Sprint Poaches Verizon Pitchman to Help Educate Consumers on Negligible Network Differences

by Matt Klassen on June 7, 2016

https---blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com-uploads-card-image-107488-paulstill1Just after the turn of the millennia, as the world became more aware of the potential of wireless network technology, one particular phrase seemed to embody our entire mobile awakening. “Can you hear me now?” It was the pitch of Verizon’s enormously effective marketing campaign, which ran from 2002 to 2010, and featured the “Test Man,” played by actor Paul Marcarelli, who repeatedly “educated” us on the unparalleled nationwide reach of Verizon’s network.

But now it seems like Big Red’s former pitchman just isn’t satisfied with paying more for Verizon’s network, as Marcarelli has turned his back on the Verizon team in favour of rival Sprint, appearing in the company’s first advertising campaign this past weekend during the NBA finals.

“I used to ask if you ‘can hear me now’ with Verizon. Not anymore,” Marcarelli says in his first Sprint commercial. “I’m with Sprint now, because guess what? It’s 2016 and every network is great. In fact Sprint’s reliability is now within 1% of Verizon and Sprint saves you 50% over Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile’s rates.”

“Can you hear that?” Marcarelli adds.

As you likely noticed, the advertising campaign makes no bones about the fact that Verizon’s network is actually better than Sprint’s, both in reliability and reach, but the point Marcarelli’s new former Verizon customer character makes is, how much are you willing to pay for the difference?

“We’ve made tremendous advancements in our network during the past year, and Sprint’s network reliability is now within 1% difference of Verizon,” Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said. “Within 1%. We don’t expect our customers would even notice such an insignificant difference. And Sprint will save customers who switch 50% on most national carrier rate plans. So Verizon customers can switch to Sprint, experience network reliability on par with Verizon and save money on their wireless service each month. Using Paul in our advertising demonstrates loud and clear that it’s a new day in wireless.”

As one might expect, Verizon has taken the opportunity to poke fun at both Sprint’s use of Verizon’s former pitchman, and the fact its network still lags behind Big Red in overall network performance.

“Sprint is using our 2002 pitchman because their network is finally catching up to our 2002 network quality,” Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said, noting that Verizon is the “most awarded wireless network ever.”

While network reliability, that is your network working the way you think it should, is an important metric for any network, it’s far from the only measure of overall network quality. In fact, when you talk about a 1% difference in network reliability, what you’re really talking about is but one network measure offered by one network analysis study.

For instance, in this year’s Root Metrics study, considered by many to be the gold standard of determining network quality, Sprint still scored significant behind Verizon and AT&T in all major categories, although when compared to Sprint’s own scores from previous years, there’s no doubt the carrier is making huge leaps and bounds. The reliability score that Claure is referencing came from a recent Nielsen study, which found almost no different in the reliability scores between Sprint and Verizon’s respective networks.

But with that in mind, as all major nationwide wireless networks continue to improve, the truth is that the differences between them are becoming increasingly negligible. Given Sprint’s unquestioned affordability when compared to Verizon, perhaps slightly downgrading one’s network in order to save significant cash is a choice people will increasingly be willing to make.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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