, 19% of Americans said they had yesterday accessed the internet on their mobile," which is up 8% from 2007.  Of course, "accessing the internet" can mean something as simple as checking email.  Compared to the proliferation of other technology based behaviors, this is surprisingly low.  This leads me to believe that most people are buying smart phones for the full keyboards to make texting easier.  (I will admit to having that thought as well.) So, what about the 81% of phone customers who are just using their phones to talk to people?  What about the people are who are having a hard time making ends meet and need a flexible, affordable phone plan?  Why are you wasting your money on this AT&T?  The best advertising is a happy customer base in the cell phone business.  Are these ads keeping your customers happy AT&T?

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