Seems like Verizon is pushing potential customers into getting Android phones instead of iPhones. On the surface, this sounds great for Android. Verizon must love Android if they keep pushing it in favor of Apple’s handset. But the folks at CNNMoney have uncovered something interesting. It’s not that Verizon necessarily prefers Android. It’s that they need to push people into using their 4G LTE network and off of their heavily trafficked and clogged up 3G network.
Last year, Big Red started offering Double Data Deals for 4G users in an attempt to shift more users in that direction. Since the iPhone does not support 4G LTE and only runs on Verizon’s 3G network, and many iPhone users tend to not want to switch to Android, Verizon is seeing their 3G network usage remain relatively high.
CNNMoney reporter David Goldman decided to do a little experiment. He contacted 10 Verizon sales reps from around the New York area to ask about options for a new smartphone. In all 10 conversations, each Verizon rep steered him toward a 4G-capable Droid Razr Maxx, Droid Razr, or LG Lucid smartphone. When asked if those phones were better than the iPhone, the reps would state that they were because the iPhone would only run on their much slower 3G network. One rep said that “The iPhone is a great phone, but it’s on 3G. I’m not going to recommend a phone that’s outdated.”
Another rep had this to say:
“The only drawback to the iPhone is it doesn’t have 4G, and Verizon is really pushing 4G. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone is a great phone. It just costs the company a lot of money for returns when customers find out that a faster 4G network is available and the iPhone’s only on 3G.”
As a control to his test, David asked half of the reps he contacted that he wanted an iPhone. None of them tried to talk him out of it until he asked if there was a better phone available.
“If that’s what you want, absolutely we’ll order it,” one rep told him. “But my recommendation is 4G. I’d want the fastest, best technology that’s not going to be outdated when I buy it.”
When asked directly, Verizon spokesman Tom Pica said the following in a written statement:
“Our sales force’s mission is to ensure customers are familiar with our product line and to match the customer with the right device to best meet their needs. At the end of the day, our goal is that every customer is delighted with the device that they have chosen.“
The bottom line is that it seems like Verizon is trying to ease the congestion of their 3G network by pushing customers to their much speedier and roomier 4G LTE network. And the only way they can do that right now is by pushing their only 4G-enabled devices… which all happen to run Android. Let’s see what their tune is if the iPhone 5 is released with LTE support.