AT&T has filed a lawsuit in an Atlanta district court over an ad campaign by Verizon Wireless that compares AT&T’s fledgling 3G network with Verizon’s.
In the “There’s a Map for That” ads, Verizon depicts AT&T’s 3G coverage as spotty and uses blank, white space to show where the rival carrier does not have 3G service. AT&T does not seek to stop the ads or change the words but wants an order prohibiting Verizon from displaying maps that show what it considers “misleading” coverage.
Calling the filing a “junk lawsuit,” Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffery Nelson defended the advertisements. “[AT&T’s lawsuit] attacks the map rather than defends their service. The maps are very clear and we’re very clear. It’s really interesting that AT&T is focused on the big white area rather than the blue,” Nelson said.
According to AT&T’s complaint, “Consumers are interpreting the white or blank space on the maps to mean that AT&T customers who are not in an AT&T ‘3G’ coverage area ave no wireless coverage whatsoever… 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 blank space.”
In essence, AT&T wants Verizon to show its EDGE network, which is available in more than 13,000 cities and towns and has average data speeds between 75-135 Kbps.
According to the lawsuit, AT&T contacted Verizon in early October over the matter, requesting that the ads be withdrawn or modified. In response, Verizon removed the words “out of touch” from the ads and superimposed the phrase “Voice & data service available outside 3G coverage areas” at the end of the advertisements. AT&T argues these changes did “nothing to change the misleading message in these advertisements.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations