What do you do when your main competitor is about to unleash the most hyped gadget ever to the cell phone-toting masses? Give said gadget a mocking nickname in a memo to employees.
The Thursday letter to Verizon Wireless employees from Chief Operating Officer Jack Plating is delicately titled "iWhatever." In it, Plating acknowledges the incessant iPhone hype and assures employees that AT&T can't match Verizon's service, choice of phones and extras, like music.
"A day hasn't gone by over the past two weeks when someone hasn't asked me what our response to the iPhone is. I meet each of these opportunities with enthusiasm, because the iPhone is simply a response to you and what Verizon Wireless has achieved," he writes.
In his pep talk, he calls AT&T's iPhone "yet another attempt to stay competitive with us," but adds that he's "not ready to dismiss the impact of the iPhone" on Verizon. Moreover, he says, AT&T's data network speeds are half that of Verizon's. And, he says, "a device is only as good as the network it's on, I expect AT&T to ignore the network service completely and focus squarely on the device."
Verizon is not letting AT&T completely dominate the day today--the company said its stores will be open until 9 tonight with special deals on some devices.