Why you can’t get a good phone with Verizon

Apple Online Store “Why does the U.S. carrier known for the best network have the worst smartphones?” Priya Ganapati asks for Wired. “Verizon gets plaudits for its coverage and call quality, but consistently loses out to AT&T, T-Mobile and even Sprint when it comes to getting the newest high-end handsets.”

MacDailyNews Take: Even Sprint, as in: The poor little idiot carrier.

Ganapati writes, “‘They lack the star products that their competitors have,’ says Avi Greengart, research director, consumer devices for Current Analysis. ‘They recognize they don’t have compelling devices right now but feel they can make up for it with network quality.’ …The company has the popular but critically panned BlackBerry Storm and the rather staid and Wi-Fi-less BlackBerry Tour. The carrier known for the best network now has the least attractive line up of smart phones. Verizon’s extremely conservative approach to new handsets, the company’s long and rigorous testing procedures and its emphasis on the network rather than the phone has created a portfolio that’s a complete buzz kill, say experts,” Ganapati writes.

MacDailyNews Take: Long and rigorous testing? Puleeze. The real problem with Verizon, and to a lesser extent all the rest of the U.S. carriers, is that of a dumb pipe thinking it’s smart. Verizon wouldn’t give up enough of their shackles and handcuffs; they love to nickel and dime their customers by crippling devices and forcing people to their own crapola media and other “solutions.” That’s why BlackBerry’s Storm, among it’s other problems, doesn’t have WiFi. That’s why Verizon doesn’t have a good phone. Early on in iPhone’s development, Steve Jobs probably talked to Verizon for about 30 seconds before concluding they simply were not capable of letting go enough to carry his revolution. They probably demanded upfront that WiFi be removed and music and video sales go through whatever POS “service(s)” they offer. By the way, of course Verizon’s network gets the best marks (on a scale of that tops out at mediocre-at-best) in large part because they have no devices that use any real amounts of data, so there’s no real load on their network. Put 10+ million data-hungry Apple iPhones on Verizon and watch their mediocre quality scores plummet.

Ganapati continues, “‘Verizon doesn’t have too many options,’ says Michael Mace, a former executive with Palm and Apple who runs a strategy and marketing consulting firm called Rubicon Consulting. ‘They can’t get the iPhone right now and they can’t take Nokia devices and start promoting them. All they can do all they can do is push the BlackBerry as hard as they can and hope for a new Motorola phone.'”

“Verizon didn’t deliberately choose to be the boring-but-predictable, safe but unexciting choice. In some ways, it simply got overtaken by the technology,” Ganapati writes. “Over the last two years, with the launch of the Apple iPhone, the smartphone business changed rapidly. There are conflicting reports on whether Apple ever offered the iPhone to Verizon; Verizon reportedly turned it down. But with AT&T as the official partner for Apple, the smartphone business took off in a new direction. With its extremely responsive touch screen, sleek, elegant interface, full PC-like browsing experience, the iPhone set a new standard. Customers flocked to AT&T, flooding (and sometimes overloading) its network. Along the way, they left a trail of broken contracts with other carriers. In 2007, when Apple launched the iPhone, 25 percent of iPhone buyers had switched to AT&T from another carrier, according to an estimate from American Technology Research.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Hmm… They make some very good points here. I remember when 3G absolutely was fantastic, and then came the iPhone and quality dropped. But i have to say, at&t;has done great fixing their problems here in central florida.

  2. I agree with MDN’s take. I’d also like to add that they have always had some of the worst phones available. Even during the pre-smartphone era. I think that their arrogance has prevented them from getting any good hardware.

  3. I got a new Razr back in 2006 or so – on Verizon. Took it home, spent nearly 3 hours trying to figure out what I could do with it. Answer = nothing. Text & make calls. Totally crippled, they wanted to nickel and dime me to death to start up capabilities that came with the phone, but were disabled by Verizon. Along came the iPhone…ahhhhh…no more Verizon.

  4. I remember even in pre-smartphone days, Verizon would remove features and dumb down every phone to use their proprietary interface. FWIW, I’ve had great 3G coverage where I live in So. Cal and on visits to Seattle, SF, and Mammoth.

  5. When, and if, the iPhone finally gets ported to Verizon they will feel the pain. But they will have absolutly no excuse. ATandT was the early adopter and they are paying thier own price for that.

    In the end they will emearge as the stronger more dominate carrier and we the consumer will will benefit, hopefully.

    The Government may even have to come in and break Ma Bell up again.

  6. Had a Motorola e815, but Verizon had crippled the Bluetooth so I couldn’t iSync my contacts and photos. Instead Verizon tried to put me through some hair-pulling process… I just gave up. To make a long story a lil longer I waited for the contact to end and switched to AT&T;to get my iPhone!!!! Verizon doesn’t get it.

  7. I switched to ATT from Sprint for the iPhone. They asked me why I left their network, and I told them I went to ATT for the iPhone.

    They said, “We have phones that are just as good. We have the HTC Touch.”

    My reponse, “Exactly.”

    To that, the Sprint rep just said, “Yeah, I know.”


  8. Beware of the “happy” army of ATT iPhone users coming out of the woodwork online to praise the network all of a sudden. Their arrival seems to align with the ATT PR offensive launched after they became fearful of the negative effect we were having on their brand perception.

  9. “Verizon didn’t deliberately choose to be the boring-but-predictable, safe but unexciting choice.”

    Complete bull***t. There current position is the end result of a very deliberate corporate strategy that is built on their position that they want to remain in control over the customer and to charge them for everything. This goes so far as slapping their ugly corporate logo on every crappy handset they sell. They want to keep the handset suppliers one step removed from the users, and they want to stay in the middle collecting tolls.

    I don’t really know way people complain so much about AT&T;. They certainly aren’t any worse than the competition (or you can say the competition isn’t any better).

    I have my iPhone on AT&T;, but my wife’s phone is on verizon. We just got her a new handset, and the verizon nickle and diming with her new contract is just ridiculous.

    Yes, I am a happy iphone user coming out of the woodwork. I have no problem with the network where I live (northern NJ), and I generally don’t even have a problem at my ski house in vermont where AT&T;doesn’t even promise coverage.

    My view toward AT&T;may be biased though, as prior to my iPhone I was on T-Mobile, and had crappy coverage everywhere.

    BTW, even if I didn’t have an iPhone, Verizon isn’t even a possibility, as I actually leave the US on a regular basis, and need GSM. Before the Verizon folks start talking about how great their network is, how about entering the late 20th century and adopting GSM across the US.

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