The Condorcet voting paradox, in voting theory, says that it’s possible to have (for example) three candidates A, S & V such that the voters collectively prefer A to S, S to V and V to A. It sounds impossible, but that’s why it’s called a paradox.
There seems to be something like that for cellphone service providers. Sprint is bad. AT&T is worse than Sprint. Verizon is worse than AT&T. And Sprint is worse than Verizon. Follow that?
Sprint has the worst coverage by far, though I use it because it happens to cover my house in the boonies. iPhone lovers hate AT&T, and many iPhone prospects won’t buy one until it show up on another network. So that leaves Verizon, right? Not so fast, says David Pogue.
… The more Verizon gouges, the worse it looks. Every single day, I get e-mail from people saying they’re switching at the first opportunity, or would if they could. In time, the only people who will stay with Verizon are people who have no coverage with any other carrier.
Every company’s dream, right? A base of miserable customers who stick with you only because they have no choice. …
Each provider is worse than all the others. That’s Condorcet’s paradox applied to cellphones. As Pogue asks,
Why wouldn’t it be a hugely profitable move to start pitching yourself as the GOOD cell company, the one that actually LIKES its customers?
That, of course, is crazy talk. Next thing you know he’ll be suggesting that there could be a GOOD airline company, and we’ll have to call the men in the white coats.