AT&T filed a lawsuit earlier this month over a series of advertisements which said Verizon's 3G coverage is five times larger than that of AT&T. AT&T is not directly disputing this claim, but it said the comparison maps used in the ads are misleading because viewers could see them and think AT&T has no coverage in these areas at all, even though it has voice and EDGE, or 2G, coverage over nearly 97% of the U.S. population. AT&T is aiming for an injunction to have the campaign pulled off the air.
Verizon said the maps in the ads are apples-to-apples comparisons because both are of the companies' 3G coverage only. Verizon also said AT&T has failed to make adequate investments in its mobile data network to handle the growth in its smartphone business, which has led to customer dissatisfaction.
"AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon's 'There's A Map For That' advertisements are untrue," Verizon said in a legal filing. "AT&T sued because Verizon's ads are true and the truth hurts... AT&T is now attempting to silence Verizon's ads that include maps graphically depicting the geographic reach of AT&T's 3G network as compared to Verizon's own 3G network because AT&T does not like the truthful picture painted by that comparison."
The move comes as the nation's two biggest carriers are ramping up for the competitive holiday season and both mobile operators are looking to attract smartphone users because these customers generate higher average revenues per user than regular cell phone subscribers. Primarily thanks to the popularity of Apple's iPhone, AT&T has more than double the number of smartphone users than Verizon.
But Verizon is making a big push for smartphone users, and the 3G commercials are just one part of that strategy. The company is collaborating with Google on a variety of Android-powered devices, and the carrier just released high-profile devices including Motorola Droid, HTC Droid Eris, and BlackBerry Storm 2, and it is expected to release the Palm Pre in a few months.
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