Verizon’s “can you hear me now?” ad campaign typifies the sorry state of the mobile phone industry.
Verizon’s implicit message is that they work and the other services will drop your call. To me it is crazy that mobile phone services are still trying to convince people that they can get reception. And it is crazy because in America, reception is far from good. Depending on your carrier, you’ll likely drop calls even driving down 280 from San Francisco to San Jose.
Ed Colligan, CEO of PalmOne, brought this to my attention the other day. You’d think that service is service. But it is not. People pick the service provider first and the type of phone and features second. This makes little sense in number portability where it is easy to change carriers. But people have an allegiance to a service that doesn’t drop their calls.
How many other mass-market industries that you imagine a slogan that essentially says “we work”?
Imagine a new Mercedes slogan — “do the brakes work now?”
Or .. “fly the friendly skies with United … we’ll actually get you to your destination.”
Or … “When someone uses FedEx to send you a package, you’ll actually get it.”
I’m looking forward to the day when mobile coverage is truly ubiquitous and voice is loss leader to sell other applications. Five years ago I would have said we’d definitely be there by today. Where will be five years from now?