Earlier this month, AT&T filed suit against rival Verizon over a series of Verizon commercials attacking AT&T's wireless network, claiming that the ads were "blatantly false and misleading".
Late yesterday, Engadget reported that Verizon had filed a 53-page legal response to the lawsuit, and taken the opportunity to focus the case on what it claims is AT&T's failure to commit the resources to build out its network appropriately. The tone of Verizon's response is set from the very first sentence of its response's introduction:
AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon's "There's A Map For That" advertisements are untrue; AT&T sued because Verizon's ads are true and the truth hurts.
Six pages later, Verizon concludes its introduction with a similar take:
In the final analysis, AT&T seeks emergency relief because Verizon's side-by-side, apples-to-apples 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 smartphone business, and the usefulness of its service to smartphone users has suffered accordingly. AT&T may not like the message that the ads send, but this Court should reject its efforts to silence the messenger.
I hate that AT&T has been put in this predicament - it does have an inferior network to Verizon - I'm not sure that it matters to 90% of the people who have phones or even 90% of iPhone users - EDGE to me - especially when I weathered 56k speeds creating media rich web content in the 90's - is acceptable. In fact, my iPhone on EDGE, it seems quite fast. I think this is the main gist of AT&T's argument. Verizon is claiming that it's 3G network is better because it's bigger and has a fancy map to show it.
Several discussions have popped up here on this site over the last month regarding this ... Verizon is in a completely different boat than AT&T is or was - and continues to be.
First, AT&T's investment has been somewhat stunted by the Cingular, SBC, Bellsouth merger. I do believe AT&T is just now recovering from that internal accounting and network management fiasco. There was a whole lot of tower lease wrangling, image management, lawsuits from employees, taking care of severance packages, etc. This merger only happened 2 years ago! I am not apologizing for AT&T in any way for AT&T's network. When i got my wife an iPhone, the first complaint she had was about the dropped calls and slow speeds where we lived BUT it HAS gotten better.
Further, what a lot of people - including Verizon's lawyers - don't know is - AT&T has a few extra tidbits of evidence up it's sleeve to disprove those "there's a map for that" maps. (see my other posts below)