AT&T has filed a lawsuit against Verizon, claiming that their recent ‘There’s a Map for That’ ad campaign is offensive and misleading and is resulting the loss of “incalculable market share.”
In essence, we believe the ads mislead consumers into believing that AT&T doesn’t offer ANY wireless service in the vast majority of the country. In fact, AT&T’s wireless network blankets the US, reaching approximately 296M people. Additionally, our 3G service is available in over 9,600 cities and towns. Verizon’s misleading advertising tactics appear to be a response to AT&T’s strong leadership in smartphones. We have twice the number of smartphone customers… and we’ve beaten them two quarters in a row on net post-paid subscribers. We also had lower churn — a sign that customers are quite happy with the service they receive.
AT&T claims the map is misleading although it clearly states that it is depicting 3G coverage.Verizon began an aggressive series of marketing campaigns targeting the iPhone dynamic duo of AT&T and Apple. It began with the ‘There’s a Map for That’ ads, playing off of the iPhone ‘There’s an App for That’ marketing slogan and illustrating how Verizon has 5 times more 3G network coverage than AT&T. It followed that up with the iDon’t campaign, highlighting weaknesses of the iPhone and stating that the upcoming Android-based Droid can do all of those things and more.
AT&T doesn’t claim that the information related to 3G coverage is wrong, but the customers that view the map are too dumb to understand tahat it refers only to 3G coverage, and not coverage at all.
The claim itself is just silly. People aren’t really that dumb.
The lawsuit may be a bad strategic move for AT&T because it can have the exact opposite effect. AT&T has asked for an injunction to prevent Verizon from continuing the ad campaign so that customers won’t continue to see the stark contrast of the 3G networks from each provider. The result is that the marketing campaign is getting tons of attention and free advertising, and customers are led to question what AT&T is trying to hide.
AT&T marketing claims that it has the ‘fastest 3G network’. For customers who live within the city limits of major urban centers that may be great, but for the people living in the white part of the map in the Verizon ad having the biggest 3G network is a more relevant claim. In an industry that is already moving on to 4G networks, not having 3G coverage is the same as no coverage for all intents and purposes.
What AT&T needs to realize is that it’s a smart phone world. Mobile phones are not just phones any more–they’re being replaced by mobile computing devices. Yes, AT&T has coverage of some sort in the vast majority of the blank white space depicted on the map in the Verizon ad, but that coverage is not sufficient to meet the needs of devices that rely on broadband connectivity.