November 19, 2009
The battle between AT&T (NYSE: T ) and Verizon Wireless is heating up.
Now that AT&T has been shot down in its attempts to get Verizon Wireless to take down its "there's a map for that ads" promoting greater 3G coverage, it's rolling out its own attack ads.
In the first spot, AT&T enlists Luke Wilson to give the carrier the nod over Verizon Wireless in the first of four categories:
- Nation's fastest 3G network.
- Talk and surf at the same time.
- Most popular smartphones.
- Access to more than 100,000 apps.
Verizon nabs the final category: Name that starts with the letter V.
It's a hokey ad, and it certainly isn't as damaging as the zinger that Verizon Wireless -- a joint venture between Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) and Vodafone (NYSE: VOD ) -- put out a couple of weeks ago.
AT&T's campaign may also backfire if Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) opens up its iPhone availability to Verizon Wireless next year, as many expect. Half of those AT&T category kills are based on the carrier's exclusivity with Apple's iPhone.
However, it's important for AT&T to attack. The Verizon coverage map may be deceptive, given the country's population density, but it's sure to resonate with users. AT&T's refusal to back iPhone tethering and its overloaded networks are weighing heavy on its reputation. It has a lock on the iPhone -- as Verizon Wireless is down to pitching "buy one get one free" Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) BlackBerry deals -- but the ill will is bubbling.
AT&T is right to attack, but sometimes the best offense is a good defense.
Take the Motley Poll
If you could use the iPhone on any carrier, which one would you choose?