Verizon Wireless CEO throws jabs: Plans to offer Palm Pre (and its 'cousin'); Scoffs at AT&T's network upgrade

Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said Thursday his company hopes to offer the Palm Pre and talked up the carrier's upcoming phone lineup, which includes the latest BlackBerrys and Android powered phones. Meanwhile, McAdam panned AT&T's network upgrade.

Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said Thursday his company hopes to offer the Palm Pre and talked up the carrier's upcoming phone lineup, which includes the latest BlackBerrys and Android powered phones. Meanwhile, McAdam panned AT&T's network upgrade.  

McAdam, speaking at a Barclays Capital conference in New York, managed to ding his two biggest rivals---AT&T and Sprint Nextel. But the initial reports of McAdam's talk don't capture his bluster. He was running full steam ahead and seemed to relish jabbing at Verizon Wireless' rivals.

First up was Sprint Nextel, which is betting on the Pre to boost its subscriber growth and reduce churn. McAdam said that Verizon Wireless would aim to sell the Pre on its network. 

In addition, McAdam talked up Verizon Wireless' upcoming phones. McAdam confirmed that Verizon Wireless would sell the second generation of the BlackBerry Storm and the Tour, a hybrid of Research in Motion's Bold and Curve models. McAdam said:

"We're excited about our device pipeline. We'll offer a steady stream of devices from multiple vendors. Over the next six months or so you'll see devices like the Palm Pre and a cousin. You'll see a second generation Storm. You'll see the Tour as well. You'll see Motorola back in our portfolio. And yes You'll see Android devices as well. We've had some very good dialogue with Google and will be bringing Android devices in the near future."

As a Verizon Wireless customer I'm happy to hear that the carrier is stepping up on the device front. McAdam said Verizon Wireless' plan is to offer a broad portfolio of devices and not rely on "any one hero device" in a reference to the iPhone. 

Meanwhile, McAdam took a shot at AT&T's network upgrade as too little too late. He said that AT&T's "ceiling for their network will be the floor for our network." McAdam called AT&T's announcement on its network upgrade old news---about a year old. He also noted AT&T's promises to upgrade speed are spin. 

Speaking about Verizon Wireless' network, which will be built on LTE and 700Mhz spectrum. "No other carrier will be able to match our speeds. It's a matter of physics. You can't spin this," said McAdam. In many respects, Verizon Wireless is trying to do with 4G what it did with its FiOS fiber optic service: Create a leapfrog.

 

When Verizon Wireless completes its 4G rollout, McAdam said that the company will be the first choice for developers and device makers. 

Among the other key points:

  • "Growth in the future will be measured on number of connections not subscribers," said McAdam. He argued that multiple touch points to the customer will drive revenue in the future. He touted Verizon Wireless' LTE rollout as one way to drive those connections between people and machines. 

McAdam illustrated these connections with a health care example.

  • McAdam said Verizon Wireless will continue on post-paid retail customers. The company prefers the economics relative to the pre-paid market. He also pooh-poohed all you can eat data plans. McAdam said other carriers are offering various plans because they're effectively saying, "We'll give you all you can eat because we're going to drop a lot of your calls."