Testing Verizon’s Claims that AT&T 3G Coverage Blows

  • Comments: 23
  • Written on: November 16th, 2009

3g-verizon-att-mapIn early October Verizon started running a commercial series comparing their 3G wireless coverage to AT&T’s 3G coverage. The commercials got AT&T’s attention, and they requested Verizon modify the campaign.

AT&T says that the 3G coverage maps featured in the campaign, as well as the depicted frustration of iPhone users lead viewers to believe that AT&T users can’t use their wireless devices at all across the majority of the country.

Here’s the primary commercial they are frustrated with:

I am an iPhone user myself and I can testify to my level of frustration when I can’t drive down Interstate 80 between Lincoln and Omaha NE without my call dropping. That’s not even 3G – That’s a straight cell call. AT&T finally got coverage across Lincoln, NE – a population of over 230,000 people – this summer.

Here Comes the Judge

AT&T is now suing Verizon over the commercial series. Their complaint states:

Verizon’s advertisements also depict AT&T customers as frustrated or sad and unable to meet their friends as the map showing swaths of white or blank space hovers over the fictional AT&T customer’s head, reinforcing the misleading message conveyed by the maps; that AT&T has no coverage and thus AT&T customers cannot use their wireless devices in large portions of the United States.

AT&T goes on to claim:

[AT&T is] losing incalculable market share, invaluable goodwill that it has spent billions of dollars to develop among consumers, and the significant investment it has made in its wireless network.

I think this comes down to a pretty basic question. Is Verizon challenging the 3G coverage AT&T offers or AT&T’s overall coverage of any kind.

Hello AT&T check out the GIANT “3G COVERAGE” label under the maps. I think it is pretty clear that they are claiming that Verizon has a superior 3G coverage network. How AT&T things the commercials make people fell is irrelevant.

The Kinda-Scientific Test

I decided I would solve this case for whatever unfortunate judge has to hear it before it even goes to court.

I hopped in my car and departed from Omaha, NE where Verizon’s map shows AT&T has 3G coverage and drove toward Des Moines, IA.

According to Verizon, I should lose my 3G coverage when I leave Omaha and should not regain it until I am in DesMoins. Click here for my route.

I updated my findings via Twitter as my wife and I drove the route. Here is the coverage I experienced in reality:

  • Testing Verizon’s AT&T map. 3g signal lost at IA mile marker 11 on I80 in Iowa. So far Verizon’s map is accurate.
  • No AT&T signal whatsoever from IA I80 mile marker 14 through 17 12:14 PM Nov 14th
  • No AT&T 3g from I80 mile marker 11 through mile marker 83. 1:06 PM Nov 14th
  • No AT&T signal at all from I80 IA mile marker 83 through 87 1:07 PM Nov 14th
  • No AT&T 3g from I80 IA mile marker 87 through 101. No signal at all from 101 to 103 1:19 PM Nov 14th

The Verdict

The bottom line is that in the test I conducted, Verizon’s map is accurate and their advertisement is very true.

If anything, they were generous to AT&T because there were many times when I had to type and hold a Twitter update because I could not get ANY cellular or data coverage at all on the AT&T network.

All of my technicians in the shop are flashing their Droid phones and while I love my iPhone, the plan is super expensive and lets be honest – the 3G coverage just isn’t the best around.

Best Buy and Sprint Seeking Netbook Suckers

  • Comments: 10
  • Written on: July 7th, 2009

Remember the gold old days when you could get a free computer as long as you agreed to pay a monthly dial-up provider like AOL $30 a month for slow, overpriced Internet access?

Well grab your credit cards and put on your bifocals! The deal has returned courtesy of Best Buy and Sprint, but this time the screen is a bit smaller.

ZDNet is reporting that the two companies are partnering to offer a Compaq-branded HP Mini 110c netbook for only 99 cents when you sign a two-year 3G Internet contract.

These free computer offers are REALLY tempting because consumers in a recession-battered economy get what they want right now – a new computer – by signing a promise to give more money later.

Breaking Down the Numbers

Under this deal, you get the $389 retail value netbook for only $.99. The contract costs about $60 a month, so if you multiply that by 24 months, you would find that the contract will cost you $1,441 over its two year term.

Obviously the Sprint 3G connection is portable, so you are paying a price premium on your Internet connection to be able to take it with you anywhere you go. Additionally, there are limits to how much Internet connectivity you can use before additional charges get lumped in.

For the sake of comparison, the cost for you to buy this netbook and use it on a budget cable modem or DSL connection would be much, much less expensive.

Try $20 a month for the DSL Internet connection and $389 for the netbook. The total cost over 2 years is only $869 – a savings of $572 over two years (nearly $24 a month).

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