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Dec. 2 2009 - 4:40 pm | 786 views | 2 recommendations | 11 comments

Why Verizon’s anti-AT&T commercials are funnier than it realizes

But here's what I'm not telling you...

AT&T sure did pick a smart time to bury the hatchet with Verizon. It turns out that AT&T’s 3G coverage map, small and laughable as it is, is even smaller than what we see on the Verizon commercials. The covered areas apparently include AT&T’s partners, which means you can get 3G service with towers that do not belong to AT&T, but are in a sharing agreement with the carrier. The only problem is that it costs AT&T a little extra to provide service through those towers, so if you go over a certain limit, AT&T will warn you, then shut off your service if you continue to consume data over that limit.

According to R. Scott Raynovich of Light Reading:

Upon arriving in Bozeman, my wife discovered some flaky data operation on her iPhone. After checking the AT&T map on the Website, we were assured that there was coverage in the Bozeman area. The icon on the phone showed full coverage. We couldn’t figure out why the data access wasn’t working properly.

Approximately one month later, AT&T began sending notes to my wife, making it known that they wanted to shut the data access off. We were consuming too much data, they complained. I called AT&T’s customer care and they informed me that, according to the iPhone Terms of Use, they reserved the right to turn off the data access to the iPhone whenever they want.

Why? I asked.

Here’s how it merges with the map controversy. The official AT&T customer service rep pointed out that that map on their Websites differentiates between 3G access via partners versus AT&T’s own towers. That distinction is not being shown on the current AT&T TV commercials featuring Luke Wilson, which appear to be running 58 times a day on NFL Sundays.

via Light Reading – Luke Wilson’s War – Telecom.

If you take a look at AT&T’s website, you’ll notice that a good chunk of its EDGE and GPRS coverage are split with other partnerships, too! AT&T accused Verizon of confusing customers regarding coverage, and that its maps don’t accurately depict just how much AT&T’s data networks cover. It’s true because we now realize it’s the opposite of what AT&T wants us to believe. If you move to an area where there is AT&T data coverage, like Raynovich and his wife did, but it’s via a partnership, you’re screwed.


3 T/S Member Comments Called Out, 11 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    Good to know. This tweet I saw today totally sums up how I feel about dealing with AT&T coverage:

    @jayblackcomedy–If the iPhone is the world’s sexiest woman, AT&T is the STD you kinda know she has, but that you’re too horny to think clearly about.

  2. collapse expand

    What’s really great is AT&T is the only US carrier that runs software on their SIM cards to hide what network you are really on when you are in the US.

    Verizon, Sprint, and T-mobile, the other 3 tier-1 carriers in the US all tell their users when they are roaming.

    A few years back a bunch of students at Central Michigan University had their cell service shut off because AT&T (then Cingular) said they were roaming too much. Except they’d never know it because the phone always said Cingular regardless of what network they were really on.

    What’s really funny is when you’re in a state that is ex-Alltel, now Verizon, where no native AT&T coverage is. Along I-80 in Nebraska AT&T handsets roam on Verizon’s GSM/EDGE roaming network but still says AT&T. Without Verizon’s roaming network AT&T would have no service.

    AT&T should be fined for lying to their customers for several years and forced to stop hiding what network you’re on.

    • collapse expand

      I think I may have heard about those students on HowardForums. It seems to affect college students the most: they sign up for service at home and everything is fine, then they move away for college and they’re roaming like crazy. The carriers, to their credit, will issue a warning that typically advises the customer to start looking or another carrier if they continue to roam. I think most carriers give you 30 days to look for another carrier if you’ve moved to an area where you’ll be roaming all the time, and they let you go without charging a termination fee. The downside is your phone could effectively become a brick in your hands and you’ll have to deal with selling it on eBay or Craigslist.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    Giant tele-communication company’s decisions always use to cater through the decades, and most likely it occurred once again.

  4. collapse expand

    A good piece of info is when At&T will lose it’s iron grip on the i-phone …. any word?

  5. collapse expand

    I never thought AT&T was so bad, I mean, I knew they dropped calls all the time but I didn’t realize about the roaming thing. I have a Straight Talk phone which is a prepaid that runs on Verizon’s network nationwide so I never have to pay any extras for long distance or roaming or anything. I just pay $45 per month and I get unlimited talk, texts and data without the contract.

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    I'm a tech blogger, though that title annoys me. For the past few years, I'd been writing for Boy Genius Report, but I am now at MobileCrunch. You can follow my True/Slant page on Twitter @Digitalia, or if you're interested in what I snack on or when I take cigarette breaks, follow my personal Twitter account @mdflores.

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