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Our phones don't work - Verizon boss

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If you're infuriated by your cellphone's lousy reception indoors, stop fretting. It's a feature, not a bug.

So says Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, who was interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle's Todd Wallack on Saturday.

"Why in the world would you think your (cell) phone would work in your house?" he said. "The customer has come to expect so much. They want it to work in the elevator; they want it to work in the basement."

Aren't these pesky customers a nuisance? Then again, if the cellphone carriers want to make headway into landline usage, they ought to provide some advantages over plain old copper. In Europe, the quality of cellphone reception is outstanding and often indistinguishable from a landline.

In the interview, Seidenberg also shares his thoughts on Wi-Fi, the Qwest bid, and regulation. But we suspect his throwaway line about cellphones will be remembered long after these great issues of the day have been forgotten.

It could be Verizon's Ratner moment. In 1991 Gerard Ratner, founder of the then ubiquitous chain of budget high street jewelry stores in the UK, was recorded at a private function confessing that his stores sold "total crap". Sales collapsed, Ratner was thrown off the board, and the chain was was renamed. ®

Bootnote: What Ratner said: "We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say "How can you sell this for such a low price?" I say, because it's total crap."

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