Verizon ups the smarm, mocks AT&T

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from Network World.

There are some days when it’s difficult to tell whether Verizon is a telecom company or one of the smarmy bullies from a teen film.

This week, Verizon filed a sarcastic and defiant response to the lawsuit earlier this month alleging that Verizon’s “There’s a Map for That” ads falsely assert that AT&T has major gaps in its wireless coverage. In Verizon’s response filed with the U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia, the company eschewed standard legalese and instead launched into a bombastic broadside against its rival.

“AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon’s ‘There’s A Map For That’ advertisements are untrue,” said the introduction. “AT&T sued because Verizon’s ads are true and the truth hurts.”

The response then went on to taunt AT&T for the small size of its 3G wireless coverage.

“Verizon Wireless has invested billions of dollars since 2004 upgrading nearly its entire network across the continental United States… and today covers five times more of the United States than AT&T’s 3G network,” it said. “Despite the far smaller size of its 3G network, AT&T has spent tens of millions of dollars making its 3G network… the centerpiece of its national advertising.”

Verizon’s “There's a Map for That” ads typically show AT&T users struggling to use applications on their mobile devices while Verizon customers happily watch live streaming videos. The ads then display maps that show the total geographical reach of 3G coverage for each carrier, with Verizon’s map showing a far larger area of the country covered by its 3G service.

AT&T has not disputed that the maps used by Verizon in its ads are accurate. Rather, it has accused Verizon of misleading consumers by implying that AT&T has no wireless coverage in large parts of the country, when in reality parts not covered by AT&T’s 3G HSPA network are still covered by its 2G EDGE network. However, in Verizon’s ads the company clearly marks the maps as “AT&T 3G Coverage” and “Verizon Wireless 3G Coverage.”

Verizon addressed this argument in its response to the AT&T suit by stating bluntly that "This claim makes no sense."

“Not only can the ads be interpreted to refer to the comparatively limited geographic scope of AT&T’s 3G service, they cry out for that interpretation,” Verizon said. “Each ad speaks of 3G coverage repeatedly, the maps used in each are clearly labeled ‘3G.’”

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