AT&T, Verizon drop suits over 3G coverage ads

Expect more of Verizon's "there's a map for that" TV ads

AT&T today asked the court to dismiss its lawsuit that sought to prevent Verizon from continuing to run the commercials. Verizon also dropped the suit it filed against AT&T in response, according to an AT&T spokesman.

The Verizon ads at the heart of the dispute display two maps of the U.S., one showing AT&T's sparse 3G coverage and the other showing Verizon's more extensive 3G network. Some of the initial ads riffed on the iPhone advertisement "there's an app for that" phrase with "there's a map for that."

AT&T argued that the ads implied that customers get no coverage at all outside of the 3G network. But Verizon pointed out the ads clearly state that both maps show 3G coverage. AT&T sought an injunction to prevent the ads as well as damages.

In mid-November, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied AT&T's request for an injunction that would have immediately required Verizon to stop using the ads.

The lawsuit points to heated competition among mobile operators. While AT&T has benefited by being the only operator in the U.S. to sell the popular iPhone, it has also come under intense criticism from customers who complain of poor network performance. Verizon has said that it would like to sell the iPhone, but presumably an exclusive deal between Apple and AT&T is preventing that.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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