AT&T Claims Verizon Ads Cause "Irreparable Harm"

By November 12, 2009

AT&T's lawsuit against Verizon has now been re-written to include attack advertising, like the commercial that takes place on the Island of Misfit Toys, where an iPhone-ish handset shows the reason of its exile - the tiny splotches of blue that represent the AT&T 3G coverage on a US map. The map should be familiar to those who have seen Verizon's previous TV spot that compares 3G coverage - "There's a map for that." It was the "map for that" commercial that was initially included in the lawsuit, comparing the mentioned map with a generously covered red map representing the Verizon Wireless 3G coverage.

AT&T also responded with a formal response to their customers regarding the technicalities of the coverage question. As they consider the Verizon ads "are so blatantly false and misleading, that we want to set the record straight about AT&T's wireless data coverage."

According to the statement, AT&T wireless data coverage reaches 303 million people, or 97 percent of the US population. The 3G network covers 233 million people or 75 percent of the population, while 96 percent are covered by the EDGE network.

The Verizon commercials are potentially misleading, but not because they are untrue. The large swathes of white space in the AT&T 3G Coverage map could be misunderstood by viewers as places where the wireless carrier offers no coverage at all.

Verizon is only addressing its superior 3G coverage in the US, visually clear in the maps on its ads. According to USA Today, AT&T is not disputing the accuracy of the maps, but the ease in which they could be misconstrued in the critical holiday season. A spokesperson for AT&T claims that this "could do us irreparable harm."

In Digital Daily's highlights of AT&T's complaint, not only was the 3G coverage map a point of trouble, but also, "the image of the sad and wilting iPhone on an island of misfit toys falsely communicates that the iPhone is a broken device."

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