Verizon seeking judgment on 'Most Reliable' ad claims

Verizon Wireless filed a lawsuit against chief rival AT&T Mobility, asking a U.S. judge to determine whether its "America's Most Reliable 3G Network" ads are truthful, a claim AT&T has said is misleading. 

Verizon filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan in response to AT&T's claims that Verizon's advertising was false could not be supported. On July 1, according to the claim, AT&T filed a challenge with the National Advertising Division of the Council for Better Business Bureaus, and sought to have Verizon's advertising declared false. However, Verizon countered that its claims of having "America's Most Reliable 3G Network," "America's Best 3G Network" and "America's Most Reliable Wireless Network" are "truthful, accurate and substantiated," and are not in violation of the trademark law known as the Lanham Act.

Verizon said that AT&T's claims were based on a false premise that speed is an essential element in measuring network reliability.

"AT&T's claim that speed is an essential component of 3G network reliability and that its formula is the proper standard for measuring 3G network reliability is without any support whatsoever," Verizon said in its filing. "Neither the normal and customary usage of the term ‘reliable,' nor any established industry standard, requires that speed be included in measuring the reliability of a 3G network."

AT&T offered a rebuttal, naturally.

"Verizon's claim that speed is not a relevant factor to a reliable 3G network is preposterous," AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said in a statement, according to Reuters. "Data network speed is an essential factor to consumers when it comes to data transmission on their wireless devices. The 3G reliability claims made in ads by Verizon Wireless are false and misleading."

The issue highlights the intense competition between the nation's two largest carriers. Verizon Wireless passed AT&T Mobility recently as the nation's largest wireless operator in terms of subscribers when it acquired Alltel. However, AT&T gained a small edge in the second quarter of this year, posting more net subscriber additions than Verizon.

Further, Verizon's lawsuit represents the latest squabble over advertising claims in the wireless industry. In the past, Sprint Nextel, Verizon Wireless and Cingular Wireless have argued over similar issues.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article

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