AT&T: How low can you go?

Update: A friend pointed out to me that AT&T is, in fact, technically correct in its “Two phones” ad below. It seems that the CDMA protocol itself has the limitation that it can not simultaneously transmit voice and data, hence the claim. I was under the impression that you couldn’t call a network “3G” (as per Wikipedia) if it could not do voice + data at the same time, but apparently not. In either case, I stand corrected. But I still find that AT&T ads pretty tasteless.

I’m really blown away by AT&T‘s recent commercials attacking Verizon. I’d like to point out that for better or for worse, I’m currently stuck with AT&T (and have been for the past 5 years), so believe me, I’d love to see AT&T succeed in earnest. But looking at these ads, I can’t help but wonder — just how stupid does AT&T think we are?

Consider, for instance, the famous “headless” commercial:

Exactly what does “downloading myself” mean? Anyone can make a video like this but unless you have numbers and real demos to back it up, its just hogwash. Here is what I consider a realistic download test:

And then there is the “two phones” ad:

All AT&T is saying here is that look, we are cool because we have iPhone? Will someone from AT&T put down on paper their claim that you just can’t talk and surf on Verizon at the same time? It is obvious that this is merely a property of the phone itself, not the network. Verizon is going to get iPhone 4G later year — then what? And upcoming Android based phones are already showing how lame this claim really is.

It is clear that the “maps” commercials from Verizon did not go down with AT&T and this is just a knee-jerk reaction. The difference is, the Verizon commercials actually make a very valid point.

Seriously AT&T, you can do better than this. Looking at these ads just makes me frustrated and shows how less you really care about your customers. Pretty much everyone who actually uses cellphones agrees that Verizon has better coverage and in general better speed than AT&T in most areas. I mean forget about small-town US. I’m talking San Francisco downtown — the AT&T coverage and 3G speeds are just pathetic.

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One comment

  1. Patrick Verkaik

    I’ve been told that the outcome of such a speed test might depend a lot on the location of the site you access (presumably with respect to where the provider connects to the internet). So accessing a single site on all three networks (as well as from just one location as the video admits) is probably quite flawed. (This doesn’t really detract from your overall point though.)

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