Where to begin?
Maybe with my admission that I’ve been a sucker, and odds are if you’re honest you’ll admit you’ve been one too.
Congratulations go to Verizon, for waging one of the most effective marketing/advertising/PR campaigns in recent memory. No, not for the Droid, but rather its successful effort to paint AT&T as some Death Star villain. It’s been years in the making, and in the process many of us have been assimilated into Wireless Tribes who do the dirty work.
The part that amazes me is no one is trying to connect dots, or trace paths of influence. There is a veritable army of people on the internet who will Tweet, Re-tweet, Digg and Share any link that refers to wireless wars. No one has questioned the supposed groundswell of Verizon Love that seems to exist, and here is why I have my suspicions:
We’ve been made to care about a distinction without a difference. The surveys indicate that when it comes to dropped calls or customer satisfaction, we’re looking at a hair’s breadth at most. A hair is enough to claim #1, but the truth is that coverage gaps and complaints vary wildly by market.
We’re comparing plastic apples to rubber oranges. Verizon is very proud of its 3G map, and is quite happy letting you think that “3G” is a universal standard. Verizon’s 3G is not nearly as fast, and does not allow for simultaneous voice and data. When you drop off AT&T’s 3G, you switch to an EDGE network that is just 20-percent slower than Verizon’s best offering.
Sure, Verizon’s map comparison looks fabulous, but when you factor where people use phones the most, you’re likely to have a faster and better experience with AT&T.
Somehow, most of the thought-leading tech writers seem to revel in the notion that AT&T is some evil empire — as though Verizon is some daisy-sniffing non-profit Mom-and-Pop that does things the old-fashioned way, like Ole Graham Bell intended.
Please. The dichotomy is apparent.
Eye of the Beholder
Truth is your own customer service experience is going to be your most influential factor. I’ve had great service with AT&T, but I never would have left T-Mobile if it hadn’t been for a bad personal experience. The network plays a role, but how you’re treated is huge.
Which gets me back to the Tribes. The greatest sucker-bait in the whole game is getting us at each other’s throats about the phones we use. The iPhone people, the Android Army, Palm Partisans, and the Windows Mobile folks who catch it on all sides.
Truth is, I really like my phone. I picked it because it does the things I need it to do, and does them well. I’m sure many of you feel the same way.
Now, imagine how angry you’d feel if you ditched something you’re otherwise happy with, and switched to something that wasn’t as advertised.
The “conventional wisdom” that AT&T sucks and that Verizon rescues puppies is too one-sided for me to believe it’s genuine and universal.
DISCLAIMER: I am in no way compensated by AT&T, nor have I ever been. I am on a rate plan that I was eligible for through a previous employer, and have never had a deal or offer that wasn’t publicly available to others similarly situated.
I don’t know how many others can say the same.