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Verizon this week defended its commercials in court, calling AT&T's lawsuit against them ridiculous. It says that for AT&T "the truth hurts."  (Source: csmonitor.com)

The commercials seem to be working -- in recent months Verizon's image has soared, while AT&T's has sank, according to YouGov, which tracks brand reputation.  (Source: Apple Insider)
The nation's largest wireless provider fires back in court

AT&T and Verizon, the nation's second largest and largest telecoms, respectively, are at open war.  With Verizon's new Droid phone looking to challenge the iPhone as the reigning media smartphone, the pair wage battle in the court room over Verizon's commercials which depict AT&T's poor 3G coverage.

It has been reported that in some areas, such as New York City, that AT&T's call drop rates are as high as 30 percent -- or that it merely has no 3G service at all.  However, AT&T does have broad coverage under its older EDGE network, and it claims that Verizon's ads are deceptive.  AT&T's argument basically boils down to a claim that the average viewer is fooled to believe that the Verizon commercial's maps represent total coverage and not 3G coverage -- despite several textual and audio clues.  Thus it claims the commercials are misleading and damaging.

Initially AT&T only sued over Verizon's "There's a map for that" series, which introduced Verizon's rich red map and AT&T's lacking blue map to viewers, all while poking fun at Apple's iPhone slogan ("There's an app for that").  AT&T recently expanded the suit to include Verizon's new Christmas themed ads "The Island of Misfit Toys".

Verizon has flatly refused to stop airing the commercials, and to AT&T's dismay, the dispute seems unlikely to be resolved until well into the holiday season.  AT&T had hoped to quickly get Verizon's ads pulled from TV.

In court this week Verizon filed new documents, according to Engadget, which blast its competitor, saying that the lawsuit is a weak attempt from a player that just can't compete.  States Verizon's filing, "AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon's "There's A Map For That" advertisements are untrue; AT&T sued because Verizon's ads are true and the truth hurts."

Continues the filing, "In the final analysis, AT&T seeks emergency relief because Verizon's side-by-side, apples-to-apples comparison of its own 3G coverage with AT&T's confirms what the marketplace has been saying for months: AT&T failed to invest adequately in the necessary infrastructure to expand its 3G coverage to support its growth in smartphone business and the usefulness of its service to smartphone users has suffered accordingly. AT&T may not like the message that the ads send, but this Court should reject its efforts to silence the messenger."

As it sees its hopes of a favorable court ruling in jeopardy, AT&T has tried to set the record straight among its own customers, writing them a letter asking them to ignore what it perceives as lies in Verizon's ads.  It writes that the Verizon commercials are "so blatantly false and misleading, that we want to set the record straight about AT&T's wireless data coverage".  In the letter, the company highlights what it sees as abundant mixed coverage on its older EDGE and new 3G networks.

Regardless of whether AT&T's dreams of silencing Verizon's commercials come true, evidence indicates that the damage has already been done.  In recent weeks Verizon's brand image has soared while AT&T's has sank, according to recent surveys market researchers at BrandIndex.  The surveys looked at whether customers would recommend the respective telecoms to their friends.  AT&T scored less than a -2 in the most recent study -- indicating not many customers would recommend getting an AT&T phone.



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RE: Droid
By theunit on 11/17/2009 8:49:07 AM , Rating: 2
You could always pay for the first month, then cancel the data plan. Or you can buy the phone of your choice off ebay or amazon. But I feel you, I didnt get a curve, because of that reason.


RE: Droid
By heulenwolf on 11/17/2009 12:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
If you pre-buy the phone on a CDMA network, how do you get it activated? Just walk in to Sprint or Verizon store and pick which plan you want? I ask because I've never tried nor heard an account of how it works. I know with GSM networks they send you a SIM card and you're set. How does it work on Verizon or Sprint? If they're the big evil we all make them out to be, wouldn't they apply the same plan restrictions for activating a phone you already own that they do for a phone you buy through them? Could you walk in with a Droid and just a "Nationwide Voice Plan" with no additional data plan, for example? Has anyone out there tried this?


RE: Droid
By wookiness on 11/17/2009 1:03:34 PM , Rating: 3
For Sprint and VZW you just take it into a local store and they can hook it up for you.

Verizon Wireless will require a data plan for any smartphone whether you bought it there or not, you cannot remove the data plan while a smartphone is active.


RE: Droid
By heulenwolf on 11/17/2009 2:40:54 PM , Rating: 2
That's too bad - I guess they really are the big evil. Not only can you only use their approved and modified devices on their network, but you can only pay to use them the way they want you to.

I use and iPod Touch + a separate phone with a voice plan right now and live pretty happily without a cellular data connection and the associated fees. I'm near WiFi alot and would rather save the $360/year in data plan fees, use cellular data sparingly on an as-needed basis, and stick to WiFi for data needs most of the time. It sounds like that's simply not possible with VZW. With Sprint's lower fees maybe I'd consider the full data plan when my VZW contract is up next year. In the mean time, I'm not enough of a mobile data fanatic to justify the plan costs.


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