Verizon's Dunne jabs Sprint via Twitter ahead of starting new job

ronan dunne verizon

Verizon’s new president of its wireless business showed he isn’t afraid to mix it up with the competition on Twitter – and he isn’t even on the job yet.

Ronan Dunne, who last week was named executive vice president and group president of Verizon’s wireless division, responded to a tweet from Sprint jabbing the nation’s largest mobile carrier. “It’s 2016 & all networks are great,” Sprint’s official account tweeted in part Wednesday. “Y charge high rates of the past?”

“I think you mean all networks are great some of the time – only some networks are great all of the time,” Dunne responded several hours later. Dunne also used the same #FactsMatter hashtag Sprint had used.

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The small spat is unusual for high-level Verizon executives, who have generally avoided confrontation on social media. While T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure frequently take to Twitter to tweak other carriers, Verizon’s public relations personnel typically engage the competition on social media.

Dunne spent the last eight years as CEO of O2 UK, which is owned by Telefonica, and he is scheduled to start working at Verizon next month, reporting to John Stratton, executive vice president and president of operations.

The executive will join the largest U.S. mobile network operator as the carrier moves aggressively beyond its core wireless business to counter slowing growth in the U.S. smartphone market. Verizon recently agreed to buy Yahoo's core online business for $4.38 billion to expand its digital media business, and last week it announced plans to spend $2.4 billion to acquire Fleetmatics and step up its pursuit of the telematics market.

Dunne’s hiring signals Verizon’s desire to look beyond its current front office for new leadership during a major transitional period. And his jab at Sprint on Twitter underscores a feistiness rarely seen among high-ranking executives at Verizon.

"VZ executive pool conservative," William Ho of 556 Ventures tweeted on news of Dunne’s hiring last week. "Needed outsider with legit wireless ops knowledge & 'street fighter' competitive streak."

For more:
- check Ronan Dunne’s Twitter page

Related articles:
Verizon names former O2 UK CEO Dunne president of wireless
Verizon to buy Yahoo for $4.83B, doubling down on digital media and advertising
Verizon to acquire Fleetmatics for $2.4B to pursue telematics market

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