As many people know, iPhone customers love their phones but hate the AT&T network. Oh, if only Verizon would swoop in and save the day! If this day turns out to be January 11, 2011, and soon AT&T customers begin flocking to Verizon, it’s safe to wonder whether Verizon’s network will actually be prepared to handle the increased digital traffic on its highway.
And, if there is a traffic jam… oh boy, watch out, ‘cuz AT&T’s gonna have a field day on this one. Think about it: AT&T has had the iPhone since 2007. Though it’s been bashed roundly for its spotty network coverage, the company has had nearly four years to iron out the network kinks. If a decent percentage of AT&T users flee to Verizon, presumably that will relieve some strain on the AT&T network. That’s got to make dedicated AT&T iPhone users happy about their newfound digital boon.
In turn, Verizon will have to hope and pray that its network doesn’t suffer the same growing pains that AT&T did. This is largely due to the eeeeeeenormous expectations on Verizon to deliver its perceived stronger network service to customers, including its new iPhone cohort. And it’s also due to the fact that Verizon has done next to nothing to dampen or explain those expectations in realistic terms.
So Verizon, if things don’t go well, what is your PR plan? How will you respond to any network sluggishness? More importantly, what will your marketing plan be when AT&T lampoons you for all the image problems it has already gone through?
This is the stuff that keeps PR pros up at night and should scare the Verizon C-suite straight into hammering out a strong iPhone crisis management public relations plan, if it hasn’t already.