The Evil Empire sues the (slightly less evil) Big Red, both are right.

[[Author's note: Yesterday (02 Dec, 09) AT&T and Verizon announced the cessation of their respective legal actions, thus leaving this piece somewhat dated even before I had finished writing it. I decided to press on and finish the piece anyway as most of my points are still valid.]]

So, most of you are probably at least peripherally aware of the ongoing "war" between AT&T and Verizon. It started when Verizon geared up for the release of it's new Android-based smartphone line and released two sets of advertisements (the 'Droid Does/iDon't' ads and the "There's a map for that" ads") designed to try to lure dissatisfied jesusPhone users away from the Death Star folks and to drum up interest in their new flagship device.

AT&T responded by attempting to get a court order to pull Verizon's 'Map' ads and file a lawsuit alleging that they (the ads) were misleading to consumers. Their argument was that despite the maps being labeled in large clear lettering "3G Service Coverage" that consumers won't realize that non-3G services (ie 2G and 2.5G services such as EDGE and voice calling in the case of AT&T) might be available in the 'white space' on the map. Here is where I become rather divided in my opinions.

1. In a competition based entirely around convincing consumers that they need 3G services and 3G capable phones (ie the jesusPhone marketing) and wild claims about the quality, reliability and availability of the supporting network why would it not be fair game to compare actual coverage areas?

2. A mobile carrier calling for things to be made clearer to customers, that is good for a laugh given that most of their business consists of trying to confuse people into signing on for the most expensive possible contract.

3. In this case AT&T comes off as a whiner who doesn't like people pointing out that they blew their money on fancy toys instead of improving their ability to deliver their services to customers.

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