For decades in the wireless marketplace, there have been some bedrock realities that both consumers and companies could bank on. One: Verizon had the best … everything … except for price. AT&T was a distant second and those Other Guys? They were for folks who couldn’t get Verizon, for whatever reason.
No one much said these things, mind you, they just … were. That’s how dominant Verizon’s network and market position were. Remember, “can you hear me now?” Well, in what might be the biggest PR sign of the times in telecom history, that “Can You Hear Me” guy is working for another network, and Verizon is watching its stranglehold on the marketplace get broken loose like a hastily applied rear naked choke.
Both Sprint and T-Mobile are surging, AT&T is closing the gap, and customers, for the first time ever in this industry, have real, substantial competition for choice. They don’t have to settle. Now, it needs to be said, Verizon is still categorically “best” in signal and service, but that gap is becoming negotiable, if not negligible…and the Also-Rans are making the most of it. T-Mobile is playing Verizon’s game of maps and rolling balls, while Sprint drafted Glasses Guy.
The result of this shift toward parity? Verizon is slashing jobs in retail stores across the country. Competition is fiercer, and folks are opting for service and price over bars and connection. Another reason, more people are using WiFi as the primary reason for having a handset. More data, less actual “calling.”
A recent AP story claims Verizon has cut “thousands” of jobs, and while the company has refused to put a number on it, they have admitted to layoffs. Verizon spokeswoman Kim Ancin told the AP the estimate of “thousands” is “an exaggeration.”
Verizon says the job cuts are not due to competition, but, instead caused by a re-working of job roles behind the scenes. The role of inventory stocker and customer service specialist has been combined, and employees are being cross-trained. Consumers aren’t buying that, though. And the best money is on the idea that Verizon doesn’t see it that way either. For better or worse, the Other Guys have caught up with the industry titan. Should be interesting to see how Verizon shifts to a customer-service model to keep its decreasing lead.