We discussed last week how Verizon took a body blow shot at Sprint by saying the highly anticipated Palm Pre will be on the Verizon Wireless network in six months or so. We read that as a less than subtle message towards consumers to just wait a while, avoid Sprint, and get your Pre fix at Verizon soon enough. Apparently, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse didn’t get that memo. In response to Verizon Wireless’ CEO Lowell McAdam’s assertion about pending Pre availability on Verizon, he tells CNET, “that’s not a true statement.” Watch the video below to hear it straight from his mouth. He went on to suggest that Sprint’s exclusivity for the Pre goes beyond six months.
The spat illustrates the importance of not only the Pre, but smartphones in general. I mean how often do you see high powered CEOs feuding publicly – that’s usually left to the VP level. Smartphones drive revenue growth, and more importantly, margin growth. No national wireless carrier can effectively compete without one or two smartphone hits. We all know about the phenomenal success of the iPhone. But both Verizon and T-Mobile have had success with their smartphone strategies as well. Both the Verizon Blackberry Storm and T-Mobile G1 have sold north of a million units. Sprint is depending on Pre to do the same for them. Absent that, Sprint will be in more trouble than they already are – if that’s possible.