Sprint's 'whyPhone' and other vendor responses
Sprint Nextel launched a “whyPhone” campaign Tuesday to remind customers of the virtues of its wireless devices while questioning the merits of Apple’s iPhone.
Sprint doesn’t name its competitor in the campaign, which includes a whyPhone fact sheet posted on the Sprint Web site entitled “ ‘WhyPhone’ Raises Questions.”
“Sprint predicts that many customers won’t be interested in a why (pay-an-extra-400-hundred-dollars-or-more-phone) Phone,” the fact sheet reads, explaining that Sprint offers more than a dozen phones with music capabilities, and many are less than $100 with a two-year agreement.
The fact sheet includes nine other reasons not to buy an iPhone, such as “why (use-an-inferior-network) Phone,” while touting the Sprint Power Vision network, whose average download speeds start at 400Kbit/sec. The iPhone works exclusively with AT&T’s network.
Other reasons point to problems iPhone is expected to cause for access to corporate e-mail or iPhone’s need for an iTunes account through a computer.
Sprint spokesman Aaron Radelet, while scrupulously never mentioning the name “iPhone,” would not comment on market surveys showing that some Sprint customers and those of other carriers are expected to switch to AT&T and the iPhone.
Instead, Radelet said Sprint currently leads the industry in average revenue per user, noting that “any additional market awareness around a device is going to help us.”
He said Sprint has plenty of phones, and customers “do not need to wait in line to get them,” apparently referring to the lines already forming outside Apple stores, although the device won’t be for sale until 6 p.m. Friday local time.
Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Qwest Communications International have all taken a similar tactic, pointing to the virtues of their own devices and how the scramble for the iPhone will help every industry player indirectly because of wider interest in multifunction phones.
Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, recently said the iPhone puts the burden on AT&T and Apple to change the market, and not their competitors. Last month, Motorola Chairman and CEO Ed Zander said his company is ready for competition with the iPhone.
But M:Metrics in Seattle surveyed 11,000 wireless phone users in May and found about 8 percent of Sprint’s customers expressed a “high interest” in buying an iPhone, compared with 12 percent for T-Mobile and nearly 7 percent for Verizon Wireless.