Amp'd Gets The Buzz… But Is There Substance?

When it was first announced a few months back that some ex-Boost Mobile execs were stating a new youth-focused MVNO using Verizon Wireless’ EV-DO offering, we wondered if they would be able to get beyond being “just another MVNO.” In the last few months, however, they’ve shown themselves able to generate a ton of hype, which they hope translates into subscribers. The NY Times has a more detailed profile of the company’s plans — but they may raise a few more concerns. While the buzz generated by the company should help its marketing efforts, the strong focus on content over communications seems like the wrong strategy. While people do use their phones to consume content, it’s the secondary feature after communicating (or, creating your own content). Second, one of the interesting things about this deal was that it was set to use Verizon Wireless’ EV-DO network, bypassing the king of almost all MVNOs in the US, Sprint. In fact, this was the first major venture by Verizon Wireless into the MVNO market, and they’re already mucking it up. When asked about the relationship, a Verizon Wireless spokesperson pointed out that Verizon Wireless already offers a content service on its EV-DO offering called VCAST — effectively saying “yes, we plan to compete with our partner.” Being a mobile operator and running an MVNO means walking a fine line between supporting your partners and trying not to directly compete against them in their target markets. By coming out and saying specifically that they do compete and they’d prefer you focus on their offering rather than their partners, Verizon Wireless seems to be tripping all over that fine line — which makes you wonder how strong that relationship really will be.

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