We’re now just three weeks away from the launch of the iPhone on Verizon’s network (or two weeks if you’re already a Verizon customer). There’s no question it’s going to be a massive seller. And we already knew that AT&T would attempt to do everything in their power to make sure that their customers don’t jump ship. But now it appears that they may have a partner in this perilous mission: Best Buy.
A document obtained by GearLive, which they say is confirmed as an internal Best Buy playbook, details how the company is instructing employees to deal with questions about the Verizon iPhone. Specifically, they’re to use the following argument:
Verizon’s entire presence at CES last week was focused on one thing and one thing alone: 4G. Its LTE network is now live in 38 markets and a flurry of 4G phones will launch in the coming months. But the iPhone… the smartphone millions of Verizon Wireless subscribers have been dying for… is a 3G device.
We knew Verizon’s iPhone 4 would be a CDMA phone for a number of reasons, but 3G is so 2010. Sprint launched its first 4G phone with minimal WiMAX coverage and it ended up being the fastest-selling phone in the carrier’s history. Now, we won’t see a 4G iPhone from Verizon until 2012. That means while millions of Android phones are surfing Verizon’s 4G airwaves later this year, iPhones will still be puttering along at EVDO speeds.
Post updated to remove a reference to FaceTime over 3G, which will not be available on Verizon’s iPhone 4.
What’s hilarious is that this excerpt was copied word-for-word from a Boy Genius Report article from January 11, entitled: Here’s where the Verizon iPhone falls short. Best Buy didn’t even bother to remove the post update. I hope BGR is getting consulting fees for setting Best Buy’s strategy.
So why is Best Buy trying to dissuade customers from the Verizon iPhone? Presumably because they won’t be carrying it at launch. Instead, they will carry the AT&T version of the device, so the aim is to apparently tout that instead. Makes perfect, if disingenuous, sense. The problem with the argument is that they’re saying Verizon itself touted their new 4G network throughout CES and the Verizon iPhone isn’t 4G — but neither is the AT&T iPhone. So perhaps Best Buy’s goal is to move more Android 4G devices? Their partner Apple must love that idea.
MacRumors has a bit more about AT&T’s Verizon iPhone defense as well:
We’ve similarly heard from AT&T employees, even those who are not involved in customer-facing positions, who have received “talking points” from the company about why the iPhone on AT&T is better than the Verizon iPhone. Among the key talking points being highlighted by AT&T: network speed (memo claims 35% faster than Verizon on average nationally), ability to talk and surf simultaneously (memo claims one-third of customers use it daily), global network coverage, and Wi-Fi hotspots.
The memo goes on to note that AT&T is proud to have partnered with Apple over the last three and a half years on a ground-breaking device and that it continues to be on “great terms” with Apple. Finally, AT&T points to the fact that two-thirds of its iPhone users were already AT&T customers to begin with, and 80% of iPhone subscribers are on family or business plans, which make it more difficult to switch carriers.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
All of this defense overlooks the fact that AT&T had over three years to be on offense and fix their damn network. Had they just done that, none of us would really care about the Verizon iPhone. No amount of spin is going to change that fact.