Heavy Reading Research

Survey Sez

5:55 PM -- MSA Research called today on behalf of The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research to get my opinions on four "wireless communications companies."

Though the survey taker wouldn't say so, the company backing the survey was apparently AT&T, given the slant of the questions.

Oddly, AT&T continually positioned itself against Verizon, Google, and Yahoo, as if those three companies were its largest competitive concerns in the wireless world. Verizon is, of course. But it's telling that AT&T cares so much about how it looks compared to Yahoo and Google, when those firms don't offer wireless services, don't currently sell handsets, and are really in the advertising business.

The old telcos apparently want to be treated as well, in terms of perception and public opinion, as Google and Yahoo. The survey questions on how the companies treat employees, how the executives treat the media, and the respective companies' philanthropic efforts revealed as much.

My answers, for the record, nearly all fell into the category of "I don't know" or giving everyone a "5" out of a possible "10." I simply didn't have the ability to answer most questions and didn't find it fair to compare the "quality of wireless services", for instance, of AT&T and Google.

The survey rep did ask about how I would rate executive access at AT&T. Well, I didn't know exactly how to answer that either. Don't you have to have access to a company's senior staff before you can comment on the experience? The responsiveness from AT&T PR is among the best in the business. But the reams of callbacks and emails rarely result in a face-to-face meeting with someone of stature.

Even Cisco let me talk to John Chambers at a cocktail party once. I'm sure it made everyone nervous as hell, but Chambers himself couldn't have been more at ease.

Perhaps at CTIA, or maybe NXTcomm, my AT&T business card collection will hit a new high. Either way, I wish the company well on Googling up its image.

– Phil Harvey, The Editor, Light Reading

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