Verizon Wireless

General and Policy and social media and Social Networking and SprintNextel and strategy and Verizon Wirelesschris on 13 Nov 2009 02:06 pm

Are you a leader or a poser?  There’s a big difference.

Free Press is a leader in the interactive universe.  They cultivate and organically grow their communities.  By utilizing digital tools early and often, the Free Press team has built a machine that can deliver results.  Last year, they took on Comcast, leading an effort to urge the FCC to rebuke Comcast for its network management practices.  They won.

Early this year, Free Press began beating the drum for the FCC to stay the course and open a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on open internet regulations in the wireline and wireless spaces.  This effort mobilized thousands of letters, blogs and tweets on the topic.  Once again, they won.

Free Press has become a juggernaut in the District of Communications.  Although, I don’t always agree with all of their public policy positions – I love the strategies they use to raise public awareness and influence policymaking. Continue Reading »

General and SprintNextel and Verizon Wirelesschris on 15 Dec 2008 02:18 pm

December has been a busy month.  Accordingly, I apologize to mobile diners for the stale food the last few weeks.  Rest assured, I’m cooking up some stuff for you in 2009 and look forward to the many conversations ahead.

In the interim, here are a few nuggets that might be of interest:

SPRINT Press Conference at National Press Club –

Sprint will be holding a press conference tomorrow morning to give folks the 411 about their network preparation for the big inaugural festivities next month.  I’ve seen estimates of 5 million people (that is 10X our population) in DC for the big party and I can tell you that our wireless networks in the district were not designed for that many folks.  Kudos to Sprint for getting the word out to consumers on their efforts…

One additional note, this a good opportunity to remind our fellow Americans that we still do not have wireless service for everyone in the Metro.  However, the good news is that language that will set the course for wireless infrastructure improvements to Metro was a part of the Rail Safety Improvement Act that was signed into law by President Bush in October.

After many different roadblocks over the years, on the horizon, is wireless connectivity for everyone!  In the interim, since the law was just signed in October, you will only have access underground with a CDMA phone (if you have Sprint you will be roaming on Verizon).

Mobile Monday DC –

Mobile Monday DC is back in action tonight.  On the menu is a further look at “Electioneering in the Mobile Age.” Speakers for this evening include: Kevin Bertram (CEO, Distributive Networks); Michelle Mayorga (mobile program manager, Rock the Vote); Cyrus Krohn (e-Campaign Director, RNC); Scott Goodstein (external online director, Obama campaign)…

It should be a great event!

Apple and General and Policy and Verizon Wirelesschris on 23 Jan 2008 07:39 am


Walter Mossberg talking about his iPhone and the Soviet Ministries (in his opinion, the wireless carriers).

As many diners know, I attended a panel discussion on whether the wireless industry needs more regulation in order to spur industry innovation. The panel discussion was sponsored by New America and featured many speakers offering various perspectives on the topic. I was interested to hear Walter Mossberg’s (Wall Street Journal) comments since he wrote – “free my phone” and considering the industry’s move towards openness… Overall, not a great deal of new ground covered.

Mossberg continued to hammer the wireless industry on everything from control to carrier service quality. He stated that “the FCC has spent too much time on HDTV and less time on broadband.” Mossberg is interested in watching the carriers implement the open model into their existing business. Specifically, he’ll be watching (1) certification requirements and (2) pricing on these open networks. The concern is that the certification could be long and the pricing could be a deterrent from adopting the open access network plan. Continue Reading »

at&t and General and Google and SprintNextel and T-Mobile and Verizon Wirelesschris on 05 Dec 2007 07:23 pm

The snow is falling and if you participate in the District of Communications, you are probably at the FCBA’s Chairman’s Dinner. I decided not to attend this year.

With regard to the dinner, I will definitely miss seeing and catching up with everyone in the telecom business. However, I will not miss Chairman Martin’s attempt at comedy this evening. Perhaps, everyone will attend late and inconvenience him as he does the hard working folks at the FCC at recent open meetings.

Here’s some additional rants from the kitchen -

Verizon & Openess – A bunch of folks are making a big deal out of Verizon’s announcement. This was not a shocker because this is part of the evolution of the industry. at&t and T-mobile have been showing signs of it with dual mode phones as well as T-mobile and Sprint supporting Android (Google’s Linux-based open handset platform). I expect at&t to join the cause too…

Sprint’s woes – Verizon’s move really hurts Sprint. As many know, Sprint has been bleeding valuable subs for many months. Verizon’s move will make it that much easier to leave.

Sprint’s got other problems too. Their 800 MHz reband effort has been a disaster. That initiative has proved to be more costly then originally estimated and is taking alot longer to execute. The company also has no CEO and they recently canned their WiMax partnership with Clearwire… With forty percent of their current subs predisposed to leave — the future is not bright.

New Venture – The name of my new business (drum roll please) — Tin Can Communications ™. It is a very exciting time and I really appreciate all of the support from the mobile dining community.

On related note, I plan on having a launch party after the holidays and all readers of the blog are invited!

This post was edited.

at&t and General and T-Mobile and Verizon Wirelesschris on 07 Nov 2007 02:10 pm

Gizmodo reports that T-mobile has joined Verizon Wireless and at&t by announcing to pro-rate Early Termination Fees (“ETF”).

Way to go T-mobile!

CTIA and General and Policy and Verizon Wirelesschris on 17 Oct 2007 03:41 pm

I was up on Capitol Hill this morning covering the Senate Commerce Committee hearing on wireless issues and Senator Klobuchar’s bill.  I’ve cooked up some thoughts on that issue before.  However, I wanted to throw some related and other thoughts for you all to chew on…

Best Opening Statement this morningSenator Jim DeMint (South Carolina) asking colleagues on the Committee why they would want to regulate an industry that is thriving and delivering for consumers.  DeMint went on to discuss how he receives plenty of complaints regarding how the Government handles passports, food stamps, social security benefits, veterans’ benefits etc.  Accordingly, he asked “what problems for America’s wireless consumers require the resources of Congress and the bureaucrats at the FCC to solve?” 

Odd Statement this morningSenator McCaskill (Missouri) has strong opinions about the “line-standing” business and will offer a bill to end this practice.  In the District of Communications, if there is a hearing with high demand, many businesses will hire a line-stander so that they can cover the hearing.  Our firm somtimes will utilize these services.  I have a solution – stream all of the hearings online.  I prefer to watch them in the office.

Best interaction of the hearing (Senator Klobuchar and Mr. McAdam, CEO, Verizon Wireless) - Bear with me as I set the stage – Senator Klobuchar discussing service quality issues and wanting carriers to report dropped calls to the FCC.  Mr. McAdam took the time to discuss that there are a number of factors that affect service quality and mentioned that the type of device also can be part of the equation.  He mentioned the Motorola Razr as an example of a phone that consumers wanted but due to the slim design may experience more problems….  McAdam brought up a California bill that would mandate that the CPUC approve devices to check service quality.  Ms. Klobuchar fired back that “her bill didn’t do that.”  Mr. McAdam let her know that her bill allows state law to preempt federal rules (last section of her bill – section 12 Preemption).

Wireless Broadband Deployment ActSenator Pryor (Arkansas) has offered a bill that will eliminate any ambiguity of the current wireless rules and proposes one wireless framework to prevent promulgation of a patchwork of different state laws.  Senator Pryor’s bill will help smaller regional carriers compete with the large national carriers (a small regional carrier trying to deal with 8 different state laws does not help them compete).  It will also ignite the industry (less complexity and certainty in the regs= investment) forward.  Analogous to what occurred in 1993 when Congress applied a light regulatory touch to wireless.  On a related note, this is the same bill which passed the Senate Commerce Committee with bipartisan support (15-7) in the 109th Congress.

Off Topic – Today’s Roll Call (subscription) reports that a former Senator (who is now a lobbyist) was on the Senate floor while the Senate was considering an appropriations bill.  A clear violation of the rules that Congress recently passed.  Senator DeMint’s quote from the article – “most of the ethics bill is eyewash and window dressing.”

What are YOUR thoughts?

Dish Disclosure – CTIA – the Wireless Association is a client…

General and Policy and Spectrum and Verizon Wirelesschris on 11 Oct 2007 01:59 pm

Any doubt about FCC rule changes on the C-block spectrum? 

Here’s Chairman Martin’s quote from the NY Times:

“I don’t have any plans to try to revise our open-platform rule the way Verizon wants us to.”

Broadband and General and Google and Policy and Verizon Wirelesschris on 26 Sep 2007 02:22 pm

George Washington University’s Institute for Policy, Democracy & the Internet hosted a discussion about the “Future of Broadband Wireless” last night. Rick Whitt (Washington Telecom and Media Counsel, Google) was the keynote speaker but it was more of an open forum for questions regarding Google’s vision of wireless.  I enjoyed the conversation and look forward to future forums at GW (IPID will be hosting more technology discussions).

Rick began the conversation with his thoughts about 700 MHz and why Google has an interest in the spectrum. He did not say whether or not they will bid.  However, it is very clear Google has a wireless gameplan.  Link Hoewing (Assistant VP for Internet & Technology, Verizon) was in the audience and he was able to add to the conversation.  Accordingly, he offered his perspectives on having a “managed” network at Verizon Wireless as opposed to the open wireless network that Google envisions.

With regard to future spectrum allocations, the FCC recently released an NPRM seeking comment on the different technological approaches for the AWS III spectrum (2155-2175 MHz).  Chairman Martin also would like to have service rules released for this block in 9 months.  I asked Rick about his thoughts on the AWS III band.  He mentioned that Google is evaluating the band and thinking about the best approach for the spectrum (licensed model or unlicensed model).

Google wants the mobile internet to start with a “g.”  In some instances, it already does.  Google will be a key player propelling wireless broadband in America.  They key question is how do they do it…

What do YOU think?

at&t and General and Policy and Spectrum and Verizon Wirelesschris on 01 Aug 2007 02:54 pm

The FCC voted and adopted a revised 700 MHz band plan and service rules yesterday.  There were really no surprises.  We knew Chairman Martin had the votes and we heard him justify his proposal last week in the House Commerce Committee.

With regard to the rules, I thought an interesting take-away from the meeting was majority concern with the Chairman mandating a reserve price on the spectrum auction.  As you may know, Martin has put a reserve price on the C-block spectrum of $4.6 billion and the whole auction at $10 billion.  Martin has taken this step to make sure that the auction brings the miniumum expected proceeds to the federal treasury (which Congress will use for deficit reduction and other initiatives).

Here’s what they said:  

Adelstein – “the reserve price and second auction requirements set out in this item leave open a real potential for gaming and may result in unintended consequences.”

Copps“the item now imposes reserve prices on each of the individual spectrum blocks, something without precedent in previous auctions and something, it seems to me, rather at odds with letting the market pick the auction block winners.”

McDowell- “with respect to auction reserve prices, I believe these are best left to market forces.”

Micro-managing competition is never a good idea.  Trying to satisfy one large company’s business model at the expense of other carriers (especially small rural carriers) is not in the public interest.  at&t and Verizon will survive the tailored 700 MHz rules – the small guys will sell.  The auction process is not perfect but it has proved to be better than any beauty contest the FCC has held.  Chairman Martin may have cooked up a recipe that nobody seems to be craving - only time will tell…

Dish disclosure – Our firm represents CTIA and the Wireless Broadband Coalition (at&t and Verizon Wireless are members) on spectrum issues.

General and Verizon WirelessAshley on 22 May 2007 01:56 pm

Last week, Verizon Wireless launched ESPN Mobile on its V Cast service, which will provide most of the features intended for ESPN’s failed MVNO run.  At virtually the same time, Qualcomm announced that it is planning to launch LifeComm, an MVNO that will be centered on healthcare and fitnesses functions and services.  This raises the question- what makes a content-based MVNO succesful?

There is a huge market for sports programming and entertainment- NFL Sunday Ticket and MLB’s Extra Innings offer some of the most valuable programming available today.  But content alone was not enough to translate demand for sports programming into demand for a sports-based wireless service, and ESPN Mobile was quickly dropped.

On the other hand, Amp’d Mobile and Helio having gotten off to a slow start, but are starting to better establish themselves, each having had an ARPU of over $100 in 2006.  While their consumer bases are still quite small, the combination of devices with unique features (like buddy tracking) and desireable content available on these operators are very appealing to those in the 18-24 demographic that can afford them. 

Personally, I think Qualcomm’s MVNO has potential.  Like Amp’d and Helio, LifeComm has more of an interactive ’lifestyle’ play than simply a content play, and combined with devices uniquely tailored for healthcare-related functions, it too could develop a small but loyal market, especially as Americans gradually become as comfortable with the concept of MVNO’s as many abroad have.

So, I pose the question, what do people think makes an MVNO stick, and what makes one flop?

Cingular and General and Spectrum and SprintNextel and T-Mobile and Verizon Wirelesschris on 03 May 2007 04:15 pm

The Wall Street Journal did a story today on T-mobile and their game plan for Wi-Fi.  As many wireless enthusiasts know, T-mobile has been rolling out Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country (most notable in Starbucks).  I enjoyed the article because it focused on the opportunities that are available to T-mobile and not the rhetoric about licensed spectrum versus unlicensed spectrum.

With regard to Wi-Fi, it has often been noted, that once deployed, this technology would be bad for the carriers.  The reason given - that minutes of use will disappear from the cellular network.  The argument would continue that other companies will enter the market and wireless carriers would be doomed…  Absolutely not!

This is a good development for consumers and spuring wireless broadband.  Connectivity for the consumer will be solid and the operator will be saving capacity!  About 60 percent of mobile calls made are fixed and indoors.  If I can offload traffic off the network, I can continue to grow my customer base without worrying about the network deteriorating.  I can also promote more data options.  This strategy also allows other opportunities for T-Mobile.  For instance, small to medium sized businesses (smbs) will be a sure target for T-mobile.

T-mobile is not the only company evolving.  As we know, Sprint will offer Wi-Max as their next generation strategy.  AT&T has more hotspots than T-mobile and spectrum in 2.3 GHz to deploy Wi-Max (if they want).  Verizon Wireless is pursuing FMC (Fixed Mobile Convergance).

Consumers don’t care how they access the internet (or how the call is enabled).  3G, Wi-Fi or Wi-Max are tools for the carriers to utilize.  Each carrier will choose how to incorporate a technology that works with their business plan.  In this new world of mobility and broadband networks the only sure thing - the consumer is in charge and has a computer in their hand…

Cingular and CTIA and General and Policy and Spectrum and SprintNextel and T-Mobile and Verizon Wirelesschris on 01 May 2007 11:00 am

Five years ago, the FCC considered eliminating the analog requirement on wireless carriers. At that point in time, I was at AT&T Wireless and we were advocating to policymakers and regulators to end the government mandate. FCC Chairman Michael Powell did not take action and AT&T Wireless was bought by Cingular the next year. Spectrum capacity problems were one of the reasons that AT&T Wireless put itself on sale.

USA Today recently did a story on the issue.  Accordingly, here’s five reasons to keep the sunset date on track (Feb 2008) and unshackle the wireless carriers: Continue Reading »

General and SprintNextel and Verizon Wirelesschris on 26 Apr 2007 01:26 pm

Verizon and Sprint have announced the launch of the 8830 Blackberry which has funtionality across the pond.  I think this is a fantastic development and great for consumers of these companies who will now have the opportunity to take their gadgets abroad.

Because GSM is the dominant standard overseas, you were out of luck with Verizon and Sprint because they utilize CDMA technology.  The playing field has been leveled because this blackberry is eqipped with CDMA/GSM functionality.  Although they will offer the same device, the plans they are offering are quite different with a key distinction being Sprint’s decision to unlock the handset overseas.  Once you switch sim cards for the local number you will enjoy cheaper (voice) rates but lose your data connection.



Apple and Cingular and General and Verizon Wirelesschris on 21 Apr 2007 10:30 am

Advertising Age reports that Marc Lefar, Cingular’s Chief Marketing Officer, has resigned.

Lefar successfully led the marketing efforts on integrating AT&T Wireless (into Cingular) and has kept the carriers’ perception in the same league as Verizon Wireless.

In any event, I have a few marketing thoughts for AT&T -

(1) Don’t fix it when it’s not broken -

The Cingular brand is powerful and the under-25 demographic has developed an attachment to it. The AT&T brand connects with a demographic that is not going to do much more than use voice and (maybe) text. Data ARPU growth and usage is critical for future wireless success. Developing loyalty with the under-25 demographic will be key to selling more services.

(2) Law of the Ladder –

One of the best marketing books is the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. One of the laws is this one. Basically, consumers see products as rungs on a ladder. Verizon Wireless has a solid network perception in the industry (a top rung). Cingular is a rung below but has made great progress over the years. What was AT&T Wireless’ network perception before it was bought — not good. I think that by going back to AT&T – “Mobility” or “Wireless” takes the brand back in time.

(3) Keep the Orange –

It is clear that the Cingular brand will be shelved. However, AT&T should incorporate some orange on its wireless venture. It has value!

With the iPhone set for release in June, Cingular has generated some incredible buzz for this product. Now is not the time to confuse consumers and junk a successful brand.

Cingular and General and SprintNextel and T-Mobile and Verizon Wirelesschris on 13 Apr 2007 04:06 pm

The wireless industry has been an active participant in recycling and protecting the environment.  However, you would never know it. 

After painfully searching, I did find that all four national carriers have some sort of FAQ sheet on recycling (Cingular, Sprint, T-mobile, Verizon Wireless).  I just can’t figure out why one of them has not embraced it to build a competitive advantage.

News Flash — Green is in….  Ask Honda and Toyota about what a green reputation can do for your business.  Ask Al Gore what it can do for your career.  Besides making an effort to be a good corporate citizen it can be a way to attract consumers.  Accordingly, there is a huge opportunity here for a carrier to be an industry leader. 

Earth Day is on the horizon.  It would be great time for a leader to emerge and derive all the benefits/value of green.

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