Parity can be a wonderful thing unless you’ve been king of the hill so long, you forgot how to compete head to head. That may very well be the case at Verizon. For years, the mobile provider’s service was head and shoulders above the competition … absolutely blew them out of the water. You’ve probably seen the commercials and the infamous map.
Well, times have changed. Coverage and capacity have been on the way up for the perennial numbers 3 and 4, Sprint and T-Mobile. Now, these carriers are able to boast statistics much closer to Verizon than in the past. That, along with lower rates and other campaigns have caused a lot of consumers to jump ship and give the competition a try.
This increased competition and parity led to Verizon Communications reporting a first-ever quarterly subscriber loss. Not even the vaunted unlimited data plan saved Verizon from losing customers this time around. A combination of better service from competitors and a perception of poor customer service at Verizon – a claim the company is said to be working to address – has created an ongoing problem for the company.
Wall Street is beginning to rumble about the need for Verizon to diversify. Yahoo, say the critics, isn’t enough to protect that shrinking margin. They need more, fresher business in different markets. Verizon would likely agree.
Everyone knew, from the first moment smartphones became a must-have consumer item, that there would be a tipping point. Somewhere along the way, people would stop buying the handsets in massive numbers. Everyone that was going to get one would have one, and then the real battle of brands would begin. Companies would begin trading customers, trying to compete on cost and incentives and service. For many, many years, Verizon had the unquestioned advantage where service was concerned. Those days, consumers say, are all but over.
Of course, that’s not Verizon’s only issue. As entertainment and communication technology changes, some companies are already saying the smartphone is on its way out. No one is predicting what might come next, but most people believe the status quo with mobile devices and carriers is going to change … and soon. Worse, the cable TV market is fading, which will hit Verizon in another previously unshakeable stream of income. Facing challenges on two fronts and stronger competition from rivals, Verizon has to step back and reassess. They’ve been the biggest gorilla for a lot of years now … but nothing is forever.
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