ATandT, Verizon Drop Lawsuits, Verizon to Keep Airing Ads

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2009-12-02 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

AT&T and Verizon Wireless have dropped their lawsuits against each other regarding the 3G coverage maps Verizon used in its ads and that AT&T called misleading. Verizon will continue to air the ads.

AT&T and Verizon appear to have agreed to disagree.

The rival mobile carriers have dropped the lawsuits they had filed against each other, according to reporting from Reuters and The Associated Press. Both news sources state that neither company is commenting on the matter, though Verizon said it will continue to run its "There's a Map for That" ad campaign, which was the subject of the suits.

AT&T filed its lawsuit against Verizon on Nov. 3, stating that the ads, which feature the carriers' 3G coverage maps, were "misleading," despite being correct. The ads show Verizon's map smattered in red dots, denoting its 3G coverage areas, while AT&T's map is far more sparsely dotted with blue. AT&T argued that consumers might be confused into thinking it offers no coverage at all in its non-3G areas, where it offers EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) coverage instead.

Verizon lawyers responded with a 53-page memorandum that essentially called the suit sour grapes. "AT&T sued because Verizon's ads are true and the truth hurts," they wrote in the document.

While the lawsuit was pending, AT&T additionally asked that Verizon be made to stop airing the ads-a request that was denied by an Atlanta judge on Nov. 19. The judge's ruling on the matter may have led to AT&T dropping the case, as according to The New York Times, Judge Timothy Batten, speaking from the bench, told the court:

"I think that a person with a skeptical bent of mind might call Verizon's ads sneaky, as I indicated earlier. I think a more sanguine view is that they are simply clever. Either way, however, they are literally true. And the Court holds that AT&T has failed to carry its burden of showing that they are nevertheless misleading."

Ken Hyers, an analyst with Technology Business Research, agreed that AT&T wasn't left with much to work with.

"The big problem here, for AT&T, is that the map was accurate. So from that standpoint, it's a pretty hard to make a case that it was a misrepresentation," Hyers told eWEEK.

"They can keep on finding ways to talk about who's got the fastest network or best coverage," Hyers added. "But, while I think the ads are painful for AT&T-particularly because they were effective!-their money and efforts are better spent in other areas."

 
 
 
 
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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