Right now you must be feeling pretty good. You have a legendary brand name, the best marketing, the best devices, and soon you will have a magnet to attract people into your stores called the iPhone. Speaking of marketing, you seem to be everywhere. Last weekend while engaging in my usual ritual of watching sports on TV, I turned on a NASCAR race and I saw an AT&T car; I turned on the NBA finals, and it was being played at the AT&T Center.
You were smart to transition to a GSM network years ago. This is by far and away the most popular format in the world, which guarantees you the best selection of phones. You certainly get most of our beloved BlackBerry models first.
However, there’s one piece of the puzzle missing, which keeps you from totally dominating the U.S. wireless market.
That missing piece is quite simply the quality of your network. Certainly it’s not bad and in many areas is very adequate. But it’s not great PR, for instance, when David Pogue, the respected technology editor of the New York Times, mentions your network as a weak point in his otherwise impressive review of the new BlackBerry Curve.
For most of your history, no matter what your product, AT&T used to be synonymous with the highest quality. Today, in the U.S. wireless market you largely lack that reputation; that mantle belongs mostly to Verizon Wireless.
What you need to do is invest heavily in making your wireless infrastructure second to none. I realize this is an expensive and complex proposition, and indeed you may already be doing this. Consider just how much an advantage you would have if it were known for having the best service coverage, or at least equal to the best? AT&T could dominate the market in a slam dunk. No longer would Verizon outperform you each quarter, as more customers would move to AT&T for the better selection of equipment, as well as to escape having every feature crippled by the carrier.
So come on, AT&T. Give us a network worthy of those great BlackBerry devices you carry.