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AT&T Sues Verizon Over 3G Ads
Apparently Verizon hit a sore spot....
by Karl Bode 06:16PM Tuesday Nov 03 2009 Tipped by BB_Hunter See Profile
A few weeks ago Verizon started throwing punches at AT&T in the form of a series of new ads that took direct aim at AT&T's recent network issues and poor 3G coverage (see this ad, for example). AT&T apparently isn't amused, and dropped us a line to note that they're suing Verizon for the ads. According to the suit, Verizon's using "misleading" coverage maps which could result in AT&T suffering an "incalculable" loss in market share.

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"The Verizon ads mislead customers into believing that AT&T does not offer any wireless service in the vast majority of the country, which is of course not true," spokesman Seth Bloom tells us. "In our view, Verizon launched the campaign as a response to AT&T’s leadership in smartphones," he says, adding that AT&T has twice the number of smartphone customers as Verizon.

AT&T's argument seems a little tenuous, given the maps Verizon's using are clearly labeled "3G coverage," and do generally reflect AT&T's deployment of HSDPA service. On the other hand, users who don't do their research or understand what 3G even is -- might not know that AT&T offers clunkier EDGE service outside of the highlighted areas, or that their broadband-enabled devices will work there.

AT&T has provided us with a copy of their complaint (pdf), their motion for a temporary restraining order (pdf), and TRO supporting documents (pdf) for those who are interested. "The full measure of damages that AT&T will continue to suffer from the publication of Verizon's misleading claims is difficult if not impossible to calculate," laments the filing. "No amount of corrective advertising would undo the damage."

We sent a follow up inquiry to AT&T asking if they'd be ok with Verizon running the same ads, but differentiating between HSDPA and EDGE connectivity (say, in a lovely shade of teal) -- but have yet to hear back. It seems likely that AT&T's simply interested in stopping the ads so they don't dent the billions in AT&T's fourth quarter earnings too badly. Verizon of course is gearing up to launch the Android-based Motorola Droid on Friday.


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cameronsfx

join:2009-01-08
Panama City, FL

5 recommendations

reply to hayabusa3303

Re: Truth hurts?

Court Hearing

Judge Judy Presiding

"I've read your complaint, AT&T and don't understand it. You....I'M SPEAKING! WHEN I TALK, ZIP IT! GOT IT? You say their ads are false, right?"

"Yes." (T)

"How are they false since the map they are using came from your website?"

"Well, in the other areas we have the EDGE network."

"Is that 3G?"

"No, it is called EDGE but most call it 3G."

"I assume the call quality and Internet speads are the same then, right?"

"That is a technical question. 3G is the main network..."

"So, the EDGE network is the old network, right?"

"Yes, so to speak."

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN 'SO TO SPEAK'?"

"The speeds are not always the same."

"I read they are quite different. Burt tells me the iPhone doesn't work as well in EDGE areas as they do in 3G."

"That's Burt's opinion."

"HE VIDEOD IT. FAST IN 3G AND SLOW IN EDGE. YOU THINK BURT IS LYING?"

"No, Ma'am."

"So, then, you must agree the ads are correct..."

"NO!"

"I'M SPEAKING!"

"Sorry, Your Honor."

"The ads are correct then. I've seen ads for stuff on informercials that are a load of crap so how is Verizon's ads incorrect? THEY HAVE YOUR MAP!"

"You Honor, we'd like to move to another venue."

"Sorry, YOU SIGNED A CONTRACT TO SETTLE THIS DISPUTE AND THE RULING HERE IS FINAL. GOT IT? DENIED!"

"Verizon, did you have any intent on lying in these ads?"

"No, we used AT&T's own maps."

"Got it. Seems responsible to me..."

"It doesn't to us."

"I DON'T CARE. I DECIDE THE ISSUES. DID YOUR MOMMA EVER TELL YOU TO BE QUIET WHEN ANOTHER PERSON IS SPEAKING? DID LAW SCHOOL TELL YOU TO SHUT UP WHEN THE JUDGE IS TALKING? I BET!"

"Yes, sorry."

"Well, since I think this lawsuit is POPPYCOCK AND UTTERLY RIDICULOUS, I'M DISMISSING YOUR COMPLAINT. Dismiss the complaint and no injunction. Follow me here, counselor?"

"Yes, Your Honor."

"Now, if you have total 3G coverage, WHICH YOU DON'T, you can then sue them. On their counterclaim, I am going to award them the $58,000 in legal fees..."

"You Honor?"

'YES, I DID. $58,000 FOR THE DEFENDANT AND YOUR COMPLAINT IS DISMISSED. GET A BETTER NETWORK! Step out."

On the next Judge Judy, President Obama is being sued over his citizenship. Don't miss it!