Now, Verizon employees too steering people away from the iPhone

Now, Verizon employees too steering people away from the iPhone
A curious story is unfolding - the two biggest US carriers seem to have their employees discouraging users from buying the iPhone. First, we heard reports about AT&T employees actively pushing phones other than the iPhone to customers (AT&T replied officially calling such accusations “far-fetched.”)

And now, more and more people are joining in to point out that they’ve had similar experiences in Verizon Wireless stores. Employees there were quick to point out some of the downsides the iPhone have, but also make up some facts as that’s our only explanation for the following phrases:



That’s just some pieces of what blogger Jeff Stern heard when he visited a Verizon store. So why are employees driving people away from iPhones?

The most obvious answer would be commissions. It seems that iPhones sold don’t translate into any commissions for employees, while Android and possibly other devices sold would bring up a bigger paycheck. Another thing to consider on Verizon is that the carrier is actively pushing its 4G LTE network, and the iPhone happens to not be compatible with LTE yet as opposed to most Android phones.

Finally, Apple doesn’t allow carriers to pre-load their favorite bloatware on devices. Good for end-users, but not for the operators.

We’d love to hear from someone who works at Verizon and can give us some additional off-the-record info on this. Feel free to tip us with info or just join in the discussion below - why do carriers steer users away from the iPhone?

source: Jeff Stern via Daring Fireball

Related phones

iPhone 4s
  • Display 3.5 inches
    960 x 640 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    0.3 MP VGA front
  • Hardware Apple A5, 0.5GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB,
  • OS iOS 9.x

FEATURED VIDEO

92 Comments

92. wildcat80

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

To 5thamendment, thanks for the update. I got a Razr Maxx for the big battery and fast data. Please update your view after the iphone 5 is out. Thanks.

89. 5thamendment

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

I work for Verizon. Off the record, the profit factor is a small factor, mostly because Apple pretty close to robs us when it comes to how much they charge us for their phones vs most manufacturers despite the fact that their phones aren't any more expensive to build. Partly the 4G is a huge issue, payout for 4G phones is much better for employees. But those are secondary issues for most employees. The biggest thing is that we really don't think the iPhone is all that great. It's data speeds are 1/10 our Androids, it's screen is the smallest in our line up, it's processor is middle of the pack, it doesn't have turn by turn navigation built in and most of its apps cost money. If we were selling the iPhone 4S for $50 it would be a pretty good deal, but paying $200 for that phone rather than a Rezound or a Galaxy S III or a RAZR MAXX is just insane to most of us. In short, we don't push it because we genuinely believe that almost every other smartphone in our lineup beats it. Out of all my coworkers in my entire district, only one has an iPhone. We're just not fans. Sorry. I know most people want to jump on the earlier profit motive I mentioned, but honestly, we don't care that much about it, iPhones are easier to sell and still make good money, just not as good. If I pushed iPhones I would probably make up the difference just from quanity and the more expensive accessories. I mentioned that motive because it is there, but it really isn't a very strong one.

88. travaz

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 07, 2012

The I phone is getting stale. Same home screen same look. Upgrade or become the RIM of 2013. Someone might come out with something new and innovative and blow the Iphone out of the water. Dont laff it can happen.

87. robbe291

Posts: 6; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

The Infrastructure of LTE is much more manageable as far as costs go. The LTE towers have more bandwidth than the 3G towers, which offers the user a better experience and the carrier less problems of overload. The employees are not to steer the customers away from any devices, but inform the customers to make the right decision the first time. Many people buy what their friends tell them to buy or what they see everyone with. The reps are in place to make sure customers receive the best device for their needs. For instance if a customer has all "i" devices at home, they'd be the best candidates for an iPhone. Other than that, there's no need to go for an outdated product that's been out for almost three years (including 4S [basic add ons to the 4]). Once they buy an iPhone, they're usually going to be behind times for another two years unless they use someone's upgrade within their plan or purchase a new device at full price.

84. Techvue

Posts: 14; Member since: Jul 25, 2012

Actually, I know someone who was pushed an iPhone by a salesperson at Verizon, a few days later she returned it, because she did not like the way it worked. The Verizon salesperson insisted she did like it, and did not know what she was talking about. Eventually, she did get a new Android device.

83. amazinghorse

Posts: 38; Member since: Dec 14, 2009

Also, I strongly suspect that reps "brand" the iPhone display units (so to speak) and their colleagues are weary to touch them. I heard that the singer from Papa Roach used to add his own "special sauce" to the cottage cheese at the buffet style restaurant that he worked at in high school.

82. amazinghorse

Posts: 38; Member since: Dec 14, 2009

It all comes down to money for Verizon and the rep. The EVDO network cost 4 times the shiny new LTE job to maintain. VZW wants to shutter that bad mamma jamma as quick as quick. Also, iDevices carry the largest carrier subsidy so it is in VZW and AT&T's favor to sell them a little less. In an effort to sped this process along, corporate Verizon reps have better incentives to sell LTE products. iPhones get a lot of door swings for the carriers that sell them and an iPhone is still a good sell if you can get the accessories out the door with it. That is a little trickier do to the vast selection of CHEAP cool third party iCases. Feature phones make a rep die a little inside. It is sad that paleontologists decided to change the Brontosaurus' name to Apatosaurus.

91. 5thamendment

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

"Feature phones make a rep die a little inside." Death by feature phone has taken the lives of several of my coworkers this year. Thank you for drawing attention to our plight.

74. thedarkside

Posts: 654; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

this article is true. apple has a hold on how much sales associates can make off their phones. which in our store is ten dollars for a new or upgrade. android devices can be up into the 30-40 dollar range for a new act and over 20 for an upgrade. and even the lower end android phones are better than any current iphones.

72. iami67

Posts: 334; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Hey phone arena youve written this story several times it is getting old. You want answers from someone who works for Verizon I will help you since I do. The reason we "Push" people into anything other then apple is because apple is old out dated tech. We as reps are tired of people coming in and saying things like. ( Why doesnt my iphone i just purchased have 4g. Why does siri never understand me, why when ever i have a problem and call apple they want to charge me for simple questions. whose idea was it to make a double sided glass phone anyway that is crazy now i have to buy a $50 dollar case to protect a phone that is already over priced. This phone came out two years ago the one from a yr ago the S is no diferent is still 200 with contract thats crazy. ) (The most common: why doesnt my home button work anymore it still feels like its clicking but no response; Me saying: "Sorry customer let me show you an app that apple made for when you home button no longer works. yes apple knows about this and actually made an app to make a little dot on the side of you screen to be your new home button.) Thats just some of the complaints we get about apple daily. More of my favorite is whenever a customer comes in to buy something we always ask what makes you choose this device. we do this for everything even a basic samsung gusto phone. We do this so we can give the customer full disclosure and find the best product for them. We tell them the facts based on what they ask for. If the facts point them into a newer better technology phone then blame the facts for pushing them out of apple dont blame the reps. At verizon we get commision based on plans not phone we do not care what phone you get. However we do care that if you keep comming back with the same issue for the same devices we will tell you other people complaints so you can decide if you still want it. That way if you want it then you cant come tell me we didnt warn you. And last and my favorite. I always ask what makes you want an iphone. can anyone guess the top three answers (1: My friends told me to get one... (2: The commercial looked really cool (3: I saw a really cute Hello Kitty case i want to get for it. I kid you not these are the reasons people by iphones. Not because it is good product not because it is current tech and def not because it is durable. I challenge you phone arena to tell the reps why we should "Push" people into apple phones. And phone arena does Apple pay you to say things like this? Am i going to get banned for writing this or a nasty email now lol. And all the i-sheep think about what you about to troll before you respond youll only make yourself look silly. And yes I know the iphone 5 is going to be great and new and well maybe it will and maybe the iphone 5 will change my mind. As it is now the iphone 4s is horrible.

76. thedarkside

Posts: 654; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

i also work for verizon and ive gotten people better phones when they come in and ask for an iphone. its like why do you want a 3G only iphone when 4G phones are out and have way better speeds? well i want an iphone because.... uhhh... its an iphone? silly customers.

86. Victor.H

Posts: 1115; Member since: May 27, 2011

Aprreciate you joining the discussion iami67 and thanks for sharing your insight. I had a good laugh at those reasons why people would get the iPhone, but I think you're misinterpreting the meaning of the article - it's not to defend or bash Apple's device (after all, there is a market for everything and everyone), but rather to bring more awareness about why Verizon reps would often recommend Android devices. Thanks for your honest opinion.

70. dragonstkdgirl

Posts: 144; Member since: Apr 07, 2012

Another Verizon rep here. Retailer, not corporate, but I can give some good examples. The company doesn't tell us which product to push. The focus is to get the customer into the right device for them to keep chargebacks low and customer satisfaction high - plus then we don't have a bunch of returns that we then have to resell without a warranty for a discount. However, Apple does take enough of the profits from iPhone sales that the commissions paid out on the iPhone are paltry at best. The iPhone commission is more in line with a basic phone upgrade - whereas an Android upgrade pays easily three times as much. When a customer comes into my store asking for the iPhone, even if it's an easy sale, I ask them "Why iPhone?" If they come back with a halfway intelligent answer, like "My company does conference calls over Facetime and they want me to have an iPhone so I can join in.", then great. I will sell them an iPhone. But if they look at me with a confused expression (like 90% of the people I pose this question to), I'm definitely going to dig deeper. I try to qualify every customer by determining budget, likes or dislikes in regards to phone features, and what they want the phone to do. Video calling over the air instead of Wi-Fi? Android. Downloading free music? Android. Streaming HD video without constant buffering? 4g LTE Android. Not to mention, as sad as it is, as a general rule I find that the Android users tend to have more intelligent questions, be more informed about technology, etc. It was a running joke at another location I worked at, because we had a six foot tall, bright white iPhone display, and people would often ask where our iPhones were while standing three feet from it. Whereas a good portion of Android users can hold a conversation with me about customization options, LTE technology, and processor speeds. I personally carry a 4g Android (Droid Razr MAXX) because it is better for MY needs, and this is what I explain to customers. My Maxx has the following advantages for me: More free apps Free music downloads Free ringtones 4g LTE Doesn't require a computer/iTunes to update/sync/etc Syncs seamlessly with my Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs for work Extensive customization options (such as widgets, folders, and grouping apps in my main app menu) And the ability to actually SEE my background instead of having it be my menu as well. I'm OCD. I hate clutter. Bigger screen More durable phone Faster processor Smart Actions Expandable memory (I have a LOT of media) .....the list goes on. If I think a customer is going to be happier with an Android, then I will sell them an Android. It doesn't matter how much commission I make off a phone if the customer is going to come back and return it because they are unhappy with the product.

85. Victor.H

Posts: 1115; Member since: May 27, 2011

Awesome, dragonstkdgirl, appreciate your answer here! I was particularly curious about the commissions issue. I do know that reps get a lower commission on iPhones, but various stores seem to differ wildly on that - some reps (probably not in Verizon stores) say the difference is negligible and you point out it's three times lower than what you get off of an Android phone sale. That's one big difference. Thanks for breaking it all down and couldn't agree more that it all boils down to selling the right phone to the right person.

90. 5thamendment

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

Different retailers have different payouts from Verizon. They also discount on different rate. Most Android payouts are double, some triple, but once discounting, the higher accessory rate on iPhones and the greater ease of signing up the customer for device protection is counted in, the difference can be neglible. So it really depends on the location and the sales technique of the rep how different the payout winds up being.

66. saltydog15

Posts: 11; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

two reasons: 1. Money 2. the S3 does everything 4389523456892345789234 times better

65. MaxiZeus

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

Verizon has been doing this for monts already. That want their customers to ise their new LTE network. If the next Iphone has LTE they ill sell rm like crazy.

64. thebest

Posts: 231; Member since: Jul 08, 2012

actually, i always prefer unlocked phones, Unlocked mobile phones prove cheaper in the long run: No one does anything for anyone for free; this is true for mobile carriers as well. The main reason they offer you mobile phones at discounted rates is because by providing you a locked phone they get in a position where they can charge you heavier than normal tariffs.....personally, i love the iphone because it has better apps and apple supports it for years and i also like the galaxy nexus because google will support it for years and it will get quicker updates than any other android phone.....i am not an android or an apple fanboy because i believe that life is boring when you stick to a single brand......any phone is a better phone when its unlocked,whether its an iphone or an android phone or any other phone.........

63. wildcat80

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 02, 2012

I had the same experience at experience at a Verizon store in Virginia. The rep went to great lengths to extoll the virtues of the LTE network and all the advantages of the Droid Maxx and the Galaxy III. the comments were not necessarily negative about the iPhone, just the the LTE models were better. It's clear that Verizon is really pushing LTE phones due to their investment in the LTE network. I would guess that they will start pushing the new iPhone once it's LTE capable.

68. firelightx

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

I will take that wager. When the new iPhone comes out with LTE capability, walk into that store again. I would be willing to bet that the answer is the same. We use 4G as a major selling point against Apple because it works. Customers respond very much to advertising, and the only thing being advertised more than the iPhone is the 4G on each carrier. That makes it an easy talking point. When that selling point vanishes, we will find other ways.

81. iami67

Posts: 334; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Or willdcat you can take your approach from a more intelligent way and see the sales rep was doing his job properly by informing the customer about the newer more effiecent technology that will better serve you and let you keep more money in your pocket. wouldnt you be more upset if you got the more expnensive outdated phone then find out on your own. How many times do people go into stores and say well why didnt you tell me about this if you told me this i wouldnt made a diferent choice. the reason the rep tells you everything is something every verizon employee has to do or will be fired on the spot and that is call " full disclosure" we tell you everything about eveyrthing so you cant blame us for your mistake if you still think one is better then the other then buy it. it is us keeping you informed not talking you into a product.

62. ankrul2004

Posts: 16; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

Here is the answer as to why the carriers are trying to avoid selling the iPhone; cost. COA (cost of acquisition) is high on the iPhone.Carries have to subsidize more of the cost of the device and also for every 1$ it takes to deliver a unit of data thru existing 3G networks it takes only 8¢ to deliver it on 4G LTE. All about cost to the carriers.

58. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

old news, phonearena writer - but, it makes sense. Why sell an outdated 3G phone?

55. phonemasterexpert

Posts: 6; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

Has any one noticed where the Apple displays are in the stores? Yeah they sit all the way in the back corner of the store for a reason where as the Android phones and other FOCUSED iteams are out in the main area.

57. je2345

Posts: 63; Member since: May 05, 2009

Not my store. Its right up front when you walk in and has its own "area." Android devices may seem more focused as there are over 15 different android devices vs 2 iPhones.

54. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

I am not sure about other places but Verizon stores around in my area seem to lean more towards Android as well. I imagine this is because it is a major catalyst for the carrier but nonetheless, its not the main focus.

49. je2345

Posts: 63; Member since: May 05, 2009

Verizon doesn't tell us anything about which device to focus on. They may give Spiffs on a certain device and if it happens to be a good device and will fit the customer's needs then of course I'm going to push them more into that device over the iPhone or any other. Iphone pays crap so of course were not going to just push customer's to it unless they clearly state that they want simple and they are 70 years old. Our 4GLTE Android devices offer so many more features and give you more bang for your buck (customer's not just employees) so why would I suggest iPhone over a 4G phone? These articles are retarded.

48. Beholder88

Posts: 86; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

Duplicate post, sorry.

47. Beholder88

Posts: 86; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

I work in a call center and can't comment on what stores are doing, but I can assure you we have not been directed in such a manner. We don't get any kind of commission for selling phones, and I don't know how that works in stores when comparing Apple to non-Apple devices. Of course pushing 4G is a must, but qualifying a customer for the right kind of phone is also up there on the list. Some people call in asking for an iPhone, and when asked why, most of the time the response is something like "it just looks cool" or "my friend told me it's great and said I should get one". So many times people get one and they don't like it, simply because they went by looks or what someone else said. What we are attempting to do is make sure we get the RIGHT device into a customers' hands, not just what they think they want.

59. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

stores get commission, though - right?

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless