AT&T and Verizon Wireless Take Their Cat Fight to Court

By Andrew Moseman | November 17, 2009 6:33 pm

iphone-webHave you seen those Verizon Wireless ads on TV, showing a map of the company’s 3G network coverage next to a far less inspiring map of competitor AT&T’s coverage? Those ads have now led the nation’s two largest mobile provides to a court fight.

Verizon’s “There’s a Map for That” campaign spoofs the “There’s an App for That” campaign by Apple, whose iPhone uses AT&T. In response to the Verizon campaign, AT&T filed suit against Verizon in federal court. AT&T claims the ad is misleading because it implies that AT&T customers can’t use their phones and cannot access the mobile Internet in areas where the carrier does not offer 3G wireless coverage. The truth is that AT&T customers can use their phones and they are able to access the wireless Net using the company’s slower EDGE network [CNET].

In response to AT&T’s initial complaint, Verizon tweaked the wording and the fine print on the ads to try to cover the company’s bases. But it says it won’t make further changes. “We stand behind our advertising. If they [AT&T] have a better map, we’d certainly like to see it. It’s clearly an accurate representation of our 3G coverage” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution], a Verizon spokesperson said, and then the company lawyers submitted a bitter legal response (pdf) to the suit. In Verizon’s reponse, the company says that “AT&T sued because Verizon’s ads are true and the truth hurts.”

Depending on a judge’s interpretation, AT&T might be able to show that the ads are misleading. But that will take time. As Verizon points out in its response, AT&T hasn’t exactly shown that there’s an emergency that would require the ads to come down immediately, so it seems that these ads will remain on TV for the foreseeable future [Ars Technica].

Related Content:
80beats: Sorry, Australian iPhone Users: You’ve Been Rickrolled
Discoblog: Can an iPhone App Decipher Your Baby’s Cries?
The Intersection: Droid 2.0 vs. iPhone

Image: flickr / William Hook

  • Bob Snyder

    “There an App for That”?

  • Nick

    The first thought I had upon seeing this commercial was “That’s hilarious,” and the second thought was “Oh snap AT&T’s gonna be mad.”

    Also, let me be the first to say, “there’s a SLAPP for that.”

  • Unknown

    That commerical was awesome. Whenever I go within a mile or so of Lake Michgan anywhere from Milwaukee to Chicago, I get no coverage. The truth does hurt. I am an AT&T customer, I seek to maybe join up with Verzion for the pluses.

  • Ryan

    Unknown’s situation sucks, but those ads really have no effect on me. The reason is that I get decent coverage in Seattle, and I never leave Seattle. I could care less about how AT&T performs in the 99.9% of the country that I spend 0% of my time in.


    Those cell phones will just rot your brains!!!

  • coryy

    gaaaah. I delayed the iphone switch as long as I could for just those reasons. On bad days I can’t even use my cell phone from my HOUSE, much less while out. And ATT’s response is, “oh, two towers in your area are out. They have been for a year. You need to file a complaint.” Um, you know you have lost service in a 15 mile radius, you have for a YEAR, but it’s my job to TELL you?

    We have to manually switch from 3g to edge depending on which side of the river valley we are on. And never go east! Other than that, my cellphone works fine….as long as I don’t need to call anybody!

  • Eliza Strickland

    Thanks for catching the typo, Bob. Fixed it.

  • Pat


  • Matt

    Yes Pat, we can hear you. Welcome to the Verizon network.

  • Clark

    I love my iPhone, it is the slickest gadget I’ve purchased in a long long time. However, AT&T drives me up the wall. I get spotty coverage where I work, when I visit my parents house I have no reception. AT&T seems take a view that they are doing great, therefore I should feel lucky to have them.



  • freelunch

    As the two largest heirs to the old Ma Bell, AT&T and Verizon may compete in wireless, but they certainly haven’t improved their attitude toward their customers. Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine is still dead on in mocking the disdain that these companies appear to feel for the folks who pay the bills.

  • Shannan Alexy

    What I wouldnt give to possess a new discussion with you about this. You simply say a lot of stuff that arrive from nowhere that Im somewhat selected Id have a very fair shot. Your weblog is terrific visually, I mean people today wont be bored. But other individuals who can see previous the video clips in addition to the layout wont be so impressed collectively with your generic comprehension of this issue.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.

See More

Collapse bottom bar