the frequency a kenny chung blog

November 4th, 2009
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It seems you can’t turn on the TV these days (or Hulu or whatever transmission method you prefer) without seeing a “maps” commercial by Verizon. The short of it is that Verizon claims to have 5x more 3G coverage than AT&T. Brilliant ad campaign. And if they did their homework correctly, there’d be no way for AT&T to rebut.

However, AT&T found a solution: they’re just going to sue Verizon. Not about the claim, because they’re not arguing that it’s false. They’re suing because they claim that the Verizon ad is misleading.

Wait, what?

Yes, AT&T thinks that Verizon is implying that people without 3G coverage can’t receive phone calls or surf the web at all. Oh, did I mention that this is even after Verizon had fine print that clearly stated that phone and internet service are still available in areas without 3G on the AT&T network?

So why did AT&T do this? My guess would be they felt the shot to their pride. Verizon hit them where it hurt and there was no way AT&T could retalliate. I’m not saying AT&T should have taken their ball and went home, but they could have handled this much better than with a flimsy lawsuit. As of right now, I can see this turning into a PR nightmare.

Consider the following:

-AT&T filed the lawsuit not because Verizon’s claim of 500% more 3G coverage was false. People who read about the suit may correctly infer that AT&T concedes victory on that point.

-Others may read between the lines and feel that AT&T doesn’t believe in their own marketing/advertising department to come up with a rebuttal. Or maybe they don’t even have faith in their network.

-And let’s face it. This lawsuit makes AT&T seem like a kid who wants to play dodgeball but then complains when he/she gets hit.

Note: I should have prefaced this post by saying that I have been an AT&T customer for about 6 years (through the whole Cingular phase).

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