Interesting experience for me this week and I’ll document it with a departure from my normal column topics.
I’ve been sitting with some senior people at VerizonWireless who were sharing VerizonWireless’ twenty year plan. I didn’t know VerizonWireless had a twenty year plan
Just so you’ll know, VerizonWireless are the folks behind the ubiquitous “Can you hear me now?” commercials. Have you noticed that more and more of those commercials are showing lots of people supporting every call you make? The thrust is moving from “Can you hear me now?” to “most reliable network”?
I was fascinated by what the VerizonWireless folks revealed. This may be very old news to most readers, so please excuse me if it is. I don’t get out of the lab much.
Consumers, it seems, are shifting their attention from price to call completion and coverage, from cellphones to carriers as major concerns when it comes to service providers. This is fascinating because it’s been the European model since…well…since forever as far as wireless goes. The European cellular model is to offer the best network and the phone is the add-on. The US model has traditionally been to offer the most feature-rich phone with the network as an add-on.
That’s part of the explanation for the change in emphasis in the commercials.
The other part of the explanation goes into VerizonWireless’ twenty year plan. VerizonWireless isn’t really interested in selling phones to teenagers and their families (notice the emphasis there), it’s focusing its efforts on the business market, specifically high level execs. VerizonWireless will be focusing its attention on people interested in Blackberrys, Treos and similar platforms, more than people like me who are thrilled just to make and take a call.
(People who’ve been corresponding with me over the past few months will now understand why I, Mr. Luddite, have been responding to emails from a PDA rather than my office. Ah, research…)
For me, it gets a little better. Eventually voice service will probably be free and TXT and Data services will dominate. Data, specifically, is the way to go as far as VerizonWireless is concerned. They’ve seen TXT move from a teen phenomenon up through the age groups until now, in early 2008, they expect Grams and Gramps to be TXTing to their grandchildren. Vodaphone has a large interest in VerizonWireless and has been explaining the future to the American company for a while (Europe is about five years ahead of us in wireless technology, fyi). There’s more to the similarities of Vodaphone’s and VerizonWireless’ websites than you might think, it seems.
The advantage is that you can TXT one message to several people. “I’m running 1/2hr late to meeting” can be entered once and sent to everybody scheduled for the 2 o’clock as opposed to having to call each one or organize a calling circle to make everyone aware. You can also TXT while working.
Duh! Anybody who’s had to work with RIM has seen this in action. It amuses me to see everyone focusing on their BlackBerrys rather than the presentation, waiting for everyone else to TXT a comment on the presentation to them so they can TXT back.
So VerizonWireless’ push is going to be to upgrade and design their network to be the best Data network around.
How important is TXT and Data to them?
|2008 (Jan estimate)||500M|
Chart this out and you have this graph. I hear that AOL processes 2 billion TXT messages a day so VerizonWireless isn’t challenging them…yet. And when you consider the differences in users, VerisonWireless isn’t likely to…yet.
During my “The Blogging Power Continuum” SNCR presentation I strongly suggested that the future of technology is based on a simple principle, “We long to touch what has been held in human hands”. This is based on the history of technology being a study of putting the greatest amount of power into the most hands as possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s guns, food or information. My demonstration of this principle? I asked how many people at the presentation were either writing a blog post, TXTing someone, Twittering, emailing, etc., someone about what was going on at the moment. All but a few people raised their hands.
Pity VerizonWireless is privately held. I’d like to buy some stock. Get some of that power in my hands.
Please contact NextStage for information regarding presentations and trainings on this and other topics.
- New Communications Forum 2008 22-25 April 08 in Sonoma Valley, CA
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