Rumor: Verizon hiring call center workers for possible AT&T launch

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 25th, 2010, 17:21
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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If you’re fed up with your iPhone on AT&T’s network, you might just like this.

Per CNET, Verizon is reportedly hiring hundreds of call center staff through third-party hiring companies, adding to speculation that the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. is preparing to launch the iPhone.

Customer service call center staffing companies Teleperformance and Ryla are looking for thousands of customer service representatives to field calls for a “major wireless cell phone service retailer,” per the article. Posts to the Careerbuilder website as well as the companies’ own websites reveal that the positions will be dedicated to “either a wireless, cell phone, or communications company,” with additional positions offering technical support for “personal computers and portable devices like MP3 players and smartphones.”

One Teleperformance call center in Augusta, Georgia, will double its employees through the hiring campaign. “It is for a major wireless company that we have secured a new line of business, one of our existing clients,” Marcie Ballard, vice president of recruiting for Teleperformance, told the Augusta Chronicle, although she declined to say which provider.

Both companies have prior experience supporting Verizon. Teleperformance also works with Apple, in addition to Verizon Wireless and the other major cell phone carriers in the past, the report notes. Ryla has worked with Verizon for over 10 years, a source told CNET.

While the connection between a flurry of call center recruiting and a Verizon iPhone remains tenuous, the rumor was bolstered by Friday’s news that Verizon had lost more ground to rival AT&T than expected in the third quarter. Third-quarter earnings reports from Verizon and AT&T this week show that Verizon netted 584,000 new monthly-bill paying customers during the quarter, compared to AT&T’s 745,000 additions according to Reuters.

Verizon CFO John Killian told Reuters that Verizon expects to add 550,000 to 600,000 new monthly-bill paying customers in the fourth quarter, less than half of last years’ number. Killian also stressed the importance of converting standard users into smartphone users in order to increase revenue through sales of data plans.

Though Verizon Wireless still holds the No. 1 spot as the largest telecommunications network in the U.S. with 93.2 million subscribers as of October, AT&T is close to overtaking the provider with 92.8 million subscribers of its own.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple forecast to sell 700,000 MacBook Air units for holiday season

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Date: Monday, October 25th, 2010, 17:32
Category: MacBook Air, News

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Regarding the updated MacBook Air… Apple’s expected to sell a few of them.

Per DigiTimes, Apple’s new 11.6″ and 13.3″ MacBook Air notebooks have been forecast as selling 700,000 units in the holiday quarter, a Wall Street analyst anticipating gross margins of about 32%.

The research department of Concord Securities has reportedly predicted that the MacBook Air will account for 17% of an estimated 4.1 million Mac shipments this fall. In addition, Mingchi Kuo, vice president of the firm’s research department, believes the new, smaller model with an 11.6″ screen will account for 60% of MacBook Air sales.

Sales of 4.1 million Macs in the quarter would be yet another record for Apple. Just this week, the company revealed it sold 3.89 million Macs in the previous quarter, the best three-month frame for the company yet.

Apple’s Mac business was on display this week at the “Back to the Mac” event, where the new MacBook Airs with instant-on capabilities were unveiled. The notebooks start at US$999 for the 11.6″ model.

Analyst Brian Marshall of Gleacher & Company said in a note to investors this week that he believes Apple’s new MacBook Air models carry a gross margin profile of greater than 30%. If true, that would be greater than his estimated blended margins of more than 20% for the rest of Apple’s notebook line.

Marshall estimated that the blended gross margins for the new MacBook Air models will be 32.1%. He sees the low-end US$999 model with a total cost to Apple of US$718, while the high-end 13.3″ model with 256GB of storage retailing for US$1,599 likely costs Apple US$1,007.40 to produce.

That being said, you might want to put a new MacBook Air on reserve if at all possible…