Verizon Wireless Finally Buys Alltel Wireless!

Wow… Can you hear me now Chad?

Verizon Guy

Finally! There has been speculation for years about the merger between Verizon and Alltel! I use to work for both companies, first Alltel (they stole my identity to make Chad, see below!) then Verizon. I really like both of them. I love the wireless industry, the phones, the constant change, etc.

I lost track of him over the years, but there was this guy I worked with at Alltel, Jay Ortman. He was a great guy. He was my area manager or whatever and his office wasn’t far from my store. He would come in and I’d plug him for the latest and greatest news and we’d have talks about the speculation. He said it wasn’t going to happen because of the cost per acquisition per subscriber. I saw some numbers and I think Verizon is paying upwards for $2100 per subscriber, which is steep. The article had said that the Sprint-Nextel disaster, I mean merger was in the ballpark of $2400 per subscriber.

All in all I think this is great. Verizon has made some big announcements like the acceptance of open source, LTE migration, and now the Alltel merger. I can’t wait to see how they handle this merger and especially the open source move!

Chad vs. Corey
Chad from Alltel Wireless Corey Hammond

My picture quality isn’t the greatest, but notice the similarities? Even more, he has the same personality that I do and I worked there before they ever launched “Chad”. Some genius in marketing must have met me and liked me that much 😀

Why I Like T-Mobile and Sprint Together

So far, I’m not seeing a lot of love for a rumored Sprint and TMobile deal. Om Malik over at Gigaom says “Just say no…Now”. And thats pretty much the theme most bloggers are taking.

I think it could be a real powerful deal. Everyone knows Sprint really jacked up the Nextel deal. Walkie talkies are for children. On top of that, Thomas Edison had newer technology than iDEN! Push to talk is such a small part and niche of wireless. I think Sprint needs to take the technology and do something right with it. They launched these hybrid phones with cdma voice and data along with Nextel push to talk. The problem with that is, there are interference issues with the iDEN and cdma and the coverage area is restricting the phone to the 1800/1900 mhz network I think. This kills the service area. 1800/1900 mhz is a weaker signal than the 800 mhz network. Verizon and Alltel have a lot of 800 mhz I believe and thus eliminates these phones from roaming on those agreements. Action plan for Sprint: Drop the iDEN network completely.

Now, if Sprint sheds the troubled iDEN network but keeps the push to talk technology, they could be in a little better position.

Now enters TMobile! TMobile has a reputation for customer service and customer satisfaction. Sprint is probably the worst in the industry. I have worked with Alltel, Sprint, Att, Nextel, and Verizon. Sprint can take over 30 minutes to do an esn change(changing phones). 30 minutes?! What the heck are you doing for 30 minutes?! ESN changes should take no more than 5 minutes with system lag! I feel bad for Sprint customers because it takes this long to do everything and longer if you get an over seas call center! I think TMobile would help that DRAMATICALLY! Sprint could go from pissing every customer off to actually helping their customers!

Next big issue which I touched on with the Nextel problem is the network problem between Sprint and TMoblie. CDMA vs. GSM? Which one do you go with? Its a hard call. I’m a bigger fan of cdma in the US, especially with the roaming agreements Sprint has with carriers like Alltel and Verizon. Also, Sprint has an existing 3G network that TMobile currently lacks. TMobile can take their smaller than average GSM network and convert it to CDMA.

I know this isn’t the popular opinion but Sprint is hemoraging subscribers right now. They just wrote off more than they are worth! That is sick! Its like a mass exodus! I think TMobile has the financial backing and some other great assets that could help turn Sprint around into the carrier they could be. I mean, you have to admit, they have done some good things despite their recent track record!

Verizon Wireless and Chicken FCC Chairman

I like Verizon Wireless and its not just because I’m a former employee. I feel they make wise decisions when it comes to business. For example, next time you are at the mall…check for other people’s cell phones. You can always tell who is a Verizon Wireless customer…the majority of the time they are the cell phone users who can have either a case on their phone and use a headset. The reason why you can almost make this bet is because Verizon Wireless’ sales reps HAVE to sell accessories! Part of their quota structure is selling 3 accessories per phone that leaves the store or kiosk. Now, the accessories have great benefits, but from a company perspective, this is a GREAT move on their behalf. The accessories that Verizon Wireless gets, with the expensive branded packaging, probably cost them a few dollars, $4 maybe? They then turn around and sell those accessories for at least $20. That is a lot of profit just off of accessories.

But this isn’t about Verizon Wireless and what a great company they are in some regards. This is about their recent lawsuit against the FCC and their proposed 700mhz wireless spectrum auction. Let me just say…Kevin Martin is dumb. He looks like an idiot. He allows some open-access rules for the wireless auctions and now is changing his mind and back pedaling in his decision just because Verizon Wireless isn’t happy. Verizon Wireless barely said a thing while Google petitioned the FCC for the open-access rules. Now they are suing saying that these rules violated the US Constitution. Psh. Verizon Wireless has one of the most locked down networks in the world. Every single one of their handsets has special software! All of their basic phones has the Verizon Wireless UI and the PDA’s software is locked down to take away certain features like the obex bluetooth profile! Come on!

I will say that this could change in the future. Verizon Wireless and Vodafone announced recently that they both will be adopting the Long Term Evolution(LTE) technology which is similar to the current 3g UMTS networks that the GSM carriers have. LTE is a GSM technology which should allow customers to swap their sim cards into another handset.

We’ll see how it all pans out. I am excited for the spectrum auctions and to see who ponys up for it!

Standard Charging and Syncing Port for Cell Phones

I was working for Alltel Wireless a few years ago and I absolutely HATED Motorola. The Motorola v60s were a tank of a phone. I had a customer accidently put one through his snow blower, got chucked 10-20 feet, and was still working! There was one flaw with the Motorola cell phones…the charging port. It got so bad, that Motorola recalled a bunch of them and was replacing them with an upgraded phone, I think it was the old 720s. Not very durable, but it had a “redesigned” or “reinforced” charging/data port. During this time frame there was all this talk about Motorola changing the charging port but it didn’t come for years later when the mini usb port came out. Slowly but surely cell phone manufactures started “standardizing” their charging ports (Motorola, UT Starrcom, and Blackberry use similar mini usb chargers).

Now, with much happiness, the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMPT) agreed on a micro-usb standard for the charing ports of cell phones! I’m sure it will be awhile before this actually is implemented, but it will be interesting to see if any new or different cell phone accessories come out of it.

Apple To Enter The FCC Auctions?

My opinion…Apple wants to ride on Google’s coattails! Maybe they are a little addicted to fame? They saw Google get huge news over their proposal to the FCC and they got huge hype with the iPhone launch and can’t get enough of the blogsphere going crazy over them!

I think Google makes for an awesome bidder for the proposed wireless spectrum. They have the capital and the products to make for a great wireless company. Imagine devices such as the iPhone with the power of all the Google applications and tools with you at all times? Not only Google Search, but Google Maps, Froogle, and Google Local. These tools are getting more powerful with time and at a consumer’s finger tips on the go with an interface that integrates them efficiently? It sounds great! Local meets Froogle…consumers win in price, and so does the company offering the lowest price(if this were a perfect world).

Now lets take a look at what Apple has to offer. Devices. That pretty much sums it up. They have money, but I don’t know that media devices are going to do it. Plus, who wants to trust an Apple wireless company after they picked AT&T as the wireless carrier for the initial iPhone launch?!? Didn’t anyone watch David Pogue from the New York Times’ video IPhone: The Musical. Check it out, its great! The part that sums it up is right at 2:40! I laugh every time!

I can’t wait to see how the FCC wireless auctions turn out! Tech companies vs. Telecom companies! I hope Tech wins so we can see some revolutions in the wireless industry!