updated 04:40 pm EST, Tue November 3, 2009
ATT claims Verizon ads misleading
AT&T on Tuesday sued Verizon for allegedly misleading customers with its "there's a map for that" ads. The complaint argues that Verizon is deliberately exaggerating the gaps in AT&T's coverage through its map of 3G networks, making it seem as though some areas have no coverage at all, not just 3G. The campaign has already had to alter maps after some earlier protests from AT&T.
AT&T representative Mark Siegel adds that Verizon's campaign is a reaction to AT&T's edge in smartphones through exclusives like the iPhone. The slogan behind the ads is a direct allusion to Apple's "there's an app for that" iPhone commercials and is intended to underscore the network problems that have undermined the success of AT&T's flagship smartphone.
Verizon's own spokesman Jim Gerace responds that its ads "clearly" warn viewers that the maps don't show other forms of coverage and contends that AT&T is simply shifting attention to coverage claims rather than the implications for the overall speed of the network, as AT&T is still finishing its 3G coverage while virtually all of Verizon's network operates on similar speeds.
Most of AT&T's fastest-network claims are based on the theoretical peak speeds of the HSDPA spec it uses, which tops out at 3.6Mbps in most areas and in a small area now tops 7.2Mbps.
The lawsuit arrives the same week as Verizon is set to launch its latest "halo" phone, the Motorola Droid, and has been running a separate set of "iDon't" ads again exploiting the iPhone's ad style to attack both the device and AT&T.