Why Verizon Can’t Afford Failures on the iPhone Launch Day
If you’ve been following technology news much (or at all) lately, I’m sure that you are more than aware that the Apple iPhone – which was originally exclusive to the AT&T mobile network in the US – will be coming to the Verizon Wireless network come February 10th; two weeks from today. And while the iPhone will likely do a lot of good for Verizon in the long-run, the fact of the matter is that the carrier has a lot riding on the success of day one, and must flawless transitions and activations if they are going to have any chance at going anywhere with the iPhone.
Having said this, it is important to realize the competitiveness that we have seen between AT&T and Verizon in the last couple of years – even more so after AT&T had introduced the iPhone. Verizon even went as far as to specifically attack AT&T’s service and network in their advertisements, and added to what became a huge level of bad PR for AT&T. Now that Verizon will be carrying the iPhone itself, it is more important than ever for them to make sure that they have all of their ducks in a row, because if they don’t they will stand the chance of looking very hypocritical come launch day.
With new reports suggesting that BlackBerry users on the Verizon network are having Internet connectivity issues, Verizon is in the midst of a could-be PR fiasco of their own. This is important because of the fact that the company’s success depends greatly on their public image; an image that they have been working to improve over the last few years. For users looking to purchase a Verizon iPhone, an event such as this could easily place a level of doubt in their heads.
While a Verizon representative has been quoted as saying that only users in a “limited geographic area had technical glitches”, this still raises the question as to how well Verizon is managing its network. In particular, I am wondering how smoothly the transition and activation process will go when the Verizon iPhone becomes publicly available two weeks from today. If you’ll remember, AT&T had a number of issues with handset activation during the release of the iPhone 4. If Verizon is to have these same issues, many users will be in a state of deja vu, and many will likely avoid Verizon altogether.
Ultimately, with AT&T being attributed for the bulk of the iPhone’s issues, Verizon needs to prove more stable and reliable than AT&T. Failing to do so will make them look hypocritical, and will do unthinkable damage to the network’s public image.
At the end of the day, the fear of the “unknown” is really what makes me weary of Verizon and the iPhone at this point in time. Even though AT&T is known for network issues, people at least know what to expect with their services. With an iPhone/Verizon combination, on the other hand, we have yet to see how things work out and if the user experience is truly “better.”