Smart Phone Launches: AT&T & Sprint Should Dial 911
When it comes to new product launches, the smart phone market is turning into a comedy of errors. Two recent examples: AT&T suffered a meltdown while trying to take iPhone 4 pre-orders this week, and Sprint stumbled badly during the recent HTC Evo 4G launch. It makes us wonder: What can small MSPs and VARs learn from big service providers that manage product launches so poorly? Here are some thoughts.
Let’s start with the wreckage. In case you missed it, the iPhone 4 went on pre-order June 15, 2010. The demand was so high, and the requests so voluminous, that it actually put a halt on AT&T’s servers. Apple actually issued a formal press-release apology to their customers. It stated, in part:
Yesterday Apple and its carrier partners took pre-orders for more than 600,000 of Apple’s new iPhone 4. It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions. Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock.
Meanwhile, some reports claim AT&T customers were incorrectly re-directed to other customers’ information pages during the pre-order process.
More Guilty Parties
But AT&T wasn’t the only company singing the New-Smartphone-Blues. Sprint has some issues with their HTC Evo 4G phone release. Network Depot’s Rich Forsen noted that on launch day…
I’m at the Sprint store picking up the HTC Evo 4G… and just as they are about to click submit—boom—the entire national system goes down. This is another example of a company not being prepared for the success of a platform…
With Verizon set to launch new Droid phones soon, we could soon see yet another huge tax on a provider’s network and resources.
There are two lingering questions here:
- How can service providers plan smoother product launches?
- What can VARs and MSPs learn from the high-profile service provider setbacks?
No doubt, the big service providers can do a much better job setting expectations. AT&T and Sprint know their respective network capacities. Should they work more closely with smart phone makers for more controlled rollouts, ensuring device sales never exceed network capacity? Hmmm…
Meanwhile, VARs and MSPs should focus on the “under promise, over deliver” business motto. Even if you’ve got a big project launch, don’t try to eat the entire elephant at once. Take small bites — one application, one customer department at a time.
But back to the story at hand: We’ll be watching closely to see if Verizon and Google handle the upcoming Droid launch more reliably than recent rival moves.