Verizon Wireless and Motorola announced the Droid smartphone yesterday with much hoopla. Neither company spared the competition, and Verizon took a direct shot at AT&T when it said, "We're not anticipating the network will take a hit on this."Verizon Wireless has taken its marketing and message to consumers down to the street level with its harsh "iDon't" ad campaign, which highlights the faults of the iPhone. Now, it is poking at its chief rival, AT&T, too.
Arvin Singh, VZW director of data sales for the Illinois-Wisconsin region, speaking to Telephony Magazine, said, "We're encouraging [the Droid and unlimited data plans.] We're anticipating the Droid will be a blockbuster, but we're not adding any new backhaul or new EV-DO carriers for the launch. We're not anticipating the network will take a hit on this." Them's fightin' words, for sure.
AT&T has been berated in the media for a long time over its network performance, especially with respect to the iPhone. It has gone so far as to re-arrange the way it uses its spectrum assets in some markets (New York, San Francisco, etc.) by switching its 3G network to the 850MHz spectrum it owns. AT&T's CEO Ralph de la Vega recently defended AT&T's network performance, stating that the company has seen demand for wireless data increase by 5,000%.
Singh expressed total confidence in the Verizon Wireless network, noting that its CDMA EVDO Rev. A technology can handle adding millions of data-hungry users.
While it's premature to predict what sort of increase in data Droid users will account for, you can be sure the number will be pretty big. Based on the more capable browser, I expect users will lean on it heavily to surf the Web. The slew of other services that come with the device, such as the new Google Maps Navigation app, rely on having a network connection, and will also boost data usage.
Considering all that it offers, the Droid should be a big seller for Motorola and Verizon. We'll have to be alert to any network issues that might occur and see how/if Verizon responds.