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Verizon Seeks Court Approval Of Advertising Accuracy

AT&T has charged that Verizon's claims of having "America's Most Reliable Wireless Network" are misleading.

Cell phone companies are back at it again, charging and counter-charging each other over which company has the most reliable and best service.

This time, it's Verizon Wireless, which has gone to a federal court in New York to defend itself against charges by AT&T that the Verizon unit's ads for its 3G network are "misleading." Verizon has been claiming in its advertising that it is "America's Most Reliable 3G Network" and protests AT&T's complaint before the National Advertising Division of the Council for Better Business Bureaus that Verizon's claims are false and unproven.

In its complaint before the New York federal court, Verizon maintains that its claims of having "America's Most Reliable 3G Network," "America's Most Reliable Wireless Network," and "America's Best 3G Network" are "truthful, accurate, and substantial."

The issue seems to involve the different factors that speed and reliability play in the controversy. According to media reports, Verizon maintains that speed and reliability are two distinct matters while AT&T has said that speed is an important factor in data transmission.

In its filing, Verizon said AT&T's challenge "invented a new formula for calculating 'reliability' and claims that by applying this newly concocted formula its 3G wireless network has superior 'reliability.'" An AT&T spokesman said it was "preposterous" that Verizon claimed that speed is not a relevant factor in reliability.

If the brouhaha sounds familiar, it's because it recalls the 2006 complaint that Sprint Nextel made against AT&T's Cingular Wireless over ads claiming that Cingular had the "fewest dropped calls." In that instance, Sprint, which claimed "no one has a more powerful network" in many U.S. cities, challenged Cingular's advertising in a complaint to the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau.

The only thing that seems certain about cell phone service claims is that all cell phone service providers are likely to claim they have the best service.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on smartphone security. Download the report here (registration required).

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