If you have been reading RIMarkable for a while you probably are aware that I am a big fan of Verizon. I am absolutely in love with their highspeed EVDO network that seems to have great coverage everywhere. The strength of Verizon’s network is, in my opinion, unmatched in the United States and like many Verizon subscribers, I put the strength of their network before the availability of the newest devices.
The network, however, is where my love affair with Verizon ends and I am willing to bet that this is the case for many a Verizon subscriber. It seems like the company, especially when it comes to their offerings of the latest greatest BlackBerry devices, bets only on the strength of it’s network and the affection that corporate America has for it.
Is the best network enough?
As strong as Verizon’s network is, I wonder (doubt) if their strategy will continue to work for them as the current wave of newly released BlackBerry devices appeal as much to individual consumers as they do to corporate road warriors. Verizon BlackBerry subscribers tend to be very loyal bunch. Much of that loyalty can be directly attributed to the the strength of Verizon’s network. I wonder, however, how much of that loyalty is attributed to the fact that many Verizon BlackBerry subscribers have their bills footed for them by the companies they work for?
The BlackBerry demographic is changing
No longer is the BlackBerry a device that appeals only to traveling sales people, executives, and consultants. The MP3 playing, digital picture taking, consumer BlackBerry models like the BlackBerry Pearl and the BlackBerry Curve appeal to everyone who checks email more than twice a day that uses their mobile phone more than a landline. The problem for Verizon is that these consumer BlackBerry users, especially when footing their BlackBerry bills themselves, are not nearly as willing to sacrifice feature sets on their handsets as they would be if their company were picking up the tab.
Another problem for Verizon and one for Research in Motion is that corporate BlackBerry users that have their BlackBerrys provided and and paid for by their employers are significantly more likely to get a personal device (like the iPhone) on an alternate carrier. This may not be your classic case of customer churn, however, I am sure that Verizon would rather have it’s business customers buy personal phones from Verizon than from its competitors.
What are Verizon’s plans for the BlackBerry?
How does Verizon plan to stay competitive in the BlackBerry market? They still don’t have a BlackBerry with a digital camera. They are notorious for disabling features in their “new” devices that came standard, is some cases, a year previously on their competitors networks and they are the most expensive. From the outside looking in it pretty much looks like Verizon is running business as usual. Has the wireless industry matured to the point thatthat business usual no longer makes the grade?
You could do a find and replace of the word Verizon with Sprint and this article would still make sense.
I think the real problem is that all the wireless carriers suck. Just a couple of weeks ago everyone was complaining about how AT&T sucks because it is too slow for the iPhone.
Personally I cannot wait until the 700MHz band becomes available because the wireless carriers that operate there won’t be able to treat mobile devices as commodities.
I am one of those corporate users who got tired of looking at the 7250. I went out and established service on ATT with the Curve. The company will reimburse me for the data and I have a super-cool new device.
I loved the Verizon network – but my breaking point finally came. I’ve got no regrets having made the switch.
Like you I have a BlackBerry (7250) on Verizon that my company pays for and I got an iPhone the day they came out. Verizon should be worried if a lot of people are having the same experience that I am… AT&T isn’t all that bad.
If my company ever decides to upgrade me to a new BlackBerry, I will probably go with the Curve because I don’t really need the speed EVDO on a BlackBerry.
Well, I owned an iPhone for two weeks. I carry a Verizon 8703 and I pay for it myself. I took the iPhone back and here is the primary reason why: the Verizon network. Calls are crystal clear on my 8703. Most people can not tell if I am on a landland or a cell phone. I can not say the same of AT&T. I had a phone with Cingular a couple of years ago and people said I sounded like I was in a tin can. I had the same comments when I talked on my iPhone. People could tell when I was on my AT&T phone vs. my Verizon phone. Coverage is another issue. I typically get 4-5 bars on Verizon and much less on AT&T.
Service is first; gadgets second. Still though… I would love to have a Curve instead of the 8703. I just do not want to give up the quality in order to get one.
I know exactly how you feel Eric. Fortunately I read about the 999-999-9999 SSN trick that allows you to fail the credit check before I activated my iPhone with a 2 year service plan. I was able to do the pre-paid Go phone and will drop that as soon as someone creates a good VoIP client.
Verizon blew it with the iphone and I’m sure they’ll blow it with Blackberry. There are just too many blind followers that will take whatever crap Verizon sends their way and thank them for it at the same time.
Although I’m not in USA, I have the same problem. The best network was established by a former Verizon subsidiary that now is state owned, this network is CDMA 2000 EvDO and rocks! however they only offer the 7250 and 7130e while GSM competitor (that sucks) has the Pearl, 8700 and soon the Curve. There is a third network which is GSM also, but doesn’t have any Blackberry models in its catalogs, only WinMobile phones with Exchange push e-mail that I don’t like.
Please forward any additional information about the Verizon release of its version of the Curve 8330.
I just visited my local Verizon store. I freelance and have two small children. I need a smart phone to keep my calendar and track clients. The Verizon rep said the Pearl is coming out by Verizon in November, but he sees no indication about the Curve. Pathetic.