Have 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].
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Image: flickr / William Hook