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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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ATT is fine...
By roostitup on 11/17/2009 12:59:15 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I don't have any problems with ATT and have had their service for almost 10 years after switching FROM Verizon. I have many friends that use Verizon and many that use ATT and personally the services are on par with each other in my rural area. They both have their small areas with bad reception and good reception, ATT works better in some places while Verizon works better in others. In my region it is really just personal preference. I have trouble telling the difference from Edge and 3G service, I bounce between them all the time when going from developed areas to rural areas.

With that said, I think I am going to have to side with ATT on this one. The map is very misleading to the average consumer who does not understand the difference between the networks. Most people would assume that the 3G network is the whole network which would make consumers believe that ATT has HORRIBLE nationwide cell service, which is absolutely not true. Although in the commercials Verizon is very clear that they are displaying only 3G service, they know as well as I and many others do that the average consumer does not understand the details behind 3G, Edge and so forth. Verizon knows what they are doing and it's a good, but very low advertising tactic.

In terms of the 30% call drop rate in New York and other cities, I would like to know what % of these people have IPhones. I bet you it's the IPhone causing the dropped calls, not ATT's service.




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