Verizon: Scrooge For B2C Marketers?

Verizon Wireless been in the news a lot recently. And it hasn’t been the most positive press. Here are a few recent incidents:

1. The Washington Post accused the carrier of installing a cell phone tower on behalf of Senator John McCain. (He was getting bad reception.)
2. News leaked about Verizon’s per-message fee on outgoing SMS, which would have increased the cost to send messages by as much as 300%! Just in time to score massive revenue from holiday marketing campaigns.
3. The cellular provider is currently being reviewed by the FCC to determine whether or not a proposed Verizon-Alltel merger will stifle competition. (They’d be bigger than AT&T; did the iPhone choose the wrong carrier?)

With the retail industry in a slump, mobile and text message marketing may prove to be a great way to boost business, especially if campaigns include coupons or other discounts to lure consumers into the shops. Verizon’s tentative rate hike, though, could’ve dampened mobile coupon campaigns for the grim-looking holiday season, as it had been scheduled to begin November 1. Fortunately, with buzz in the blogosphere with articles like this, Verizon retracted its plan, saying the proposal was just an idea and had ”been mistakenly characterized as a final decision to implement. That draft was intended to stimulate internal business discussions and in no way should have been released to the public and represented as a final document.”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the rate hike is completely off. Verizon admitted that “we recently notified text messaging aggregators… that we are exploring ways to offset significantly increased costs for delivering billions upon billions of text messages each month.”

But I thought text messages had relatively minute cost for carriers. Hmm, is Verizon trying to generate fast cash to cover the cost of its acquisition of Alltel?

Shaneli Ramratan, Director of Marketing, mobileStorm


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