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.

Absolute iPhone Disgust – An Apple Service Nightmare Rant

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: September 17th, 2009

I can’t believe a company like Apple or even AT&T can treat their customers this way and expect to keep them loyal. Here is what I just sent to Apple’s feedback email address (like anyone will ever read it):

I don’t even know where to begin. My business iPhone just died in the middle of a text message today. It will not turn on again at all. It was purchased October 11, 2008 (less than a year old) at the AT&T store in Lincoln, NE (68516).

I live in Omaha, NE (68108) and there is an Apple store here. I called 611 from my iPhone to find out what we need to do to get her phone replaced. After 5 dropped calls, and a total of more than 20 minutes on hold, I finally got through to an Apple support representative (who was really an AT&T support representative).

He informed me that AT&T does not have any stores in Omaha. (Here’s a link to the half-dozen AT&T stores in Omaha )

I read him the numbers for the first three, and he tried to call and was unable to get through to a representative (in one case the number was disconnected!)

I gave up on him and called the AT&T store where I bought the phone in Lincoln and spoke to the manager. He informed me that the AT&T store where we bought the iPhone can’t replace it at all. Even though my phone is less than a year old, it has to be done at an Apple store. No exceptions.

So I called the Apple store. The representative there told me that he couldn’t set up an appointment at the Genius Bar, so I would have to go online and do it.

FRUSTRATING. SO now an hour after I started, I go online only to find that I have to wait 2 DAYS for an appointment.

Needless to say at this moment I am seriously missing my HTC touch from Sprint. I doubt anyone will actually read this, and if anyone does they won’t be empowered to do anything about it in my case or as part of an aggregated policy, but it makes me feel better to send it.

I love my iPhone, but this is not the Apple service that has differentiated your company in the past, and I can honestly say I will be looking at other options in the future for my business telephone needs.

Joel Comm’s Continuing Innovation is Awe-Inspiring

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: January 11th, 2009

I first met Joel Comm on the set of The Next Internet Millionaire, and I have to confess, I knew nothing about him. He was just some guy with a funny little goetee (we nicknamed it “The Comm” on the set).

Joel inspires me because he is the true essence of an entrepreneur. He is always looking for opportunity and is always finding it in the cleverest places.

iPhone Delete Multiple Email Problem Solved

  • Comments: 12
  • Written on: March 20th, 2008

Long story short, I figured it out and here is how you can experience the pure joy of checking email on your iPhone, avoiding almost all spam, AND as a special bonus have everything you do on your iPhone synchronized with your Outlook email client in REAL TIME matter where you are in the world!

iPhone Pros and Cons by a PC Guy

  • Comments: 11
  • Written on: March 10th, 2008

As was reinforced by the device in that associate’s hand, going with Apple is cool and all, but as soon as it comes to getting the money in the bank, even Apple relies on a PC 😉

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