Verizon Wireless files a 53-page memorandum responding to AT&T's request to have five of Verizon's ads pulled. AT&T contends that consumers might mistakenly interpret the ads as saying AT&T has no coverage at all in its non-3G coverage areas.
has formally responded to competitor AT&T's legal measures against its newest ad campaign,
shows maps of both carriers' 3G coverage areas.
"AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon's 'There's a Map
for That' advertisements are untrue," Verizon's legal team wrote in a
53-page memorandum presented to a U.S. District Court in Georgia.
"AT&T sued because Verizon's ads are true and the truth hurts."
is the exclusive U.S.
provider of the iPhone. An AT&T "There's an App for That"
campaign has promoted the download and use of mobile applications on the
iPhone-a practice that has contributed to making voracious data-gobblers of its
users and setting new precedents for mobile device use and coverage needs.
In the memorandum, Verizon goes on to say while AT&T has invested tens
of millions of dollars in its 3G network, which it calls the "Nation's
Fastest 3G Network," Verizon has invested "billions of dollars since
2004 upgrading nearly its entire network across the continental United States
and Hawaii to 3G, and today covers five times more of the United States than AT&T's
It further spells out that AT&T has asked that five television
advertisements and related print and radio advertisements be prohibited from
airing, and states that AT&T "admits that the 3G coverage maps-the one
thing that is common to all five ads-are accurate and that the ads' express
statement that Verizon has '5X More 3G Coverage' than AT&T is true."
AT&T's position has been that, while true, the maps may mislead or
confuse customers about AT&T's non-3G coverage. The week of Nov. 9, AT&T posted a letter on its Website to convey a few
"key facts" to customers.
"AT&T's wireless data coverage reaches 303 million people-or 97
percent of the U.S. population, where they live and work," the letter
said, before going on to explain that AT&T offers three types of
technology: 3G, EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) and GPRS. Of the
first two options AT&T said, "With both 3G and EDGE coverage,
customers can access the Internet, send e-mail, surf the Web, stream music,
download videos, send photos, text, talk and more. The only difference-with
some data applications, 3G is faster than EDGE."
Verizon disputes the claim that consumers may be misled into thinking that
AT&T offers no coverage whatsoever outside of the 3G coverage areas shown
on the maps in Verizon's ads.
"This claim cannot be accepted without convincing evidence that
consumers are actually misled," Verizon argued. "AT&T has
presented no evidence of consumer deception. This alone is a sufficient basis
to deny AT&T's motion as to these ads."
While there is indeed no evidence that consumers may believe AT&T has no
coverage outside of its 3G areas, YouGov's BrandIndex, which measures
consumers' brand perceptions on a daily basis, has found the ads to be at least
shifting consumer opinion about the two companies. BrandIndex found
"buzz" levels to be changing in Verizon's favor, as AT&T's
ratings fell on the same days.
Ted Marzilli, managing director of BrandIndex, told eWEEK
that while buzz
shifts quite a bit, it's "more surprising ... to see things like
satisfaction and quality [ratings] move as well."
The Verizon team wrote that AT&T is seeking to have the ads taken down as
an emergency measure because "Verizon's comparison of its own 3G coverage
with AT&T's confirms what the marketplace has been saying for months:
AT&T failed to invest adequately in the necessary infrastructure to expand
its 3G coverage to support its growth in [the] smartphone business, and the
usefulness of its service to smartphone users has suffered accordingly."
Verizon concluded, "AT&T may not like the message that the ads
send, but this court should reject its efforts to silence the messenger."