Verizon Wireless appeals to lawmakers, even newspapers

July 24, 2009

Verizon Wireless chief Lowell McAdam has been busy writing letters recently, mostly to U.S. lawmakers.

Yesterday’s missive had a similar intention, to explain how his company is really very warm and friendly toward consumers and competitors. The difference is its addressee — none other than Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times.

He did tear to shreds the newspaper’s opinion piece on phone companies. He accused the paper of relying on myths to make its point that regulators may want to take a look at phone company’s behavior.

But, for media-watchers at least, the good news is that he actually read a newspaper (an increasingly uncommon act) and decided the medium was important enough to reply with a good old fashioned letter to the publisher (an even more uncommon act).

Here’s a short precis of their battle of words:
NYTimes: Cites Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development to show American’s cellphone bills are higher than the average.

McAdam: Says American’s talk four times more on their cellphones than anybody Europe but their per minute cost is 10 cents cheaper on average.

NYTimes: Big U.S. operators are not afraid to use their sizeable power and are the only option in some markets.

McAdam: Cites former VP Al Gore calling wireless companies the most competitive in the globe. He says more than 94 pct have a choice of at least four operators

Interestingly, since the Times published its column on Wednesday morning, McAdam has written to US lawmakers to say he was willing to give some concessions on a fight about roaming agreements, addressing one element of the column.

(By the way, Verizon’s smaller rivals were unimpressed with the concessions, calling them “negligable.”)

Keep an eye on:

  • Bumpy ride. The tech sector’s road to recovery isn’t looking so smooth (Reuters).
  • At Comic-Con, 3-D glasses are a must (NY Times)
  • Back-to-school marketing discovers social networking (USA Today)

(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo:Reuters)

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