Verizon’s Acquisition of Fleetmatics. What does it mean to fleet owners and their fleet tracking?

On August 1, 2016, Verizon announced the impending acquisition of the world’s largest fleet tracking provider, Fleetmatics.  As you would expect, the 38,000+ Fleetmatics customers are probably questioning what this means for them going forward.

First, what does the Fleetmatics acquisition by Verizon mean for those Fleetmatics customers who are using devices on the AT&T cellular network?  We do not know for certain, but my conversations with several industry veterans (and my own speculation) leads me to believe that fleet owners and managers wishing to utilize the AT&T 3G cellular network or any other AT&T cellular network in the future will almost certainly have to choose a different fleet tracking provider.  Verizon’s network is very good and covers most of the United States.  However, it is not everywhere and there are certainly customers who require AT&T to ensure proper coverage for their vehicles and assets with GPS tracking.  Since Verizon and AT&T are the Coca-Cola and Pepsi of cellular carriers, it is highly unlikely that Fleetmatics will continue to support any devices on the AT&T network after a period of transition.  Again, we can only speculate.

Second, what will happen to my customer service with Fleetmatics once they transition to Verizon?  Who knows?  If you like your representative from Fleetmatics, you might find him or her missing or in a new role.  Who knows, maybe Verizon will improve Fleetmatics’ customer service.  Your guess is as good as mine.

Third, what if I have 2G devices with Fleetmatics, will I receive a free replacement?  We have heard differing reports here.  The most common is that a replacement of your device with a CDMA device powered by Verizon will require a contract extension.  Regardless, you have to get your 2G devices that are on the AT&T network replaced as soon as possible if you hope to have any chance of getting real time fleet tracking data from your vehicles.

Fourth, what if I am under contract with Fleetmatics?  Can I get out of it?  From what we hear, this is a tough road, but we have reports it is done.  All indications are that the Fleetmatics contract is tightly protected.  Once in, the walkaway is a challenge.  You can read a number of stories here:

Fortunately, if any of these issues give you pause as an existing or prospective customer, there are many other options for fleet tracking with no contracts, the flexibility of AT&T OR Verizon or T-Mobile and international support.