Telecom Timeout

Jul 13 2009   4:49PM GMT

When Verizon’s copper and wireless collide

WPeterson William Peterson Profile: WPeterson

I hate to break out the old saw about the unstoppable force versus the immovable object, but it just seems too appropriate here. Verizon’s (landline) unions are pitching a fit at Verizon Wireless’ latest campaign in Massachusetts, which is urging customers to “cut the cord” by switching to an all-wireless plan, as the Boston Herald reports:

“The whole trend (for Verizon) is to dump anything to do with plain old phones,” said Paul Bouchard, a district representative for the Communications Workers of America.

Don Trementozzi, president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1400, disputed Verizon Wireless’ assertion that intended to target only non-Verizon customers.

“Even I got one of the fliers at home,” said Trementozzi, whose union represents about 1,000 Massachusetts Verizon workers. “The ad campaign is real crazy. It’s a big mistake.”

Verizon Wireless, which is 50% owned by Verizon with the other half being owned by Vodaphone, said mailers sent to cross-over customers (who have both Verizon Wireless and Verizon landline services) were accidental and limited, but the unions see something a bit more sinister: They note that Verizon is selling off their landline business in well over a dozen states, and that Verizon Wireless has many fewer unionized employees.

Don’t expect this battle to go away anytime soon, particularly as other players like Comcast and Time Warner get into the wireless game through Clearwire.

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