AT&T sues Verizon Wireless, calls map ad "misleading" but doesn't dispute accuracy

AT&T sues Verizon Wireless, calls map ad "misleading" but doesn't dispute accuracy

Summary: AT&T has filed suit against Verizon Wireless over those "There's a map for that" commercials. But AT&T isn't disputing the accuracy of the ad; AT&T doesn't like the colors on the maps.


AT&T has filed a lawsuit against Verizon Wireless over those "There's a map for that" commercials - but not because AT&T is disputing the accuracy of those 3G coverage maps. (PDF of complaint) Nope, AT&T thinks that consumers are too dumb to differentiate between 3G and non-3G coverage and it wants those maps changed - specifically, the colors. (Techmeme

The Verizon map is largely covered by red, meant to represent its 3G coverage areas. The AT&T map, by contrast, is sparsely covered by blue - meant to represent its 3G coverage - and has vast sections of the nation covered in white, representing areas without 3G coverage.

AT&T argues that the maps are confusing and that consumers are led to believe that there is no AT&T coverage of any kind in those white areas. From the complaint:

AT&T does not seek to stop Verizon from running its advertisements, nor does it seek to change the words Verizon uses in its advertisements. At this time, AT&T seeks only an order prohibiting Verizon from displaying, in the "Bench" advertisement, or in any other advertisement, a map of AT&T's "3G" coverage in which AT&T's non-"3G" coverage areas are depicted by white or blanks space. This limited relief is necessary to prevent consumers from being misled by the maps into believing that AT&T offers no wireless service in large parts of the United States. The Court should enter a temporary restraining order because Verizon should not be permitted to benefit from its misleading use of coverage maps while the Court sets a schedule for a preliminary and permanent injunction hearing, especially in light of the fact that we are approaching the busiest time of year for the purchase of wireless services.

Sure, Verizon could have been more creative with the colors - maybe using light blue for 2G coverage and dark blue for 3G, but why should Verizon go out of its way to advertise AT&T's 2G coverage when it's a commercial about 3G coverage? I could see if the commercial were about all of the services - but these commercials clearly show people doing things that need 3G, such as watching streaming video.

The funny part is that AT&T previously complained that a line about customers being "out of touch" and the ad was changed. But the company says it remains misleading.

So what have we learned here, from the filing of this lawsuit? Well, I know I've learned that AT&T's 3G coverage in the U.S. looks a lot worse than I thought it did. I know I would be pretty upset if I were an iPhone owner living in middle America. And it appears that I made the right call when I decided to stay with Verizon Wireless.

You know what confuses me about this lawsuit? No one seems to be disputing the factual part of the ad - the 3G coverage areas. So the only thing AT&T really stands to accomplish with this lawsuit is to raise awareness about the spottiness of its 3G service outside of major metropolitan areas.

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, AT&T, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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  • AT&T Focuses on Wrong Thing -- Again...

    Rather than trying to change its competitor's ads, maybe AT&T should spend its time and money on building out its network. As an AT&T customer, I know I would appreciate that.

    Meanwhile, Verizon should add another thing to the Droid's i-list:

    "iDon't Leave You Without 3G Coverage"

    Lah lah-lah-lah-lah-lah-lah-lah-lah lah -- it's magic...
    • AT&T Focuses on Wrong Thing -- Again...

    • "AT&T Focuses on Wrong Thing -- Again..."

    • AT&T focuses on the wrong thing again

      Having worked for AT&T it really doesn't suprise me. It why I dropped them like a hot potato when Vonage came out for thier land line service and Switched to Verizon for my cell service. AT&T is a dinosaur who's time has come and passed. Unfortunately greed in the upper echelon's prevent them from expanding thier networks, both wired and wireless. I live in the Chicago area and think that it is unconscionable that there is any part of the Chicago metro area where I cannot get the fastest DSL they offer. I think the government really messed up when they broke up Ma Bell. All they created was a bunch of innefficient and ineffectual companies that can't seem to get things done while the rest of the world blows us away. Look...we are still mostly dependant on the same technology that was spawned by the telegraph while Europe and Asia have been digital for years. POTS service isn't going anywhere because the execs are too busy stuffing htier accounts with bonuses rahter than putting that money into upgrading our infrastructure.
      • AT&T focuses on the wrong thing again

        well said!
    • AT&T Customer

      Now that I think about it, if you are an AT&T 3g customer and you are still sending them your money, maybe they are on to something about consumers being stupid ;-) I certainly would be pissed if I was an iPhone user or a smartphone user and had to deal withthe shoddy coverage. That's a lot of money to put into a phone only not to be able to use it's full capabilities.
    • True!

      That is awesome, Droid ads should include that!
  • RE: AT&T sues Verizon Wireless, calls map ad

    [i]So the only thing AT&T really stands to accomplish with this lawsuit is to raise awareness about the spottiness of its 3G service outside of major metropolitan areas.[/i]

    In a nutshell. It's like when the Catholic Church rants about a film it doesn't like. It has the effect of increasing awareness and audience.

    none none
    • RE: AT&T sues Verizon Wireless, calls map ad

      Great analogy!
  • The commercial it self

    and the AT & T action on it, tell me to never EVER do any business with such a lousy and inferior company. AT&T? who, in is right mind will do business with those crooks?
    • Anybody that's been a Verizon customer

      Happily ex-Verizon, both personal and now at work.
      • not anybody

        speak for yourself. Verizon has always done right by me. While ATT will just keep redirecting you from one support staff member to the next until your contract expires.

        In my experience ATT is absolutely worthless. May as well hand your cash to the bum sitting outside the liquor store each month.
        • yet

          Verizon never seems to have a signal in most areas that I am in... I guess I should never exit major cities.
          • Signal coverage

            I traveled from Chicago to Lake Charles, LA a few years back and didn't lose signal at any point. Even when we were down in the Sabine Wildlife Refuge along the Gulf Coast. Maybe you need to try a differnt phone. They do have some phones are are crappy. The phone I originally had (I don't remeber the brand or model) was kinda sucky. I switched over to the low end motorola phone (the black one that is kinda pill shaped) and signal strengeth was awesome. So you really might want to try a differnt phone from a differnt manuafacture. Some of them have differnt signal configurations that seem to work better in certain areas than others. If you go to a VCerizon store, they will let you try out differnt phones till you find the one that works for you. That's what they did for me when I was having issues.
      • You are joking, right?

        The only people I know that are on AT&T are also the ones that tell me they are not happy with their choice.

        Verizon has done just fine for me personally, and we have had zero complaints since switching to them over 4 years ago at work.

        Will they please everyone all of the time?

        Will they please most of the people most of the time?

        AT&T is crying foul because Verizon is comparing apples to apples, where AT&T is feel they should be compring apples to oranges.

        Maybe AT&T should work at pleasing [b]most[/b] of the people most of the time, not [b]some[/b] of the people most of the time.
      • As a former AT&T wireless customer...

        I am much happier with Verizon these past 2 years. Better quality experience for me in Colorado than with AT&T which was a surprise. Your mileage may vary...
      • re:Anybody that's been a Verizon customer

        While Verizon does have it's issues, I think it is the bestoput there. Thier customer service and tech support is awesome. I think a lot of companies could really learn from them. Other that on small period where I had no access from home while they were waiting for the OK fromthe town I lived in to put up a tower. After going through several differnt steps to come up with a solution, they finally gave in and told me that if I wanted out of my contract I could do so without penalty becasue they were unable to fix my problem. About 6 months later,it was fixed (I am assuming they got the new tower up). Other than that, the service it'self has been wonderful. My only real complaint is about the cell phone industry in general. When are we going to go with universal phones so that as a consumer, I get to pick my phone and carrier. I don;t think it should be legal for instance, to have it so that if I want to have an iPhone, I am stuck with AT&T. That kinda smacks of anti-competitive practices. IF the DOJ really wants to get ont he anti-trust bandwagon and go after actual anti-trust issues, there would be a good avenue.
  • wow . . .

    wow . . .

    If AT&T is so slow at rolling out 3G . . .

    Verizon is boasting huge coverage, and Sprint is hinting at a future "4G" network already.

    Maybe it's time for AT&T to spend some of those iPhone profits on some infrastructure . . .
    • wow . . .

    • That would be nice.. BUT...

      Those AT&T Execs prefer their [b]large bonuses[/b] they see in the immediate future to longer term bonuses. so why spend the money that can make up their bonuses on infrastructure... ROI on such an investment as that doesn't line their pockets as quickly.