I just read one of our frequent reader Thought’s column over on BlackBerry Cool like I do every Wednesday morning and wanted to chime in on why he is exactly right when he says that “RIM and Verizon Need to Get Closer“.
Verizon tends to release new BlackBerry devices on the nations best network 9 months to a year after they have been released on Verizon’s GSM competitors in the United States. GSM proponents contend that this is because most of the planet uses GSM and RIM wants to be inline with global standards. I know that this will sound very U.S. biased, but, to be totally honest, I could really care less what the rest of Earth is doing because I use my BlackBerry here, and I would be willing to bet that most Americans feel the same way that I do.
RIM sells more BlackBerry devices in the US and Canada than they do everywhere else combined. Verizon is almost as big and Cingular and definitely more reliable. I know that Cingular says that they have the fewest dropped calls, however, the issue is that you can never make the friggin call in the first place. Verizon is just better, there is no question about it, and the fact that there are more Verizon BlackBerry subscribers in the U.S. than those on Cingular should say something to RIM.
People in most places outside of the U.S. drive down the left side of the street yet auto manufactures that sell cars this side of the pond put the steering while on the left because we drive the other way. RIM and Verizon, listen to Thought.
You actually disclosed RIMs reasons in your post. Verizon isn’t as big as Cingular/AT&T. Add in Tmobile which also uses GSM and suddenly you have a serious potential user base for the newest BB (keeping it US-centric). Add in Cingular’s faster 3G speeds and lower prices and suddenly, Verizon is not doing so well in comparison. Especially when you consider that as soon as you design the phone for Cingular/Tmo, you can send it to Europe/Asia/Australia AND South America with the only change being to the charger plug. That is a huge cost savings for RIM.
Mind you, with the iPhone as mentioned in the other article, Verizon SHOULD cultivate RIM since they will need something to combat the iPhone on Cingular. Other wise the “will soon be the same size” comparison will be to Sprint instead of Cingular.
Chip: in my original article, I never advocate giving CDMA priority over GSM in device releases. I fully understand the economics involved. However, what I do advocate is releasing CDMA versions either concurrent with GSM versions, or at the very least with far less lag time than has been the practice…maybe a month or two after the GSM version.
Robb’s analogy with the automobile is brilliant; car manufacturers manage to get both versions…left and right side steering wheel…out without making one market wait.
Cell phone manufacturers can do much the same thing with these different technologies, and in fact, some do with certain models.
As for size, Verizon is only slightly behind Cingular in terms of subscribers, and is on track to soon surpass Cingular. Cingular is only larger now because of the merger a few years back of BellSouth Mobility, SBC, and AT&T. But look at the quarterly figures, and you will see that each quarter VZW beats Cingular in net subscriber additions, and has lower churn (customer loss). As for Cingular’s 3G network, it lags far behind in coverage area to Verizon’s. Basically Cingular is getting started about 2 years after VZW did.
However, again, it really doesn’t matter, since I am not advocating that RIM in any way not go after the Cingular or the overall GSM market. I merely advocate that in addition to that, they more aggressively pursue the CDMA Verizon market. I believe that would pay rich dividends to both RIM and VZW.
If Verizon had the Pearl I would buy it right now. I’ve considered switching to Cingular to get the newer technolgy but I like verizon. I get great coverage. I just wish we could get the newer models without having to wait so long.