When Sling released the $29.99 Slingplayer app for the iPhone back in May, AT&T restricted it from streaming live TV over its 3G service because they were worried the overload of data would bring its cell service to its knees. Poor AT&T. This week AT&T has come out and stated they have been working closely with Sling to optimize Slingplayer’s streaming capabilities so that it would not hurt AT&T’s customers. As soon as Apple approves it, a free update will allow Slingers to stream their content over 3G, in addition to WiFi. With news of AT&T approving VoIP calls and now Sling streaming over 3G, it seems as if AT&T at long last has come to accept the fact that restricting significant features on its most popular device is a major no-no.
Remember the “there’s a map for that” commercial created by Verizon? It’s been playing on the airwaves for some time now. So if you haven’t seen it here I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Anyway..AT&T has gone ahead and sued Verizon for showcasing their lack of 3G against VZ’s 3G-filled map. In their own words:
In essence, we believe the ads mislead consumers into believing that AT&T doesn’t offer ANY wireless service in the vast majority of the country. In fact, AT&T’s wireless network blankets the US, reaching approximately 296M people. Additionally, our 3G service is available in over 9,600 cities and towns. Verizon’s misleading advertising tactics appear to be a response to AT&T’s strong leadership in smartphones. We have twice the number of smartphone customers… and we’ve beaten them two quarters in a row on net post-paid subscribers. We also had lower churn — a sign that customers are quite happy with the service they receive.
After further investigation Engadget has made further revelations about the matter: “AT&T thinks Verizon is trying to fool viewers into thinking that they can’t use any AT&T phone services outside of 3G coverage areas by showing two essentially different maps. Since Verizon’s entire network is 3G, the gaps in the red map are actual service gaps — but Verizon doesn’t show that the gaps on the AT&T map might be covered by AT&T’s huge 2G network. We can see how that could be misleading, but at some point you’ve got to compare apples to apples, and AT&T even says it has “no quarrel with Verizon advertising its larger 3G network” in its complaint, so we’ll see how the court reacts.”
Apparently VZ has changed the ads, removing the phrase “out of touch” and replacing it with ”Voice and data services available outside of 3G areas” disclaimer. Still AT&T remains on guard and Engadget reports that they think ”the ads still confuse non-technical viewers into thinking AT&T provides no service at all outside of its 3G coverage.”
All in all, I find this quarell between AT&T and Verizon quite insignificant. I am forced to favor Verion for the mere fact that their ad simply carries the truth; Verizon Wireless graces much more land with 3G coverage and AT&T’s 3G coverage, well, sucks. (Take this from personal experience.) Instead of battling for the removal of a competitive ad campaign (as slightly misleading as it may be), AT&T should be focused on their 3G services and coverage.