June 20, 2007 10:37 AM PDT

Verizon CEO: No need for iPhone killer

CHICAGO--With the Apple iPhone launch less than two weeks away, Verizon sees its services, and not a new iPhone-killing handset, as the way to compete against rival AT&T, said CEO Ivan Seidenberg.

Seidenberg, who took questions from reporters about the iPhone Wednesday during a press conference at the NXTcomm trade show here, said the company already has several new devices on the market and plans to continue adding to its lineup later in the year. But he also said Verizon plans to compete against AT&T, which is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone, by emphasizing the company's services.

"We just added four new devices in the past month," he said. "The new BlackBerry is flying off shelves. The way we see it, our customers have price points and service packaging that is different."

Specifically, he pointed to Verizon's V Cast music service that allows consumers to download songs over the air, and mobile video services including the new V Cast TV that uses the MediaFlo network built by Qualcomm to broadcast live TV.

When asked if he thinks the company will take a hit from subscribers ditching Verizon Wireless' service for AT&T's, he said he believes Verizon is in a very good position. Verizon Wireless has long enjoyed strong customer loyalty with one of the lowest churn rates of any major wireless operator in the country.

"The way we come at this is to let the iPhone hit the market," he said. "I don't think it changes the game plan for how we approach the market. But we need to see the impact. The burden is on (AT&T and Apple) to prove the market will change."

Seidenberg also added that he thinks the iPhone will actually help drive business for Verizon's high-end smart phones and advanced data services.

"The iPhone will add excitement and stimulation to the market," he said. "If we have done our job, then we will be a beneficiary. I hope it does reasonably well."

But a ban imposed earlier this month by the International Trade Commission on handsets that contain some 3G, or third-generation, Qualcomm technology could throw a monkey wrench into Seidenberg's plan, if the issue isn't resolved. On Wednesday, Qualcomm told Reuters that the ban could affect future versions of MediaFlo handsets.

"Broadcom's assertions were related to EV-DO and WCDMA chips and handsets. This ban is unrelated to MediaFlo technology, but will impact future models of MediaFlo handsets since they contain EV-DO or WCDMA technology," Reuters quoted a Qualcomm spokesman as saying.

Verizon Wireless and AT&T are using the MediaFlo technology for their mobile broadcast TV services. So far Verizon is the only one to have the service up and running. MediaFlo is currently available in 40 cities and will be in 120 cities by the end of the year, according to Seidenberg.

Fortunately for Verizon, it had already begun shipping MediaFlo handsets before June 7, the date the order was issued. So the worst-case scenario is that only future versions of these handsets would be affected and not handsets shipping today.

Qualcomm has filed for an emergency stay on the ITC ruling in federal court. And it's seeking a presidential veto.

See more CNET content tagged:
Qualcomm MediaFLO, Qualcomm Inc., Verizon Communications, handset, ban

36 comments

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about that....
Services are great Verizon but it really helps to have some nice phones to view/listen to that content with. I've had problems find a decent Verizon phone that just has Bluetooth 2.0 not to mention anything else. Verizon does have the best network coverage. To ATT I say, the point of having a cell phone is still to make calls. Improve your coverage and Verizon will become the next Sprint.
Posted by drewbyh (91 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Verizon is missing the point...
I'm Verizon user, only because of the excellent coverage, which has proven to be far superior to any of the other services in my area (in the US). However, Verizon falls short and will lose future customers based on their draconian control of handsets. Take the Blackberry 8830 for instance: their new "flagship". They've crippled the GPS, and offer no service for this wonderful built-in feature. Verizon, and their management, constantly put customers at odds. As soon as another company gets their call quality up to spec (AT&T, this means you!) Verizon will be finished. Until then, the choices in the US are:

Verizon: Best call quality by far; best and most available customer service. Purposefully crippled phones and limited handset choices.

Sprint: Slightly worse call quality, but still good. Abysmal choice of phones and terrible customer service.

AT&T: Great selection of phones and features, but lackluster call coverage (especially inside buildings) and terrible customer service.

If someone could merge the call coverage and customer service of Verizon with the phone selection of AT&T, consumers in the US would be jumping for joy.

By the way, the FCC started this mess.
Posted by kylegas (81 comments )
Reply Link Flag
you nailed it!
:-)
Posted by zizzybaloobah (218 comments )
Link Flag
T-Mobile?
I'm a T-Mobile customer (both personal and business). Their customer service after a few years has generally been very good, with English-speaking phone reps who can get things done.

Their coverage - well, when it's good, it's good (i.e. very few dropped calls), international GSM is great, but their data network is slow.

So they are worth mentioning too. Still, when my contract is up I will be checking into Alltel since I'm sick of lock-in and want more freedom to buy my own phone when I feel like it, not when some contract diktat allows it.

Separately, I read an interview with Ivan Seidenberg from a couple of years ago where he grumbled about Verizon Wireless customers actually wanting service in elevators and elsewhere. Talk about "not getting it".
Posted by nhidealist (13 comments )
Link Flag
Verizon IS missing the point..........
about the choice of phones, how they limit them. Why do they do that. We left Verizon after years of good service because we couldn't get a "modern" phone from them. Well, it wasn't my idea, though, we've suffered from poor coverage ever since, but my wife got the phone she wanted from Sprint. Seems Verizon is always behind with products.
Posted by rebart1 (7 comments )
Link Flag
Well, that's true, but...
I hack my phone (so it doesn't matter), which is an XV6700. The only smartphone, PDA, or Pocket PC phone anyone should own is an XV6700 from Verizon. It's not just the phone, but it's the NETWORK, as well. IF YOU'RE A NOVICE, the disabled tethering modem feature can be BYPASSED by purchasing PDANet, but I just hacked the modem into working. You can't tell me you've paid $399, have Windows on your phone, a USB port, and an Internet connection but no modem. That's ridiculous. That's why we HACK PHONES. Hello?! The hardware is there. You just need to know how to make the hardware do what you want. It's got WINDOWS, for crying out loud! (DUH?!) Besides, I spent $400. It is MINE. I WILL DO WHAT I WANT WITH IT...Windows makes it possible. That's why Windows isn't everything. It's the only thing. I use mine as a modem almost every day. Plus, I use Slingbox, so I have my digital cable & DVR on my phone. With Verizon's coverage, I watched LIVE college basketball on a bus in the mountains of TN! Try that with Sprint or AT&T. Then, let's see, there's TomTom GPS w/Bluetooth or Mapquest, whichever I choose to use. Plus, I can view & control my PC remotely using Logmein or .Net VNC Viewer. I actually pull out my phone at clients and do invoices and eFax them right to their fax machine or e-mail them to them right there from my phone. Right there. I view my eFaxes using Pocket Adobe Reader 2.0. I make calls on Skype when I'm low on peak minutes. I chat with MSN Messenger. I can even use my Yahoo! Messenger or anything else by controlling my PC. I use this method to create PDF's. I listen to music. I can use a 2.5mm-to-3.5mm jack adapter to connect my car or other sound system to my phone and play my music, if I don't just plug my laptop into it for surround sound. With a Logitech bluetooth headset, I can use bluetooth to do it all, not just talk on the phone. (ONLY Logitech, esp. HS03 model) I have my phone automatically download my e-mails every 3 minutes for one POP3 account and every 15 minutes for another one. I've got WiFi access and even downloaded software to run "ping" and "tracert" tests. I can browse network folders on a LAN/WAN via IP address or NetBIOS. I use a 1GB memory card to install a ton of apps and store my e-mail attachments. I use Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word, calculator, Voice Commmand (to open applications and make calls), Bible, Dictionary, & more. I make voice notes and e-mail them. When I'm driving, I reply to e-mails with voice notes. I went to www.tech4carolina.com, got VoIP that sends my voicemails to my e-mail, so I can listen to my voicemails from my home and office on my phone. I run Opera browser and Pocket IE, sometimes simultaneously. I could type for another 30 minutes, but I'll wrap it up...The XV6700, excuse me, WITH KNOW-HOW & the VERIZON network is better than anything else out there, bar none. If you can prove to me that it's not true, I'll switch. BTW, I promise I do not work for VERIZON or MSFT.
Posted by johms (7 comments )
Link Flag
Flies and iPhones
If the iPhone flies and AT&T doesn't use the extra money to better their network... shame on them. Since there's so much hype over the iPhone, they probably have done a lot of work on that.

Watch a few people get fire if they don't get it right. I think the people concerned know that.
Posted by kool_skatkat (982 comments )
Link Flag
coverage is still the point
I left AT&T because my phone would not work in most of
Manhattan-- but if you want to listen to music, I guess phone
calls are not so improtant. Improving coverage is the most
expensive and most basic thing AT&T has to do. I think
Seidenberg is right that the onus will really be on AT&T and
Apple to make the iPhone work-- it is a huge brand gamble for
both of them... right now we all remember Apple's hit, the iPod,
but we forget their misses, Lisa, Newton. If Apple needed to
delay other software to get the iPhone ready, there is real reason
to doubt they will be able to provide adequate customer
support. They are spreading themselves thin and moving into a
new business line where there are all ready well developed
platforms-- nothing in the MP3 player realm had the type of
user base that we see for blackberry, treo, and WM devices when
the iPod was first introduced. With such a high expectation of
success built up, anything short of domination will look like
failure and any bugs will be headline news. The iPhone will also
discourage other manufacturers from offering their best
products to AT&T-- with AT&T so focused on Apple, why would
RIM want to push a phone through AT&T when AT&T's web site
and store will be pushing Apple's product over all else?
Posted by wylbur (110 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe in Manhattan
Not in San Francisco or half the US. I just completed a cross
country car trip with my son. He is an ATT subscriber, I am a
Verizon customer. In a very unbiased and unscientific
comparison I can honestly say that ATT had much better
coverage throughout most of the US. (I started in PHL and ended
in SFO). I use a high end Palm Treo 700p, he uses a Motorola
Razr. He spent the trip on the phone, I spent it waiting for a
single bar from Nebraska to Reno! That goober with the glasses
from the TV ads must be hanging around lower Manhattan, he
certainly wasn't anywhere North Platte, NE! But ATT was!

Last comment on Verizon products...the Chocolate line is the
worst. The least intuitive phone I have ever seen.

I anxiously await the end of my Verizon contract, and hope that
there will be enough iPhones available in December. The
features look amazing, and blows away anything on the market
today, and for me I could care less about the music. Give me
email and internet that I can see on the screen with a phone I
can integrate into my life with ease...CAN'T WAIT FOR IPHONE!
Posted by mjbackes (9 comments )
Link Flag
Cingular / AT&T coverage spotty
I used to work at AT&T wireless and then got bought out by Cingular at their Redmond/Bothell HQ location. It was silly and quite funny that the techs there had to carry Verizon phones with them because they couldn't get their Cingular phones to get coverage... AT THE HEADQUARTERS. Eventually Cingular installed a repeater at the location so you could get reception at the HQ, but if you went a block away, forget it.

The reputation for poor call quality, loss of signal, and atrocious customer service was one that they earned. Now AT&T has inherited it and 'improved' customer service by moving it all to India completely (Wipro of India).

Why haven't we heard a single announcemnt of the service plans to be offered? Why are they avoiding telling us how affordable it will be? They advertise the plans for other services constantly, and they are promoting the iPhone heavily, but the only mention of data plans is that it will be announced on the release date and not before.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
I Phone
I expect everyone will be just fine. The i-phone looks interesting, but it isn't for everyone. Every carrier has some weak spots, which is reflected in their market share. I expect that trend will continue. What can the I-phone do that my current Windows Mobile phone cannot? I imagine- nothing!!
Posted by Bill_A (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
iPhone, actually.
I'm sure everyone feels just the same way, Bill - that's why
everyone's buying Windows Mobile phones and nobody cares about
the iPhone! Feels good to be smarter than everyone, doesn't it?
Posted by notmart (3 comments )
Link Flag
Seidenberg doesn't get it. . .
I'm aware of at least 20 customers including my son and myself he
will cost Verizon beginning 6:00 PM PST on June 29th. He doesn't
understand his customers and that Verizon is not going to be the
next iTunes. Over half of us have been with Verizon for 6 years
plus. At least a 1/3 are going to pay the early termination fee to
get the phone. What's truly funny to me is that only 5 of us use
Macs. The rest use Windows with their iPods. Oh well Verizon only
has to wait 5 years to possible sell the iPhone.
Posted by tatter.demalion (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Seidenberg doesn't get it. . .
neither do you. Children, teenagers, the gadget conscious, and othe toy collectors will definietly want the iphone. In the end, after the novelty wears off you will wish you had the Verizon coverage for serious needs. But, that's what drives the market; new toys for little boys.
Posted by rebart1 (7 comments )
Link Flag
big deal
I upgrade my cell phones as they become "free" with my plan, I'm with Verizon and I can get a new phone every 2 years or so and I always choose the best free one. I don't see anything about the iPhone that tells me I need it now. I'll wait and Verizon will come out with something that can do whatever the IPhone can do.
Posted by HlLLARY CLTON (382 comments )
Reply Link Flag
there are plenty arleady available
Just not as hyped as the iPhone
Posted by DrtyDogg (3084 comments )
Link Flag
Bimbo iPhone - crippled and expensive
Not only is Apple's BIMBO iPhone outrageously expensive but it is a crippled and stupid phone:

- NO USER-REPLACEABLE BATTERY

- ITUNES AND APPLE MONOPOLY

- NO INTEGRATION WITH CORPORATE APPLICATIONS

- NO THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS EXCEPT VIA BIMBO SAFARI BROWSER

- NO EXTERNAL MEMORY CARD

- CRIPPLED BROWSER

- NO VOICE RECORDER

- NO FM RADIO

- NO OUTLOOK, NO OFFICE, NO ACROBAT, NO FLASH

It's a BIMBO phone alright; a stupid piece of crap and you need both hands and eyes to use it. Only Mac fanatics and stupid bimbos will buy it.
Posted by sinpolines (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nice Balanced Review.
Not! LOL.

Crippled browser?

Which competing phones have a better web browser than Safari?
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
ROTFL
...not sure but...something tells me you don't like the iPhone at all. By all means, correct me if I'm wrong. :)

Apple a monopoly. LOL! That's something I'd never thought I'd hear in my lifetime. Too funny.
Posted by mbjr (64 comments )
Link Flag
OMGWTFROTFLOL!
Mine's longer. Oh wow. That got weird quick.

No, seriously though. They should be making PC's smaller, not making new devices. When I see that iPhone, I see a bunch of handy looking peripherals. "Give us this!" "Give us that!" "Why can't we run our own apps on these things?"

It's a step backwards. I own my hardware. Bulky? Perhaps. But that's what man bags are for.
Posted by ethana2 (348 comments )
Link Flag
Apple Hater Logic: Crippled and Cheap.
[i]"NO USER-REPLACEABLE BATTERY"[/i]

18 months so far on the same iPod Nano I have... that battery ain't replaceable either, yet the battery life is still nice and obscenely long.

[i]"ITUNES AND APPLE MONOPOLY"[/i]

Eh?

1) Fire up iPhone.
2) point browser to your fave MP3 web shop.
3) ...what monopoly, brainiac?

[i]"NO INTEGRATION WITH CORPORATE APPLICATIONS"[/i]

Such as? Oh, that's right... it doesn't have a MSFT Powerpoint thingy. Instead it'll likely have its own that does the same thing, if someone doesn't port NeoOffice to it first.

[i]"NO THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS EXCEPT VIA BIMBO SAFARI BROWSER"[/i]

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://ipodlinux.org/" target="_newWindow">http://ipodlinux.org/</a>

...you still sure about saying that, newb? ;)

[i]"NO EXTERNAL MEMORY CARD"[/i]

Considering the networking and hard-line docking... who cares? BTW, 2001 called... they want their CF cards back.

[i]"NO FM RADIO"[/i]

LOL! Please, point me to a smart phone that has that.

[i]"NO OUTLOOK"[/i]

Nope - it uses a real non-exploit-ridden client email instead. 'magine that... ;)

[i]"NO ACROBAT"[/i]

Bzzt! (see also "Preview" on OSX).

[i]"NO FLASH"[/i]

As in Macromedia Flash, Flash memory, Flash Gordon...? Throw us a line here, brain trust!

[i]"and you need both hands and eyes to use it"[/i]

...you've never typed anything on a Crackberry, have you?

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Verizon will be OK, but....
Verizon will always be OK since they DO control what devices the customers can carry. Many of us would NEVER agree to such a policy, but then on the other hand, most wireless users in the U.S. really do not care for anything else than "what my carrier tells me".

For the rest of us, we can look at the iPhone with awe, but just as beautiful it is I am not sure it'll fit my bill.
Yes, the phone will fly off the shelves, good design does that, and many will be happy with its features.

But, with my SEMC w810i, I can listen to as good music as with an iPhone, it has a great FM radio (with RDS), can take pretty good pictures for a phone, and maybe most important: it has a keyboard and a very slim size.

I can even browse, but if I needed "pure" data capabilities, I'd still stick with the w810i (due to its size), and add a BBerry for the data side.

To those who want more freedom from their carriers, EVERYONE that is using GSM already have that power in your hand. You have a GSM handset and ANY GSM handset (given frequency support) will work. There is no "need" to accept the crappy phone your carrier throws at you, nor the two-year contract period. Buy/obtain a GSM phone to your liking, plug in your SIM, and you are good to go.
Try that with a CDMA phone (outside Korea)...
Posted by euspos (190 comments )
Reply Link Flag
True, but the XV6700 from Verizon can be modified...
I posted this earlier...I hack my phone (so it doesn't matter), which is an XV6700. The only smartphone, PDA, or Pocket PC phone anyone should own is an XV6700 from Verizon. It's not just the phone, but it's the NETWORK, as well. IF YOU'RE A NOVICE, the disabled tethering modem feature can be BYPASSED by purchasing PDANet, but I just hacked the modem into working. You can't tell me you've paid $399, have Windows on your phone, a USB port, and an Internet connection but no modem. That's ridiculous. That's why we HACK PHONES. Hello?! The hardware is there. You just need to know how to make the hardware do what you want. It's got WINDOWS, for crying out loud! (DUH?!) Besides, I spent $400. It is MINE. I WILL DO WHAT I WANT WITH IT...Windows makes it possible. That's why Windows isn't everything. It's the only thing. I use mine as a modem almost every day. Plus, I use Slingbox, so I have my digital cable &#38; DVR on my phone. With Verizon's coverage, I watched LIVE college basketball on a bus in the mountains of TN! Try that with Sprint or AT&#38;T. Then, let's see, there's TomTom GPS w/Bluetooth or Mapquest, whichever I choose to use. Plus, I can view &#38; control my PC remotely using Logmein or .Net VNC Viewer. I actually pull out my phone at clients and do invoices and eFax them right to their fax machine or e-mail them to them right there from my phone. Right there. I view my eFaxes using Pocket Adobe Reader 2.0. I make calls on Skype when I'm low on peak minutes. I chat with MSN Messenger. I can even use my Yahoo! Messenger or anything else by controlling my PC. I use this method to create PDF's. I listen to music. I can use a 2.5mm-to-3.5mm jack adapter to connect my car or other sound system to my phone and play my music, if I don't just plug my laptop into it for surround sound. With a Logitech bluetooth headset, I can use bluetooth to do it all, not just talk on the phone. (ONLY Logitech, esp. HS03 model) I have my phone automatically download my e-mails every 3 minutes for one POP3 account and every 15 minutes for another one. I've got WiFi access and even downloaded software to run "ping" and "tracert" tests. I can browse network folders on a LAN/WAN via IP address or NetBIOS. I use a 1GB memory card to install a ton of apps and store my e-mail attachments. I use Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word, calculator, Voice Commmand (to open applications and make calls), Bible, Dictionary, &#38; more. I make voice notes and e-mail them. When I'm driving, I reply to e-mails with voice notes. I went to www.tech4carolina.com, got VoIP that sends my voicemails to my e-mail, so I can listen to my voicemails from my home and office on my phone. I run Opera browser and Pocket IE, sometimes simultaneously. I could type for another 30 minutes, but I'll wrap it up...The XV6700, excuse me, WITH KNOW-HOW &#38; the VERIZON network is better than anything else out there, bar none. If you can prove to me that it's not true, I'll switch. BTW, I promise I do not work for VERIZON or MSFT.
Posted by johms (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
xv6700
Any chance you've posted a complete-novice-oriented tutorial on this somewhere on the web (particularly regarding the "hacked the modem into working" part)? Does this mean free internet for email/web/tv use? I am looking looking for a cheap yet "super" smartphone plan, and yours sounds fantastic....
Posted by emzily (1 comment )
Link Flag
Right on...
Without the network being better, I wouldn't take more than a curiosity-fulfilling look at the phone itself, even if I didn't need the business features that it apparently lacks. The phone and the network are equally important. Additional software availability is also very important.
Posted by johms (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Never been there
But I've been plenty of places where I thought there was no way I'd get coverage, but I did. I do know from having various cell phones that some phones pick up weak signals better than others. Maybe there's no service between Nebraska and Reno, but maybe the phone's reception of weak signals is poor.
Posted by johms (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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