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Cellphones The Courts United States

AT&T Sues Verizon Over "Map For That" Ads 249

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sue-sue-sudio dept.
MahlonS writes "AP is reporting on a suit filed in Northern Georgia in which AT&T claims that Verizon's 'There's a Map for That' ads are misleading and amount to deceptive trade practices. Verizon had already agreed to modify their original ad to include a tag line that voice and data services are available outside 3G coverage areas." What's interesting is that on some level, this is actually a lawsuit over data visualization.
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AT&T Sues Verizon Over "Map For That" Ads

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  • Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:11AM (#29978424)
    I know we love to hate AT&T but, good. Those ads are about as obvious a case of copying one's competition and a misleading way with the intent of creating confusing in the marketplace and thereby diluting the competition's brand strength. We can hate AT&T all we want for their crappy service but Verizon is clearly in the wrong here. IMHO.
  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvilJoker (192907) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:20AM (#29978582)

    While I understand AT&T's complaint, it is still more of the same from them- just like when they claim to offer the same internet (768kbps) as RoadRunner (now up to 7mbps).

    The market is smartphones right now, with the iPhone currently being #1. VZW is about to launch a number of very high-end phones (esp. the DROID) which will chew through data, and 3G coverage is a necessity. The difference VZW is highlighting is exactly what AT&T wants to keep quiet- smartphones will work a lot better in many areas on VZW.

    If you can't check e-mail, facebook, IM, etc, then I think it's fair to claim you're out of touch.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Churla (936633) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:22AM (#29978610)

    I have to disagree with you on this. The ads do clearly state that it's 3G coverage. And the difference between 2G and 3G for heavy data use Smartphone owners is a very significant one. This ad is less deceptive than the AT&T one claiming the "fastest 3G network" when it is only faster because it's smaller and doesn't have to deal with coverage in spottier areas.

    If you want to argue that it gives people the impression that the phones don't have any coverage even though they state it's 3G coverage areas the maps are talking about then you should also talk to Apple about the "If I'm going to move things, why not move to a Mac?" ads which neglect to mention that the difference between moving Xp to Win 7 as opposed to XP to Mac is the fact that you also have to buy a completely new computer on top of a new OS (making it just a tad more expensive...)

  • by vxvxvxvx (745287) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:23AM (#29978640)
    While the technology itself is capable of decent bandwidth, the implementations are pretty terrible. Run low bandwidth wires to the cell towers and you just move the bottleneck somewhere else. 3g is more of a buzzword than anything at this point, until we actually start taking advantage of all that the technology has to offer.
  • by ari_j (90255) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:30AM (#29978756)
    Fortunately for Verizon, AT&T's full coverage map sucks, too. If AT&T really believed in honest advertising, they would add a few words to their slogan: America's largest 3G network ... because you can roam, at great expense, in Europe and we counted that.
  • by night_flyer (453866) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @11:50AM (#29979150) Homepage

    it's clearly a take off of iPhones "there's an app for that" ad (and probably service mark). It has nothing to do with coverage, or how reliable anything is...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:02PM (#29979378)

    What Verizon appears to be describing as 3G service on their super-red map is CDMA (1x), which is actually closer in speed to AT&T's EDGE network (2.5G). For the AT&T map they're using W-CDMA(HSPA+ 14.4mb/s) coverage. So they're comparing their 2G (or 2.5G) service to ATT 3.5G service area, in terms of speed. W-CDMA won't ever be deployed to 100% of AT&T's network, certainly not before they roll out LTE. What they should be comparing themselves to is AT&T's EDGE coverage map, which I believe is 100% of AT&T's licensed coverage area. Also, the slowest of AT&T's 3G service is faster than Verizon's EVDO service.

    WRONG. 100% of Verizon's towers are 3g/EVDO eanbled, therefore the entire voice coverage map is the same as the entire data coverage map. AT&T does not have 100% 3G coverage on every tower, so they have separate maps for voice/edge and 3g. So comparing Verizon's map to AT&T's edge is wrong since Verizon has 100% EVDO/3G coverage.

  • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:33PM (#29980006)
    if those map are accurate, there is positively absolutely nothing bad in showing them off. or are we all forgetting what a free market is?
  • by booyabazooka (833351) <> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:43PM (#29980206)

    You live by your customers being idiots, you die by your customers being idiots.

    I'd bet that if AT&T has decent voice coverage and spotty 3G, it has benefited from a lot of customers not realizing that those coverage areas can be different. Verizon's ad turns the same ignorance against them, and now they're upset about it.

    The notion of a mobile phone service provider suing anyone over being misleading is astoundingly ironic.

  • by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:53PM (#29980426) Homepage Journal
    And you'd still be an idiot, because you're twisting the english language to suit your theory. Even at lower than 768 you're still pingable, or "touchable".
  • Grow Up, AT&T... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DomNF15 (1529309) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:55PM (#29980458)
    So, instead of improving their 3G service areas, they spent time and money on suing Verizon for pointing out their obviously inferior high speed network. "Wah mommy, Verizon is making fun of me." Half the time my coworkers with iPhones can't even make a voice call in my building, let alone get high speed data. Thanks, but I think I'll stick with my lousy Verizon phone, at least I can make calls pretty much anywhere.
  • by nine-times (778537) <> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:57PM (#29980488) Homepage

    Well AT&T would probably be right to argue that their average customers don't really understand what "3G" means and might be confused by the maps. Of course, such an argument would be undercut by the fact that AT&T refers to "3G" in their own ads without explaining it.

  • Re:Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Cyner (267154) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:58PM (#29980512) Homepage

    The problem is that Verizon's Red Map is thier 2.5G (CDMA) network, not their 3G (EVDO) network.
    The Blue Map is AT&T's actual 3G (W-CDMA) map.

  • by mcsqueak (1043736) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:58PM (#29980524)

    I think that the 'Out of Touch' phrasing is accurate in this context

    I disagree - they are trying to give people the distinct impression that you won't be able to communicate. The commercial even shows some sad AT&T network girl alone on a bench somewhere while her Verizon network friends are together having fun. Yes there is a speed difference between 3G and Edge, but give me a break... you can still send/receive calls, texts, and still get online.

    I've gone hiking where my 3G coverage has fallen back to Edge. I was still able to access Google maps and look at where we were, etc. I was hardly "out of touch", that is a loaded phrase and Verizon knows it.

    That being said, I personally found the ad to be a very clever play on Apple's "there's an app for that".

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by raitchison (734047) * <> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:37PM (#29982506) Homepage Journal

    They were originally much more misleading, they did not include the voice and data service are available outside the 3G coverage area and also stated that an AT&T user without 3G coverage was "out of touch"

    I don't use (or like) either but I think that AT&T is marginally more in the right here, for all that the VZW ads are pretty clever they are definitely misleading, even in their current form.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EvilStein (414640) <> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:07PM (#29987602) Homepage

    Yes, and we all know how well people stop and read the small print, right?

    I agree with AT&T on this one. It's deceptive. Verizon has a long history about lying on their coverage maps. Remember their older maps? They used to show *the entire country* as being served by them, which is complete bullshit.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.