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AT&T is suing to try to take down Verizon's attack commercials, including the new, holiday-themed "Island of Misfit Toys" spot.  (Source: Verizon Wireless)
AT&T's complaint against Verizon now includes new ads, seeks immediate restraining order

When Verizon aired its "There's a Map for That" series of commercials poking fun at AT&T's 3G coverage, featuring lines like "if you want to know why some people have spotty 3G coverage, there's a map for that too", it seemed only a matter of time before AT&T would sue to try to take them down.  Sure enough, just under a week ago AT&T filed suit against Verizon in New York Federal Court, claiming the ads misrepresented its coverage.

Verizon defended its ads, pointing to studies showing AT&T's 3G coverage to being lacking -- such as Apple's admission that 30 percent dropped call rates in New York (on AT&T) were normal.  However, it quietly made some changes and began airing a new set of Christmas-themed commercials that didn't include the play on Apple's "There's an app for that" slogan.  It also added a small disclaimer, stating "voice & data services available outside 3G coverage areas."

However, that apparently wasn't good enough for AT&T which has reportedly returned to court, looking to expand its suit to a request for a complete restraining order both on the older commercials and the new ones.  According to AT&T its internal survey showed 53 percent of viewers believed the advertisements' gaps in AT&T's map to be complete gaps in coverage not just gaps in 3G coverage.

In the new complaint (PDF) AT&T accuses, "Verizon is running a series of advertisements which falsely communicate that AT&T does not have wireless data coverage throughout much of the United States. […] Contrary to the image presented in the Verizon ads, our wireless network is pervasive. It covers over 300 million people, or 97 percent of the U.S. population. Our fastest, or 3G, network covers approximately 233 million people, or 75 percent of the U.S. population."

AT&T does admit its competitor has a larger network which "covers approximately 284 million people, or 91% of the population", but it says the commercial is dishonest, because "Verizon knows that its use of AT&T coverage maps is misleading because according to the coverage map legend on Verizon's, T-Mobile's, and Sprint's websites, the geographic spaces colored 'white' or left 'blank' on their maps represents areas in which there is no wireless coverage whatsoever."

The complaint itself dives into details of Verizon's cartoony "Island of Misfit Toys" ad, leading for some of the most amusing language you've read in a formal legal document.  Writes AT&T's lawyers in one passage, "The spotted elephant, in a surprised manner, asks the iPhone "What are you doing here? You can download apps and browse the web!" and a Dolly for Sue asserts that "Yeah. People will love you [the iPhone]."

AT&T is seeking "injunctive relief and damages" and begs the Federal Court to "immediately temporarily restrain, and preliminarily and permanently enjoin Verizon from running" its various ads and "from falsely advertising that AT&T customers cannot communicate or use their wireless devices when they are not in a '3G' coverage area."

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Too bad for AT&T
By amanojaku on 11/13/2009 8:41:32 AM , Rating: 5
The NY Federal Court is too busy laughing to respond.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By FITCamaro on 11/13/2009 9:22:39 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah its an awesome commercial. AT&T can go suck it. Its not Verizon's fault that their network sucks.

AT&T, do you need some cheese to go with your whine.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By Bender 123 on 11/13/2009 1:52:41 PM , Rating: 2
No kidding...I love that the new documents in their argument tout that GPRS covers the same amount of area...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! GPRS? Thats funny with an iPhone.

The other point I love is that they cover 95% of the population with their coverage, but as everyone knows, nobody ever drives out of the city or lives in a rural area. Thats why my family is Sprint or Verizon...If I am paying for 3G coverage, then I want it everywhere I go.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By Master Kenobi on 11/13/2009 9:28:12 AM , Rating: 2
That commercial is EPIC. Best one I've seen in a while.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By protosv on 11/13/2009 9:38:02 AM , Rating: 3
What I don't understand is that when comparing the two 3G coverage maps, the voice-over says "with 5x more 3G coverage than AT&T...". That language seems pretty clear to me, and I can't see how you'd mistake that for basic cell phone reception.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By Master Kenobi on 11/13/2009 9:41:40 AM , Rating: 3
My line of thinking is that people are unable to recognize that 3G coverage is different from regular coverage. Given all the hype around 3G, people might think it is required for service.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By bhieb on 11/13/2009 9:58:31 AM , Rating: 5
Agreed, but that is not Verizon's fault. Advertising has always leveraged idiocy to be effective.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By nidomus on 11/13/2009 10:48:08 AM , Rating: 4
True. I'm in charge of the cellphones at the company I work for, and frankly I'm getting fed up with sprint. I've been looking into Verizon and when talking to one of our truck drivers, they said something to the effect of: That verizon commercial with the blue and red maps shows how much better cellular coverage Verizon has. I then spent 10 minutes explaining what the commercial actually meant.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By 67STANG on 11/13/2009 12:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot to mention this fact: " The truth hurts "

I'm personally content with my iPhone, but would be elated with it if it were on Verizon's network. AT&T's coverage blows. Hard. Even when the 3G has 5 bars (usually I have 1 or 2 bars), it's still slower than a Palm Pre when surfing the net. Explain that AT&T.... with your "nations fastest 3G network"... Verizon should file suit against you for that claim-- at least that one is valid.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By zerocool84 on 11/13/2009 3:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't a personal attack on you but I just think it's retarded that people want the iPhone so much that they don't care what network it's on no matter how bad the network is. No phone, no matter how good is no use when the network is as bad as AT&T's. Especially what you guys pay for the plans.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By Sazar on 11/13/2009 6:12:10 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, the iphone is pretty awesome. Well, for pretty much everything except making phone calls. As a phone, it's pretty rubbish. As a multi-function device that occasionally can be used to make calls, its pretty solid.

The next iteration, if it has multi-tasking built in for all items, instead of just the ipod app, would be neat :)

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By Oregonian2 on 11/13/2009 7:37:12 PM , Rating: 2
Or just switch to the Droid that already multi-tasks using Android 2.0

Friend (and her husband) both got one within the last week or so and both love it. I got a quick demo from her and played with it for a little while. I was impressed as well.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By Truthseeker79 on 11/18/2009 9:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
Comparing Motorola with Apple is like comparing Ford with Mercedez. If Motorola had capabelity to make something good. They might not be rapping up business all over the world. Its only a matter of time when people will know what shortcomings droid has. iPhone is still the best fun phone out there.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By seamonkey79 on 11/25/2009 9:16:58 PM , Rating: 2
...except when someone wants to use it as a... phone...

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By rudy on 11/14/2009 12:23:15 AM , Rating: 2
My line of thinking is that much like apple, ATT just goes to court to try to stop effective advertising or to cover up a deficiency. Apple did the same thing with M$ and the PC hunter ads. It is kind of stupid, usually a company will just voluntarily give up rather then screw around in court for years.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By mattclary on 11/23/2009 4:12:59 PM , Rating: 2
And I am sure AT&T had a hand in building that perception. It's a two edged sword.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By tayb on 11/13/2009 11:11:38 AM , Rating: 2
On top of that the commercial pretty clearly states,

"Comparison based on square miles covered with 3G. Voice & Data services available outside of 3G coverage area."

How much clearer can they possibly make it? AT&T has nothing.

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By DotNetGuru on 11/13/2009 4:20:43 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. It must be too much to expect people to actually read something. ATT = fail

RE: Too bad for AT&T
By callmeroy on 11/13/2009 11:12:55 AM , Rating: 2
I'm an AT&T customer (by default of them buying cingular years back)...I'm sure its just where I live, but have no issue with AT&T's network ... always clear, never drops...I only use the data features "lightly" but 3g speeds seem fine to me.

Regardless of my experience I know they must suck elsewhere and if it takes some "national humilation" from Verizon to push them to improve their network.....well so be it!

Isn't that what competition is "supposed" to do -- keep all companies pushing to offer better service?

Useless Data
By Denigrate on 11/13/2009 8:45:17 AM , Rating: 5
According to AT&T its internal survey showed 53 percent of viewers believed the advertisements' gaps in AT&T's map to be complete gaps in coverage not just gaps in 3G coverage.

So aproximately the % of the population that is of below average intelligence thinks that ATT has no coverage in the white areas? What a shocker. Those same people think that CNN, ABC, CBS, FoxNews, etc are actually news outlets when they are in fact 99% opinion.

RE: Useless Data
By borismkv on 11/13/2009 9:07:43 AM , Rating: 2
Well, they also seem to be the same type of people that buy exclusively apple products, so I guess there is a problem...

RE: Useless Data
By tayb on 11/13/2009 11:19:51 AM , Rating: 2
Right, because people who buy Apple products are the clueless ones? Right?

Someone who would jump to that kind of conclusion seems pretty clueless to me though.

By bradmshannon on 11/13/2009 8:33:18 AM , Rating: 3
I just saw this commercial (again) and I love it. Cracks me up and reminds me of one of my favorite movies from my childhood.

RE: Awesome
By molgenit on 11/13/2009 8:39:37 AM , Rating: 2
Haven't seen that one yet but the other one says 3G coverage multiple times during the commercial. The map on their site also clearly says 3G, although I have not looked at it before so it could have been changed.

RE: Awesome
By LRonaldHubbs on 11/13/2009 8:50:27 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. That commercial is perfect.

Arnold Schwarzenegger says
By tayb on 11/13/09, Rating: 0
RE: Arnold Schwarzenegger says
By bbomb on 11/13/2009 11:21:15 AM , Rating: 1
AT&T's issues is that Verizon calls ALL of its speeds 3g whereas for AT&T's data they don't. AT&T's EDGE network is actually considered 3G by the ITU. Verizon won't include EDGE coverage as 3G in the maps however it will consider EVDO as 3G for its own map. Thats misleading and false advertising.

RE: Arnold Schwarzenegger says
By tayb on 11/13/2009 11:37:06 AM , Rating: 3
No, actually, ITU does not consider Edge to be a 3G network.

Edge and EVDO are both considered part of the "3g standard" but only EVDO can actually be considered 3g. Edge is 2.75.

It's not false advertising.

RE: Arnold Schwarzenegger says
By mentorman on 11/13/2009 12:53:35 PM , Rating: 1
It is false advertising. The article you posted says:

IMT-2000 “Evolutionary” 3G standards
There are essentially two widely deployed “evolutionary” IMT-2000 standards:
- for evolution from the 2G CDMA standard IS-95 (cdmaOne) –IMT-MC (cdma2000)
- for evolution from 2G TDMA standards (GSM/IS-136) – IMT-SC (EDGE)
Note that IS-136 can also evolve to IMT-MC since it has the same core network (IS-41).

So edge (despite the wishes of the CDMA crowd) is 3G and Verizon is completely wrong and it knows it.

It is hoping that the minor stir because some large metropolitan areas have problems with the large numbers of iPhones out there will translate into extra sales. As has been already reported, the droid did 1/10 of the sales of the iPhone on its first weekend and is probably not going out to be the iPhone killer that was expected (don't get me wrong it is a great phone).

Disclaimer: I do not have either an iPhone or a Droid but I am on AT&T with HDSPA everywhere I go.

RE: Arnold Schwarzenegger says
By tayb on 11/13/2009 2:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, major reading fail.

" Many industry organizations only consider part of the IMT-2000 family of 3G standards as actual 3G technologies, in particular IMT-SC (EDGE) is excluded from most 3G mobile statistics. This is particularly unfortunate because IMT-SC is the “evolutionary” option for the vast installed GSM (2G) base and therefore will almost certainly become the dominant 3G component in the near future. IMT-SC is typically excluded because many within the industry view CDMA as the only 3G wireless technology."

So, again, it's not false advertising.

So . . .
By Denigrate on 11/13/2009 8:42:24 AM , Rating: 2
Is it Verizon's fault that ATT sucks?

RE: So . . .
By bradmshannon on 11/13/2009 8:46:49 AM , Rating: 2
By relative terms or in general?

RE: So . . .
By teng029 on 11/13/2009 11:02:18 AM , Rating: 2
exactly. here's a thought, if it's bothering at&t so much, why don't they make improvements to their craptastic 3G coverage? While they're at it, they can stand some improvement on the customer service end as well.

the nation's fastest 3G coverage my ass!!

By eyebeeemmpawn on 11/13/2009 9:22:43 AM , Rating: 5
Too bad AT&T decided to just try to sue their way out of the situation. The ads are pretty clear, not misleading at all. Why not save your legal fees to upgrade your 3G network instead? Seems like that would be a better use of funds.

No issue from AT&T with me
By BuffDaddySmurf on 11/13/2009 11:45:23 AM , Rating: 1
Im not sure whats up with all this fanboy crap.
Over the past 10 years, I've been with all 4 major carries. Of all of them, AT&T ( which I switched from Verizon in 2008) has been the best for me (I'm in Texas). No dropped calls, 3G covereage everywhere I travel(All of Texas, Louisiana and California including San Francisco. Super fast internet speeds. Not sure why all the fanboys can't just give up all this "my crap is better then your crap". Its like Republicans/Democrats and PS3/XBox fanboys. Grow up people. Just use what makes you happy and shut up already.

RE: No issue from AT&T with me
By Topweasel on 11/13/2009 12:07:46 PM , Rating: 2
It's not necessarily Fan-boy crap. I have a first week Xbox360 that still has not had a single problem. I am not going to turn around and call everyone going off about 360 reliability issues as fan-boys.

AT&T a lackluster 3g network. Even admitted by them. Worse that the numbers themselves are misleading because the real estate that their 3g coverage hits is very very low compared to Verizon. Worse their 2g network has been buggy since they rolled it out. Having good luck with the network yourself doesn't remove the many legitimate issues other people are having.

RE: No issue from AT&T with me
By Sazar on 11/13/2009 6:16:38 PM , Rating: 2
You do not have 3G coverage everywhere you travel in Texas.

I drop from 3G to Edge travelling from Austin to Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. 290, I-35 and I-10 do NOT have 3G across their whole length. At least not in my real-world experience.

The internet speeds are also incredibly variable and I have pandora start seizing up on me on many road-trips within the major cities in Texas.

I am not sure if you just happen to travel within the cities, but you travel a few miles out of most of the main cities in Texas and you drop to Edge.

As far as phone calls and quality, it has been dropping like a rock. I drop almost 3 times as many calls now than I did when I first got my phone. I am not sure if it is related to the new 3.0.x updates or AT&T though.

And yes, I still have a lot of love my 3G phone. I am just not blinded by the glow of it's supposed halo :)

AT&T and Apple are one in the same....
By Ristogod on 11/13/2009 9:28:16 AM , Rating: 2
Like Apple, anyone speaking the truth against them, when it doesn't suite their needs, they sue. AT&T is a perfect fit for that iPhone junk. I'm not sure why people like that phone. There are such better choices on much better networks.

By Jalek on 11/13/2009 3:43:32 PM , Rating: 2
It's an iPod with some basic phone and text capabilities and probably a few convenience apps people use regularly as well.

Interesting stats, but...
By Tanclearas on 11/13/2009 9:51:44 AM , Rating: 3
Contrary to the image presented in the Verizon ads, our wireless network is pervasive. It covers over 300 million people, or 97 percent of the U.S. population. Our fastest, or 3G, network covers approximately 233 million people, or 75 percent of the U.S. population.

I'm sure they are determining their coverage percentages based upon "home addresses". It's a mobile phone.

If you travel between big towns/cities regularly, you want coverage there too (at the very least you want it along major highways), because that's where you're going to be spending most of your travel time.

The lawsuit
By Pythias on 11/13/2009 9:33:11 AM , Rating: 2
Its all gonna come down to who contributed the most money to the right political campaigns.

It's so true!
By bigboxes on 11/13/2009 10:22:44 AM , Rating: 2
My buddy has AT&T and he lives close to a tower (with full 3G coverage) and he's constantly getting poor quality. I'm on Sprint and can hear him loud and clear (as are all my calls). He switched his family from Verizon to AT&T just so he and his wife can get iPhones. LOL... I told him to do his research first, but he listened to his in-laws! Gets dropped calls all the time. I can always tell when someone is on AT&T. They don't even need to tell you.

Common Knowledge
By btc909 on 11/13/2009 10:55:54 AM , Rating: 2
So when a wireless cell carrier says "covers ??% of people" that tells me we have 3G service only where large groupings of people are residing. So if you don't have a large number of people in a particular area, you don't have coverage.
This refers to any cell carrier. What is the percentage of coverage across the land mass, not the people mass.

AT&T, it's common knowledge the 3G coverage is either slow, non-existant or your stuck running at Edge speeds. "If you want coverage everywhere get Verizon".

Kudos on the commerical, it's one of the few Christmas commericals i've even seen this season.

AT&T Coverage
By Devo2007 on 11/13/2009 10:56:00 AM , Rating: 2
I just looked at a coverage map on AT&T's own website, and it appears Verizon's commercial is somewhat accurate in terms of 3G coverage: (Zoom in a small bit and you'll see the blue areas that indicate 3G coverage).

As stated in the article, Verizon's ads now also state that "Voice and data is available outside 3G coverage." I'm sure AT&T is thinking that this only applies to the Verizon map, despite the disclaimer appearing when both maps are present.

No map needed
By Jalek on 11/13/2009 3:31:45 PM , Rating: 2
I have a personal AT&T phone and a Verizon work phone.
When I'm in an underground basement, which one works?
The same one that works when I'm 3 miles off the freeway along a rural stretch. The one on Verizon.

If CDMA makes that much difference, then it's too bad that's not the standard. I could even deal with roaming charges if the Verizon towers could provide service for my phone.

I'm not under contract, but neither has any real price difference. I just keep AT&T for the rollover minutes, thousands in my case, otherwise I'd probably switch.

Not misleading
By mikeyD95125 on 11/15/2009 8:59:49 PM , Rating: 2
Verizon's commercials reference 3G coverage throughout the commercial.

Lawyers suck.

Using outdated maps
By Truthseeker79 on 11/18/2009 10:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
Verizons ad is very deceiving, that tricks common Americans for their organizatinoal benefit. The fact that iPhone is a success is hurting all the other carriers, and they are finding ways to stop it by hook or by crook. Verizons role is clear in that regard.
AT&T has accepted the fact that their 3G network may not be covering as much geographical area as Verizons 3G covering but it covers 75 % of US population with 3G and more people than verizons network with 2.5G, having said that, they are spending close to $17 billion just upgrading their network in this poor economy creating jobs. Perhaps Verizon should also mention that in their ad.

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