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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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JgrBtn8XdU




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 (blog) 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 (blog) 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?


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