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AT&T Loses First Legal Battle Against Verizon

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the is-there-an-app-for-that dept.

Communications 214

FutureDomain writes "A federal judge in Atlanta has declined a restraining order from AT&T that would have prevented Verizon from running ads that compared their 3G coverage to AT&T's. AT&T felt that Verizon's ads 'mislead consumers into thinking that AT&T doesn't offer wireless service in large portions of the country, which is clearly not the case.' Verizon argued that the ads clearly indicated that the maps were only of 3G coverage, and that AT&T is only suing because it doesn't want to face the truth about its network."

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214 comments

Can you hear us now? (3, Funny)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155300)

Can you hear us now?
Can you hear us now?
Can you hear us now?

Re:Can you hear us now? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155560)

No my cellphone's turned off so I don't get annoying phone calls that waste my money.

"Verizon argued that the ads clearly indicated that the maps were only of 3G coverage, and that AT&T is only suing because it doesn't want to face the truth about its network."

How sad for the late, great monopoly AT&T. They once controlled virtually the entire U.S. phone network, and now they are falling to a distant last place. I almost feel sorry for them.

Ok that's enough.
Let's break-up the Comcast monopoly next.

Re:Can you hear us now? (2, Insightful)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155736)

Well, when Bell was split up it became Verizon, so I guess you have two monopolies beating their heads against each other there.

Re:Can you hear us now? (2, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155774)

..and AT&T was purchased by SBC Communications (a baby bell), which then changed its name to AT&T.

Re:Can you hear us now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30155888)

Lets not forget Lucent, Alcatel and for you old farts- Western Electric.

Re:Can you hear us now? (5, Informative)

ChromaticDragon (1034458) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156276)

Oh it's a lot more convoluted than that.

For all intents and purposes when you think of the AT&T monopoly of yore, actually Verizon is more of that than the current incarnation of AT&T that is entertaining us today with this legal battle.

First, AT&T was divested. The monopoly part became mini-monopolies - the Baby Bells. They were still almost exclusively the only show in town for what they did (local telephony). AT&T actually had to compete at that point, on several fronts. Long Distance became a highly competitive arena over time. And the part that made telephony infrastructure equipment could no longer simply dictate to the local phone companies what they were gonna buy.

The first wave of Wireless in the US was a mandated duopoly. Each area got two licenses for wireless service providers. The "B" band went to the established phone company while the "A" band was up for grabs. The "B" side was often termed the "wireline" side because they were established companies already. Gradually, a large chunk of the upstart "A" side companies coalesced into McCaw. Before the "B" side companies started merging, McCaw was actually bigger than most.

Eventually AT&T bought McCaw and became or created AT&T Wireless.

The game changed with lots more licenses and more players.

SBC bought up Ameritech, then AT&T and then changed it's name to AT&T.

In all of that, if you restrict your view to the Wireless stuff Verizon is much more directly a descendant of the Baby Bells.

Re:Can you hear us now? (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155994)

Let's break-up the Comcast monopoly next.

And Microsoft, while we're at it.

There. Slashdot's equivalent of Godwin's law right there.

Re:Can you hear us now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156702)

What!?! No love for GOvernment OGLE?

Re:Can you hear us now? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156722)

Let's not forget to break-up the Apple monopoly over MP3 players and MP3 stores as well.

There. The Slashdot equivalent of holding fresh meat

Of course they did... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30155306)

because it's not LIBEL if it's TRUE.

Re:Of course they did... (3, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156132)

The thing is, the adverts are certainly bending the truth, even if they're not breaking it. The maps of Verizon's network cover *all* their network, because there's no difference between 2.5G/3G on their technology. By contrast, there's a technical difference between EDGE and 3G on AT&T's network.

The result – the maps show verizon to have coverage and AT&T not, even in areas where (for example) verizon's network runs like crap, and AT&T has excellent 2.5G coverage.

Re:Of course they did... (1)

ralx (1660641) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156234)

The thing is, the adverts are certainly bending the truth, even if they're not breaking it. The maps of Verizon's network cover *all* their network, because there's no difference between 2.5G/3G on their technology. By contrast, there's a technical difference between EDGE and 3G on AT&T's network.

The result – the maps show verizon to have coverage and AT&T not, even in areas where (for example) verizon's network runs like crap, and AT&T has excellent 2.5G coverage.

Agree.

Re:Of course they did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156380)

The thing is, the adverts are certainly bending the truth, even if they're not breaking it. The maps of Verizon's network cover *all* their network, because there's no difference between 2.5G/3G on their technology. By contrast, there's a technical difference between EDGE and 3G on AT&T's network.

The result – the maps show verizon to have coverage and AT&T not, even in areas where (for example) verizon's network runs like crap, and AT&T has excellent 2.5G coverage.

Citation needed. Which area do you speak of?

Re:Of course they did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156392)

Also misleading is the fact that Verizon's coverage maps are dark red while the AT&T's coverage maps are a light blue. The brain interprets the dark colors as dominant and the light blue as less dominant. The ad would be accurate only if both maps were the same color, or at least the same level of darkness.

Re:Of course they did... (3, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156784)

Don't agree. After this whole thing blew up I watched the Verizon ads. They make clear they are discussing 3G coverage, not generalized coverage (which would be available almost everywhere).

Aside -

Have you ever been to a place without cellphone coverage (and I don't mean because the building's walls are blocking). My digital phone doesn't work in mountainous areas, but my old analog phone seemed to work everywhere. It makes me wish analog was still alive, if only for backup.

Re:Of course they did... (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 3 years ago | (#30157028)

The purpose of advertising is to bend the truth almost but not quite to the point of breaking in order to promote whatever crap is being whored out to us. Sounds like the advertising agency did its job.

AT&T is the laughing stock of the industry (5, Insightful)

stox (131684) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155334)

They were insane to bring this to court. Verizon could not have paid for better advertising. This is going to go down in the book as one of the stupidest moves in business history.

Re:AT&T is the laughing stock of the industry (2, Funny)

xtracto (837672) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155416)

This is going to go down in the book as one of the stupidest moves in business history.

I am sure there's also a map for that!

Re:AT&T is the laughing stock of the industry (5, Insightful)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155500)

AT&T is essentially putting the spotlight on it's weakest link by drawing so much attention to this trial. Now everybody will be educated on exactly what's wrong with AT&T today.

Re:AT&T is the laughing stock of the industry (1)

clintp (5169) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155810)

With a DVR, I hadn't actually seen the ad in question until I read about the lawsuit. The next time I was flipping through commercials, I made it a point to stop at the Island of Misfit Toys ad to see what the hubbub was about. Good ad.* :)

The Streisand Effect is alive and well here. You're doing a heckuva job there, AT&T.

*I am currently a Verizon customer, but am equally biased against all telcos. They can all DIAF.

A Whole Bunch Of Emo iPhone Retards Are Upset Now (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30155636)

Now you've done it.

You better watch your back. And stay the fuck away from Starbucks!

Re:AT&T is the laughing stock of the industry (1)

Vohar (1344259) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156210)

No kidding. Most people in my town (in Northeast Louisiana) thought we had no 3G coverage at all until AT&T brought attention to this ad. I know several people who have picked up new phones as a result, and several more who are regretting their iPhones.

Surprised? (4, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155350)

Is anyone surprised at this result? Verizon advertises its better 3G coverage. It's true. Simple as that. No more debate necessary.

Re:Surprised? (5, Interesting)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155506)

More != Better.

Verizon's EVDO CDMA '3G' network is much slower than the HSDPA GSM '3G' that ATT has.
Becides Edge is in the '3G' spec, so it should be '3G' too.

The real problem is that '3G' is 100% meaningless. We should get maximum working bandwidths, then compare them.

And I really hate Verizon, and dislike ATT. I use T-Mobile. They have worse coverage, but so much better customer service!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_device_bandwidths#Mobile_telephone_interfaces [wikipedia.org]
EVDO revA is what Verizon is advertizing. HSDPA is what ATT has. Edge is also technically in the '3G' spec, and well should be shown in the Verizon ads. But honestly 3G doesn't mean shit.

Re:Surprised? (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155596)

>>>Verizon's EVDO CDMA '3G' network is much slower than the HSDPA GSM '3G' that ATT has

Upon what data do you draw this conclusion? (just curious)

Re:Surprised? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30155776)

Even if it is they aren't advertising that their 3G is faster, just that their 3G is larger than AT&T which is completely true. Verizon upgraded all of their towers to support 3G, AT&T has only upgraded some towers in more concentrated metro areas.

Verizon is beginning to upgrade towers to 4G next year. And supposedly according to rumors there is another Android phone either on black Friday or mid December along with a bunch of other new smart phones launching throughout December. They are going after AT&T very aggressively.

Re:Surprised? (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156212)

Yes '3G' and OMFG '4G' HOLY SHIT !!!!!111!!11!!1eleven!!!11!!

3G does NOT MEAN ANYTHING!

And yes Verizon has upgrade all of it's towers to '3G'. That is because it is just an extention of their '2G' technology.
They didn't have any large hardware upgrades. It was programming and processing at their sites. ATT/TMoble had to basically install new towers everywhere.

And Sprint's '4G', which I assume is what Verizon will roll out (both being EVDO), isn't really that much faster than ATT 3G. Sprint advertizes 3-6 Mbps, which is on par with ATTs 3.6Mbps HSDPA network.

Sorry for the shitty flash intro: http://now.sprint.com/nownetwork/mbbProductPage.html?id9=vanity:4G [sprint.com]
http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/why/technology/3g-umts.jsp [att.com]

Re:Surprised? (2, Informative)

EQ (28372) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156568)

Actually the 4G they are rolling out is Ericsson's LTE (they won that contract earlier this year, $4billion). LTE smokes HSDPA. >20Mb/s and typical latency of 5ms. So AT&T is still losing that battle.

Re:Surprised? (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156972)

Ok so Verizon, who currently uses EVDO CDMA, is going to beat ATT to 4G by putting in 100% new installations of UMTS towers, and getting LTE running on all of them above 14,000 Kbps, before ATT can use its map (shown in the ads) of EXISTING UMTS towers, and upgrade them to LTE?

If Verizon jumps to UMTS (which is what LTE is based on) how will they be in front of ATT? Who only needs ground bandwidth, and processing at their existing towers to get 14,000 Kbps? Not to mention they only need software upgrades (and ground level bandwidth) to implement HSPA+ which has ~50Kbps speed.

ATT is also stated moving to LTE.

I'll stick with my almost fully HSPA+ T-Mobile though.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HSPA%2B [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3GPP_Long_Term_Evolution#Carrier_adoption [wikipedia.org]

Re:Surprised? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30155858)

well if you looked at his wiki link....
verizon:
1xEV-DO Rev. A 3,100/1,800 kbit/s

att:
HSDPA/HSUPA 14,400/5760 kbit/s

Re:Surprised? (2, Informative)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155786)

I believe that ATT themselves consider Edge to be 2.5G, that is what they advertise it as. I would personally say that the speed is more then enough on Verizon, but I'm not goofy about my phone usage and trying to turn it into a TV, so I could be unusual.

Re:Surprised? (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155882)

I guess I'm one of the lucky AT&T customers. I live in S. Florida and it's one of their better coverage areas. Most of my travelling is within Florida and going up I95, the Florida Turnpike or the I-75 I can usually stay connected from Miami to Orlando or Tampa. I did have to call them recently because they kept on billing me for this useless Navigator feature. But the reps were courteous and spoke proper English.

I did try calling Verizon but their sales department was inept. They disconnected me at first and then couldn't explain their rate structure equivalent to my AT&T plan (one cell with 450 mins plus a 3g data card with "unlimited" usage).

Re:Surprised? (1)

EQ (28372) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156618)

Verizon customer service sucks, and they cripple their phones (Tmobile is tons better to deal with on both fronts). But Verizon's coverage is tons better. Try coming out west in places like Colorado - AT&T has dead spots and slow speeds all over the place while Verizon is rock solid. My friends with Iphones drop calls and have interrupted HS data connections all the time out here.

Re:Surprised? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156186)

Verizon's EVDO CDMA '3G' network is much slower than the HSDPA GSM '3G' that ATT has.

As an AT&T customer who waits like 10 minutes for text based web pages to appear in edge mode in a supposedly 3g covered area there is NO WAY THIS IS TRUE!

Re:Surprised? (0)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156258)

Text messages don't travel over the 'data' streams. They use the talk stream.

You can send and recieve texts without 'data access'.

And don't get me wrong, all those iPhone users are clogging up ATT's bandwidth.

Re:Surprised? (1)

volxdragon (1297215) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156662)

He didn't say text messages, he said "text based web pages"....IE, it should be fast because no graphic images need to be sent. Apples and Oranges comparison here...

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156874)

What you say is all true, but the person you responded to was talking about text based web pages and not SMS messages. So he is using the data plan for those web pages.

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156518)

1xRTT is also technically 3G, as it is defined in the CDMA2000 specs. Both AT&T and Verizon consider EDGE and 1xRTT to be "2.5G" so they can tout their faster specs as "3G". The problem is that these companies are using "3G" to mean "fast internet", when it is only a technical definition. They've simplified a myriad of technologies with different strengths and bandwidths to "Our 3G vs. Their 3G" for marketing reasons. Is HSDPA faster? Yes, but the coverage and reliability are problems. EVDO may be a little slower, but it's practically everywhere.

More is absolutely better (1)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156930)

I think pretty much everyone would rather have a 2.5 mbit network that mostly works than a 14 mbit network that's mostly vaporware.

But I agree that all of the "nG" nonsense is so much marketing bull, and getting worse. It used to be simple enough - 0G was non-cellular radiotelephone. 1G was analog. 2G was digital voice. 3G was digital data. Anything beyond that is just fluff, especially the "fractional-G" technologies.

Re:Surprised? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#30157002)

If you are where there is no coverage than yes More==better.
I am not on AT&T or VZW but I keep hearing about just how bad AT&Ts services is all the time on Engadget and cNet Podcasts so this ad seems really fair to me.
I use Sprint for the same reason you use T-Mobile.
They are a lot cheaper, they don't cripple phones, and for me the customer support has been great.
I good example that I am having problems with my new phone. The battery life just isn't great. I went in and they said that it may be a problem with the battery and gave me a new battery. Actually they gave me a second battery. Yes they checked to see what I had turned on and off on my phone first and then gave me a second battery.
I have never had a problem with Sprint's customer support and they have a bigger network than TMobile.

Re:Surprised? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155608)

I think the real issue of the lawsuit as it parodies the iPhones "There is an App for that" commercials. But they can't do anything legally about parodies, but the fact that Verizon directly attacked AT&T and used still misleading truth, as it only showed 3G coverage which Verizon does have better service area. But it is different then from voice service or even other formats for digital transmission such as EDGE. Does mislead the customer to think if they go with AT&T that they will have a lot more places where their iPhone just won't work. So that is where AT&T had its chance. But I think for the most part they just hated Verizon parody of the iPhone adds as Apple and AT&T probably spent a lot of money for creating there is an App for that commericals and Verizon just stole their catch phrase and made it for their company.

Re:Surprised? (3, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#30157038)

AT&T can't win on the deception since the ads do say the maps are of 3G coverage.

If that confuses potential customers, it's as much AT&T's fault as Verizon's. They both like tossing acronyms around and both enjoy confusing customers with dizzying itemized bills and plans until people just quit listening at the first term they don't understand.

I still don't understand why data isn't data. If I pay for data transfer on their net why does it matter if that comes from a laptop connected to the phone (an extra charge) or from an app running on the phone itself? Are the bits fatter?

Re:Surprised? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155790)

it may cover more people, but its slower. AT&T seems faster here near Canada even though we don't have "3G."

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156096)

The next time I'm in the middle of Nebraska and I can't look at Facebook quite as quickly, I'll sure wish I had switched to Verizon.

Re:Surprised? (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156364)

Lucky they're in the US, where the truth is an absolute defence against libel and slander. Were they in the UK, Verizon might actually be in trouble.

Now to get rid of noncompetes (3, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155372)

The unfortunate problem with a deregulated economic system is that, companies want to use deregulation but the power to enforce contracts as a way to not have to compete. Libertarian ideas about competition are just as utopian as socialist ideas about cooperation simply because the smartest thing for a company to do is to not have to spend money and take the sort of risks needed to actually compete. They confine themselves to areas they can patent, they make principals sign non-competes and non-disclosures, obfuscate the relationship between pricing and product all so they can minimize how much they have to actually compete. IF we are to say that companies are to have the means of giving themselves monopolies, then it is fair for liberals to demand that companies accept certain social obligations in exchange for that letters patent effectively granted by the government. Only if companies do not accept the government's help in reducing competition, can they morally make the claim that they are free market and should not be interfered with by the government. Only as much as conservatives demand companies have less monopoly powers can they demand that the government have less power over the companies too.

Re:Now to get rid of noncompetes (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155646)

>>>enforce contracts as a way to not have to compete. Libertarian ideas about competition are just as utopian as socialist ideas about cooperation

I agree, but you forget that you don't "have" to sign contracts. I didn't have a contract with my old Cingular/AT&T service, nor do I have one with my new VirginMobile service. I also don't have a contract with Netscape ISP, or Dish Network. I *chose* not to take their offered contracts, and you could do the same, if you don't like being locked-in for 1-2 years.

   

no contracts (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | more than 3 years ago | (#30157032)

Good point. I don't think most people realize you don't have to sign the contract. However, you usually lsoe all the "free" goodies they are offering to sign up. If you are willing to pay up front for a cell phone, equipment, etc, you normally don't have to sign any long term contracts. It is usually best to compare how much you would pay up front to how much terminating your contract would be,

Re:Now to get rid of noncompetes (2, Insightful)

englishknnigits (1568303) | more than 3 years ago | (#30157020)

You are correct in that a free market cannot exist in the presence of monopolies but that does not mean they need to be regulated. It means they need to be broken up. About competition, you really don't think AT&T and Verizon are competing right now or that AT&T + iPhone didn't drive Verizon to partner with other companies to produce Droid? o.O One of us does not know what the word competition means.

Outcome Didn't Matter Either Way... (3, Insightful)

blcamp (211756) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155378)

IMHO both companies's customer service are horrible, so it's irrelevant to me how good or bad their respective networks are.

They may "hear me now"... but neither has been willing to LISTEN.

Sue Me AT&T!! (1, Funny)

happy_place (632005) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155410)

Okay this could get me sued, but here's a joke I just thought up... (yeah, it's lame) Q. What did the snakecharmer say to advertise his business? A. There's an asp for that. wah-wah-wah...

Misleading Ads Against the Rules? (1)

cpicon92 (1157705) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155418)

Do AT&T really think they can win a case where their only argument is "Verizon has misleading advertising?" Don't "misleading" and "advertising" go hand in hand? Since when is it supposed to be objective?

Re:Misleading Ads Against the Rules? (1)

fatalwall (873645) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155708)

We have limitations to the level of misleading that is allowed. Otherwise they would sell fully unlimited packages, 100% coverage world wide ect when what they really meant was 400minutes and only these 3 states.

Re:Misleading Ads Against the Rules? (3, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155974)

Otherwise they would sell fully unlimited packages, . . . . when what they really meant was 400minutes

They already do that with data. Virtually every cell carrier has unlimited* data.

* Not to exceed 5GB per month.

It'd be like advertising health salt-free* potato chips and everyone just accepting it without griping. Cell phone advertisers and companies these days are border line con-men.

* Excepting salt added for flavor.

Re:Misleading Ads Against the Rules? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156946)

Border line? Now who's the misleading one?

Effective ads (3, Insightful)

intx13 (808988) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155426)

I see these ads a lot; they run often during college football games here in Florida. I have AT&T on a non-3G phone so it doesn't really apply to me, but if I were in the market for a 3G phone I'd definitely want to follow-up on those ads.

I don't think they're misleading - they say "if you want to know why your friend's 3G coverage is so spotty" (or something along those lines, with 3G mentioned every time) and the examples given are all 3G-specific (high-bandwidth applications). Besides, who advertises about the breadth of their 2G service these days? It's very clear that it's talking about 3G.

Truth In Advertising (5, Insightful)

pipboy9999 (1088005) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155436)

This is a little off topic, but if there is one industry that desperately needs some Truth In Advertising laws enforced, its the wireless industry. I don't know why AT&T is so pissed. All the major carriers play up the smallest advantage they have over competitors as 'THE' deciding factor in who is the best carrier. How can Sprint AT&T and Verizon all have the best 3G networks like they each claim in their commercials?

Re:Truth In Advertising (1)

Mr. Esterhouse (849759) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155600)

This is a little off topic, but if there is one industry that desperately needs some Truth In Advertising laws enforced, its the wireless industry. I don't know why AT&T is so pissed. All the major carriers play up the smallest advantage they have over competitors as 'THE' deciding factor in who is the best carrier. How can Sprint AT&T and Verizon all have the best 3G networks like they each claim in their commercials?

Well AT&T claim to have the fastest 3G network, while Verizon says they have the largest. Both is true.

Re:Truth In Advertising (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155634)

From what I have seen AT&T claims they have the "fastest", while Verizon claims it has the "largest". From my own experience, this seems true.

Re:Truth In Advertising (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155792)

If they're anything like the energy sector, all ads have to have the Legal Department's stamp of authority, so in this case, it passes muster.

It's like I used to say when I was a kid, "If your soap is so great, why is the other one the 'leading brand,' shouldn't yours be best?"

Re:Truth In Advertising (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156756)

If your soap is so great, why is the other one the 'leading brand,' shouldn't yours be best?

Well, that's easy enough to answer: What's popular isn't always best, and what's best isn't always the most popular.

Subjective (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156318)

How can Sprint AT&T and Verizon all have the best 3G networks like they each claim in their commercials?

"Best" is a subjective term. Does it mean the fastest 3G? The one with the widest area of coverage? The one with the least amount of downtime? The one with the highest customer satisfaction? Or some selective combination of all the above?

My wish... (3, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155480)

Not having read anything about the case, and I know it can't happen, but just based on how ethical the slashdot comments make AT&T and Verizon appear to be...

Ahem.

I hope they both lose.

AT&T vs Verizon (5, Funny)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155486)

That's a bit like Goliath fighting Goliath. Where the hell is David?

Re:AT&T vs Verizon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30155718)

That's a bit like Goliath fighting Goliath. Where the hell is David?

He's probably cleaning up the two clay lumps of crap that the Goliaths left behind.

Re:AT&T vs Verizon (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156586)

He went back to get more stones. No one said anything about TWO of them! Before leaving, David asked, "What do these guys eat for breakfast?"

shi7&! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30155504)

nearly two years When I stood f0r everyday...We BSD has always

pussy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30155568)

pussy

Truthful ads, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30155598)

Living out in the boonies, where a lot of baby-bells tend to roam, a lot of the bigger companies like AT&T and Verizon have been competing like wildfire. Not too long ago, my friend, who gets service through AT&T and I, who goes through Verizon, decided to see who had better coverage in the plains states by seeing which had better signal coverage. Whenever his service would drop a call, mine would go down to just 1 or no bars, but my calls never got dropped, unless it was a quick and steep incline in the road. Even gradual inclines would drop his service. That pretty much sealed it right there.

Re:Truthful ads, actually (2, Informative)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155818)

I've got a friend who's still driving trucks over the road (long-haul) and he went with Verizon due to coverage. Although their customer service and contracts stink, they do have the widest coverage of all the wireless carriers and if you need service throughout the country, then they're pretty much the only choice.

Actually, I feel for them. (2, Interesting)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155746)

I've personally fallen for a similar scam (or so I felt) when I bought a digital camera. The camera included a "lithium digital camera battery" but failed to mention that it was a throw-away, non-rechargeable battery. When I got it home and opened it, I was exasperated to read the documentation and find that the rechargeable batteries are "lithium-ion" and I'm expected to buy them separately – and to add insult to injury, at inflated prices. Yeah, I made an uninformed decision when I bought the camera, but I felt that Kodak (yes, I'll name names) deliberately tried to leave it confusing so that people would do exactly as I did.

Truth in advertising, IMHO, would be served if Verizon was required to put a tagline to the effect that "Note: Normal cellular calling coverage may extend outside the 3G-covered area". A lot of normal users don't know the difference between "3G" and regular talk coverage any more than I knew the difference between "lithium" and "lithium-ion" batteries.

Re:Actually, I feel for them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156094)

I've personally fallen for a similar scam (or so I felt) when I bought a digital camera. The camera included a "lithium digital camera battery" but failed to mention that it was a throw-away, non-rechargeable battery. When I got it home and opened it, I was exasperated to read the documentation and find that the rechargeable batteries are "lithium-ion" and I'm expected to buy them separately – and to add insult to injury, at inflated prices. Yeah, I made an uninformed decision when I bought the camera, but I felt that Kodak (yes, I'll name names) deliberately tried to leave it confusing so that people would do exactly as I did.

Might as well toss the camera as well; go with either Nikon or Canon.

Re:Actually, I feel for them. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156232)

Hm, well, I'll take AC's recommendations into some appropriate level of consideration if I go into the market for a new one. ;)

It actually broke, and I can't even blame it on Kodak – it fell from a 2nd story window onto a sidewalk; yikes. However, the camera still works, without its lens, and takes amazing close-ups. You can read the micro-printed line where you put your signature on a check... imagine this [echecksecure.com] taken at 3.1 MP with the microprint taking up 10 or 20% of the vertical resolution instead of a measly 2%. The main problem is getting enough light on the subject to take a proper picture.

Re:Actually, I feel for them. (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156872)

A lot of normal users also don't understand the difference between hard drive storage and memory. Do you suggest that we have a dissertation about these differences on every product that contains either or both of these technologies? At some point consumer ignorance can no longer be an excuse. How can an industry really decide how far they have to go in explaining a product before they've done a sufficient enough of a job as to avoid lawsuits?

As far as I'm concerned, as long as it's apples to apples I have no problem with these comparisons. If I went to buy a product and I didn't understand the terminology in a comparison chart I would take the time to understand what exactly I'm buying into. Not just run off and decided that whatever they were trying to push off on me was gooder just because some chart said so.

Damn them all (2, Insightful)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155748)

It would be nice to be able to go to a generic cell service store where there's a two step process to getting a phone: 1. select a phone, 2. select a carrier. Have it all laid out right there in one store. No need to stick with one carrier because you want a certain phone, more innovation on the cell phone side since manufacturers don't have to worry about carriers laying out the rules, and carriers forced to really compete with services because they can't guarantee users through phone lock-ins. I know that probably won't happen here in the US anytime soon, if ever, but a nice happy thought to ponder while I sip on my coffee.

Re:Damn them all (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#30155836)

In the EU, you can. Lots of high-street cellphone shops carry all the networks. They also sell sim-free, unlocked (and therefore unsubsidised, full price) handsets, and SIM-only contracts/pay as you go, as well as the usual bundles. Or you can get a sim-free phone from eBay or http://www.expansys.com/ [expansys.com] and stick any SIM in it...

Re:Damn them all (1)

joeyblades (785896) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156124)

In Austin Texas, we have a couple of stores similar to what you propose. They're called Wireless Toyz. There you can look at hundreds of phones and accessories and multiple carriers. You can get practically anything you want there.

Re:Damn them all (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156896)

In Canada we have stores like that... almost.

They cover the [one|two|three|three-and-a-half] carriers that service your area. You go in and select a carrier and a phone. Except you have to select those two together because the phones are all locked and half the networks are incompatible with the other half.

It's actually pretty darkly humorous.

Maps (4, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156064)

You can't really compare the maps anyway.

Verizon's map is a coverage area map. They paint broad swaths of area where they have towers, but don't show any gaps in signal. Even up here in Verizon country (New England), I found that Verizon has plenty of dead zones where I don't get signal yet I'm in an area of the map that says I should. Verizon just takes each tower (I guess) and paints a circle around it with the theoretical diameter that the tower could reach.

AT&T's map, as far as I can see, is an actual signal map If I zoom in on it, I see predicted levels of signal and gaps in coverage that correspond roughly with the gaps I actually experience when I'm going places. It's not perfectly accurate, of course, but at least it makes the apparent attempt to be honest about actual signal. I don't know how they do it - perhaps they simply check terrain in Google Earth and look for landscape that "shadows" a tower. But whatever - I find it's very rare for me to lose signal in areas where the AT&T map shows coverage.

So, while Verizon may technically be accurate in stating that they have better "3G coverage" nationwide, I bet if you actually compared signal (that is, areas where you can actually get a 3G signal, and not areas within x miles of a tower regardless of terrain), Verizon's map would look a whole lot less thorough.

Verizon has the better 3G coverage. Fine, I get that. Of course, I don't have a 3G capable phone so I really don't care. But I get that it is important to some people. Verizon even has (marginally) better Voice/non-3G Data coverage here in New England.

But I had no way of honestly comparing them based on the coverage maps. AT&T showed me incomplete coverage that matched my real-world experience with my prepaid Go! phone. Verizon showed absolute 100% coverage everywhere which certainly did NOT match our experience with my wife's Verizon phone.

Example: My mother lives in a small town on the coast. When I go to her house, coverage is VERY spotty - you basically have to be near a window to get a bar or two. Verizon and AT&T have the exact same actual signal - very low (1-2 bars) and you have to pretty much be at a window standing still to make a call and have any hope of completing a conversation. My wife's Verizon phone and my AT&T phone were pretty much identical in performance.

The maps tell a very different story. AT&T shows my mother's house as "no coverage" along with a good chunk of the peninsula she lives on. Verizon shows the entire peninsula she lives on with full-on 3G coverage, no gaps whatsoever. Most of the peninsula has *no coverage of any kind* with AT&T or Verizon.

  I finally concluded that I'd rather be told the truth, and when my company offered the choice of carriers for my Crackberry I went with AT&T. It didn't hurt, of course, that Verizon also locks out the GPS on the models we had, and AT&T allows me to use it (Verizon CLAIMED you could, but then they told you afterward that you had to buy the $10/month TeleNav service and even then you STILL wouldn't be allowed to use the GPS with anything other than TeleNav, Blackberry Maps, and Google Maps).

I have no particular love for AT&T, but at least they appear to be making an effort at honesty about their signal coverage, and when they sell me a phone with a feature installed they let me use the feature.

Re:Maps (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156336)

I dunno - call me old fashioned - I don't think AT&T should have dead zones in the middle of a city (like Seattle) or other cities. I don't live there anymore, but I do live in another city where they claim solid blue (3g) coverage for the entire city - no dead spots wherever. Its an outright lie, and my phone gets zero bars in my office (no calls, no data what-so-ever) while all my friends who have verizon phones seem to never have dead spots in the same building or around town.

Interestingly - when I went back to Seattle for a convention my phone missed 3 calls on AT&T because of lack of coverage - where was I? In the Seattle Convention center in the middle of town - c'mon...

Re:Maps (2, Interesting)

mcb (5109) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156594)

Might not be AT&T's fault... my office used to have solid Verizon coverage but no AT&T reception. If I stepped outside I had full 3G on my iPhone. Anywhere indoors, I had no service.

It turned out they were using Verizon repeaters in the building. They removed them one day and ever since, AT&T users have had full coverage inside.

Re:Maps (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#30157022)

We had the same problem in one of our buildings for a while - putting in Verizon-specific repeaters. Somehow, they interfere with other signal. Imagine that. The AT&T repeater never borked Verizon signal, but once you put in the Verizon repeater even the AT&T repeater wasn't enough to get signal.

Rip 'em out, replace 'em with a set of Wilson or other third-party non-carrier-specific repeater, Life Is Good.

Re:Maps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156530)

I didn't read your complete post, but you make an excellent point. Why not make carriers PROVE signal strength in areas they claim coverage. Actually go out and measure the level (and speed) of their network. This process would have to be vetted prior to publishing or advertising coverage. I think we ALL might be surprised (including the carriers) by the actual coverage.

Who needs that much 3G coverage? (2, Insightful)

mcb (5109) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156086)

Just curious if people really care that much about nationwide 3G coverage. Unless you travel constantly to many different states, what matters most is local coverage.

I visited northern NH for a week this summer and didn't have 3G (on AT&T). I barely noticed.

Recall Pizza Hut vs. Papa John's (2, Interesting)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156386)

Pizza Hut sued Papa John's because Papa John's was claiming "better ingredients, better pizza." Pizza Hut lost. These lawsuits are a stupid waste of courts' time--and of taxpayer money.

Maybe I'll boycott AT&T for awhile . . ..

Ads? (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 3 years ago | (#30156458)

Anyone have a link to the ads? As is common with lawsuits, I want to see why AT&T is suing.

Re:Ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156660)

http://gizmodo.com/5399850/verizon-wireless-launches-three-more-anti+att-3g-network-commercials

Counter commercials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#30156850)

I think that Verizon's commercial isn't misleading, and is pretty good. I have always liked Verizon over other cell companies. That being said, with the recent issues with the Droid camera, a good counter commercial should be someone using the iphone and the someone else using the Droid to take pictures of someone, (Of course the Droid would have a fuzzy screen) while the person posing for the picture says to the Droid phone owner, "[Sarcastically] Can you see me know?"
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