Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, April 19, 2021

Customers can be such a pain, expecting their products and services to work all the time. Such is the pain that Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg is experiencing, as he laments too-high wireless customer demands:

In an interview published Saturday in the San Francisco Chronicle, Seidenberg seemed to suggest the company’s wireless customers were becoming too demanding.

“Why in the world would you think your (cell) phone would work in your house?” he asked. “The customer has come to expect so much. They want it to work in the elevator, they want it to work in the basement.”

Couldn’t the company correct customer expectations by distributing statistics on how often Verizon’s service works indoors or by providing more detailed coverage maps that show all possible dead zones?

Seidenberg said it wasn’t Verizon’s responsibility, the Chronicle reported.

It’s hard for me lay into Seidenberg too much, at the moment. I’m in the NYC metro region right now, and I’ve never experienced such a consistently strong signal on my Verizon Wireless phone, indoors or outdoors. Still, it’s a fairly ugly set of comments to come from a leader of a cellphone behemoth. I don’t know if he’s trying to psychologically hedge the continual dropoff of landline customers as they opt to go wireless-only, but it’s not an elegant way of getting that point across.

Seidenberg also takes a dim view of the wi-fi hotzones many cities are planning:

“That could be one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard,” he told the Chronicle. “It sounds like a good thing, but the trouble is someone will have to design it, someone will have to upgrade it, someone will have to maintain it and someone will have to run it.”

Such comments carry some resonance in Florida, where the Legislature has been considering bills backed by phone companies that would complicate efforts by municipalities to offer Wi-Fi and other telecommunications services. (Wi-Fi networks planned or in operation in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Dunedin wouldn’t be affected because those efforts are led by private companies, not local governments.)

I can think of a less-pleasant alternative: A wi-fi network built and maintained by Verizon and other telecoms, that are pay-for — and are still poorly maintained and upgraded.

The potential conflicts between municipal (including regional governments and airports) and private wireless providers like Starbucks are well-known, and need to be worked out; but I say, let other players, including power companies and the like, take their shot. Existing providers are understandably nervous because they don’t want the competition, but them’s the breaks.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/19/2005 08:32:53 PM
Category: Wi-Fi, Business | Permalink |

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  1. […] ;t too happy about local government efforts to set up free wi-fi hotspot zones. Instead of merely grumbling about it, they’re mobilizing lobby […]

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