‘Can You Hear Me Now?’ — Famous Verizon Guy Paul Marcarelli Switches To Sprint

Paul Marcarelli is the famous face behind the Verizon “Can You Hear Me Now?” commercials… except now he’s not. Paul debuted in a new commercial for Sprint on Monday and proclaimed that he had switched sides in the war over who is the nation’s best cellular service. In the video below, Marcarelli boldly proclaims his switch to Sprint and then brazenly criticizes his old company, Verizon.

Sprint’s new campaign featuring Paul Marcarelli isn’t subtle at all. In fact, he comes right out and puts Verizon on blast. “Hey, I’m Paul, and I used to ask if you could hear me now with Verizon,” says the actor. “Not anymore.”

Marcarelli says in the new ad that Sprint is within one percent of the reliability of rival networks AT&T and Verizon. The gist of the commercial is that Marcarelli is claiming to have switched sides because “it’s 2016 and all carriers are great” according to the longtime Verizon pitchman.

According to Paul Marcarelli, his reason for a switch to Sprint is based on the amount of money they claim customers can save over competing cellular services while still receiving decent enough service that it’s worth not spending the extra money. If the difference in service between the first, second, and third place carriers’ network sizes and drop rates are all relatively the same, why spend more for the service? Most people don’t actually talk on their smartphones anymore, anyway. As long as the text messaging works and users can get on the internet, that is a big draw for consumers, especially those who don’t want to pay for data overages.

According to Time, Verizon has responded to Sprint’s commercial that takes shots at the high cost of having a minimally better network. Verizon spokesperson Jeffrey Nelson said, “They’re using our 2002 pitchman because they’re finally catching up to where we were in 2002. Of course since then, we’ve spent billions of dollars — $11 billion last year alone — improving and expanding America’s best wireless network.”

Nelson took the opportunity to point out yet again Verizon’s strongest feature, their network. The “Can You Hear Me Now?” campaign that made Paul Marcarelli famous also touted the historically better network that Verizon offers their customers. They aren’t known for saving anyone a lot of money, but they are known for getting cellular coverage where other carriers cannot.

Intense rivalry is nothing new among the top cell phone companies. Verizon touts the top spot when it comes to carriers, and AT&T usually hovers in second place. T-Mobile took over the third place spot recently, according to Engadget, which may have prompted this campaign to prove that fourth place in a group of cellular giants is still pretty decent and the negligible difference in the quality of service makes them a better choice because the of the savings. Think of the savings.

In any case, Sprint’s coup to revive the “Can You Hear Me Now?” guy was borderline brilliant. Even if the guy was “so 2002” like Verizon said in their statement, he’s a pop culture icon, and he is known as the nerdy quality control guy in some of the most well-known Verizon commercials. The nerdy “Test Guy” repeated “Can You Hear Me Now?” from all corners of the Earth until 2010. Now that his contract with Verizon is up – and presumably his non-compete has expired as well – Marcarelli has moved over to Sprint, and now he wants people to know that it’s better to save a few dollars over having the most reliable network.

Were you shocked to see that Paul Marcarelli, famous for asking “Can You Hear Me Now” for Verizon for many years, has defected to Sprint? When looking for cell service, is value or reliability more important to you? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]