Battle for the Wireless Customer


The ink on the Cingular-AT&T Wireless merger is not even dry, and already two of the largest wireless players are sniping at each other in an advertising campaign that is going to leave Pepsi V Coke looking like a fight at a sorority party. Verizon has been running advertisements saying that the giant merger could cause some serious problems and customers should switch to Verizon. Cingular is saying well they have now “raised the bar.” Cingular claims it has nations largest high speed data network. Well, I think speed is relative. If 1xRTT and EDGE can churn out same speeds, they are neutral. On the higher speeds, Verizon has more markets turned up for its EV-DO service, while Cingular’s UMTS service is available in a handful of markets.

“Regardless, the directness of the ads of both companies are evocative of the battle of the colas and beers, where competitors resort to name-calling and put-downs,” writes The New York Times. Given the amount these companies are spending it is hardly a surprise they want their own brand on the phones, and want to leave handset makers out in the cold. Sprint and Verizon are looking at Chinese handset makers for supplying handsets. Now as a final thought, it would be great for consumers if a price war breaks out between Verizon and Cingular. Lets pray for that!


Jesse Kopelman

Om, the problem with T-Mobile is that outside the city their coverage tends to stink. When it come to who has the best national network, Verizon stands alone (I say that as someone who used to work for Verizon’s competition and never worked for Verizon). The combination of Cingular and AWS networks brings no instant benefit as their networks were not designed to be complimentary and are mostly redundant. Yes, the new Cingular is now on par with Verizon in terms of what it can spend to build out its network, but it has a lot of catching-up to do. Right now Verizon Wireless is in the position McCaw was right before they sold to AT&T, the industry is theirs to lose.


I have a gut feeling that we are very soon going to see a shift in consumer wants and desires. which will lead to more active switching to perhaps T-Mobile. I think T-Mobile might just be the big winner in this cat fight


What former AT&T Wireless customers are figuring out is that they had better deals under AT&T Wireless prior to the Cingular merger. The Cingular plans, while they do offer rollover, offer less minutes and, in many cases, can be substantially more expensive. A bunch of people scrambled to call customer care to get their “good deals” from AT&T Wireless locked in for two years.

Where the difference is the greatest is in terms of charges for text messaging. AT&T Wireless never charged for incoming messages, but Cingular charges on all of their plans for incoming messages. Given the rise of SMS spam, I can see why people aren’t really happy about that change.

Between Cingular’s desire to get everyone on the same systems and competitive pressure from Verizon and other carriers, I’m sure Cingular’s going to have to start offering some sweet deals pretty soon to entice customers and keep them happy.

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