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12/2/2009
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AT&T Ends Verizon Ad Lawsuit

Verizon will continue to show its "There's A Map For That" ads to capitalize on perceived weaknesses of AT&T's 3G network.

AT&T on Wednesday dismissed its lawsuit against Verizon Wireless regarding advertisements that compare the companies' wireless broadband coverage.

AT&T filed a lawsuit in November seeking to pull a series of Verizon ads off the air. The ads showed side-by-side maps comparing the companies' 3G coverage, and AT&T said these maps were misleading because they could cause viewers to think it has no coverage in certain areas, even though it has 2G or so-called 2.5G coverage over nearly 97% of the U.S. population.

Verizon called the lawsuit "meritless" and said the apples-to-apples comparison merely shows that its 3G network is five times larger than AT&T's network. Neither company commented on the dismissal when contacted by the media.

Verizon said it will continue to show the "There's A Map For That" campaign, and AT&T has hit back with its own ads featuring actor Luke Wilson. These ads boast about how AT&T users can surf the Web and talk on the phone at the same time, something that's not possible on Verizon's network.

Primarily thanks to the success of Apple's iPhone, AT&T has been adding new subscribers at a torrid pace but there have been growing complaints about the company's 3G performance, particularly in major metropolitan areas. The company has acknowledged some of these issues and is taking multiple steps to boost its mobile data network. AT&T has deployed 850-MHz spectrum in various markets to increase 3G performance, and it is also in the middle of a nationwide upgrade that will eventually deliver 7.2 Mbps downlink speed to compatible devices.

The focus on 3G networks comes as Verizon and AT&T are battling for smartphone users because these customers generate more revenue per month than regular cell phone subscribers. AT&T has nearly double the amount of smartphone users than Verizon, but Verizon is making a stronger push in this market by collaborating with Google to create devices powered by the Android operating system.

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