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New AT&T Ad Campaign Hits Back At Verizon
Though the punch doesn't carry much force...
by Karl Bode 11:22AM Monday Nov 23 2009
AT&T continues their efforts to counter Verizon's recent uppercut series of ads making fun of the AT&T 3G network's limited footprint and sub-par performance. AT&T's been running three new ads that feature actor Luke Wilson mocking Verizon for the inability of its customers to talk and surf the web at the same time, while using postcards and a giant map to reiterate that AT&T has EDGE and voice coverage across most of America.

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Of course AT&T's generally taken flack not for EDGE coverage but for poor HSDPA coverage -- and more specifically inconsistent HSDPA performance. While it may be true that AT&T covers nearly 300,000,000 people as the ads claim, the problem has been they don't always do it very well -- especially in congested markets.

AT&T's original complaint and recent lawsuit against Verizon centered on the fact that Verizon's ads were misleading. AT&T was particularly concerned that the maps Verizon was using in ads (that were clearly marked "3G coverage") would confuse customers into thinking AT&T didn't have extensive national coverage.

Yet in their own ad response, AT&T engages in a little funny business themselves. One ad specifically mocks Verizon for its customers' inability to browse the Internet and talk at the same time. Yet the ad omits the fact that the majority of AT&T's network continues to be EDGE connectivity -- and that these customers, you guessed it, can't talk and browse at the same time. Not that everybody really cares about doing so -- and those who can can usually talk and browse via Wi-Fi.

Again, it seems like AT&T might just be better served by not talking anymore, and just focusing on getting tower sites and backhaul links upgraded. How many upgraded cell sites would Luke Wilson's salary have paid for? How many backhaul links could have been upgraded with the money spent suing Verizon? Fixing the capacity and coverage issues that have been plaguing AT&T would do more than any ad campaign.

Update: It looks like Apple is also going to be running some new ads taking a swing at Verizon by highlighting the ability to talk and use the Internet at the same time. Like AT&T's ads, Apple's ads also forget to mention that the majority of AT&T's customers, who'll be browsing on AT&T's EDGE network won't actually be able to do what the ads advertise.


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