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AT&T Fires Back at Verizon with 'X and V' Commercial

AT&T Fires Back at Verizon with
November 19, 2009 2:15PM

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AT&T is responding to Verizon's 3G map commercials with its own "X and V" commercial. In the commercial, actor Luke Wilson gives AT&T an X for its features, while Verizon gets credit only for starting with the letter V. AT&T's response comes after the carrier lost a court fight to suppress Verizon's ads. Observers said it's a battle for public image.

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AT&T isn't holding back in responding to attacks from Verizon Wireless. After losing a court fight to stop Verizon from airing commercials that pointed out holes in AT&T's 3G service, AT&T is responding with its own commercial.

On Wednesday, the wireless carrier unveiled a commercial featuring actor Luke Wilson. In the commercial, Wilson gives AT&T an X for everything he said AT&T provides to subscribers, including a 3G network, the ability to surf the Internet while on the phone, and access to a phone with more than 100,000 apps.

Verizon, on the other hand, gets credit only for starting with the letter V.

Sour Taste

AT&T's move comes after its complaint in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, asking a judge for a restraining order to stop Verizon from airing the controversial ads, was denied.

The Verizon ads feature a Verizon smartphone user with access in most places throughout the U.S. as shown on a map of nationwide coverage. Verizon aimed the television and radio ads against AT&T's 3G network, which has been the source of complaints from smartphone users for some time.

Verizon stood behind its ad and said AT&T's complaint had no merit. "With more and more people buying 3G smartphones, PDAs and embedded laptops, our ads serve to inform customers where their 3G smartphone apps will work," Verizon's Nancy Stark told us.

AT&T also took its argument to the web.

"As the U.S. market leader in wireless data service, we typically don't respond to competitors' advertising," wrote the company on its web site. "However, some recent ads from Verizon are so blatantly false and misleading, that we want to set the record straight about AT&T's wireless data coverage."

AT&T goes on to tell customers that its coverage reaches 303 million people and consists of three different types of technology, including 3G, EDGE and GPRS, that allow users to surf the web, talk, text and send e-mail.

AT&T's court complaint showed the company is concerned about users' perception of its 3G network, some observers said.

Proving a Point

While some say AT&T's ads are in response to losing its court battle against Verizon, others say the ad was created to show potential subscribers that Verizon is wrong.

"AT&T is meeting Verizon on its own terms by taking the battle public," said Ramon Llamas, an IDC analyst. "I also think AT&T is trying to respond to criticisms that Verizon tried to raise in its commercials. The real proof (on how well the ads work) will be among users who rely on friends and colleagues who will tell them about their own experience."

Verizon and AT&T will meet again in court on Dec. 16.

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