Verizon Roshambos AT&T 3G Coverage with "There's a Map for That!"

Verizon gave AT&T a Cartman-esque Roshambo last night with their new, mockingly phrased "there's a map for that" TV commercial, an obvious take off of Apple's "there's an app for that" at the expense of AT&T's smaller 3G coverage footprint.

CDMA has the advantage of covering more territory with fewer towers, though it has some drawbacks too -- like no simultaneous voice and data using current implementations. However, we're not sure how funny a commercial would be showing frustrated Verizon users who's 3G coverage dies every time the phone rings. Then again...

Of course, if Verizon ever gets the iPhone 3GS, or the mythical iTablet, we're guessing they'll have to pick another AT&T device to make fun of.

Now excuse AT&T if they go jump up and down a few times, we've heard that can stop the pain and tears...

[via 9to5mac]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Verizon Roshambos AT&T 3G Coverage with "There's a Map for That!"


Hilarious!! Wow, that map really shows how pathetic AT&T is.. But it also shows how jealous Verizon is about the success of the iPhone app store.. Either way, I'm happy to be in Canada, where the best network has the iPhone :)

Yea I saw this last night it's very funny! " if u need to change phones there is a sim card for that, Att more choices better phones!" LOL

I've Only Been Without 3G Service On My iPhone In My School's Science Building's Basement. One Place I Never Had Coverage (Also A Basement), Just Got 3-5 Bars of 3G Service. Sprint and Verizon Dead In Both Places.

When I first saw this last night I thought they were saying "app" then got it on the last one when they put up the 3G coverage area. Boom.

Lmfao. That is so sad that try couldn't figure out their own Ideas for a commercial. I think that add only reminds me more of the apple commercials.

Keep in mind, most of the users are concentrated in the population centers and travel corridors which are covered by 3G. The remainder have 2G service almost everywhere else.
That said, it is a good use of the map by Verizon as many people misread the map and infer no coverage in the non-3G areas and disregard lower population density there.

@Will same thing with me. I was at my graduation and we all had to wait in a room that wasn't even a foot below level. Everyone in the room lost service except me and anyone with AT&T.
However, in some cases some verizon users get service underground on the LIRR commuter train and NYC subway.

@mike, lucky me being on the east coast where they have the most 3G coverage. I rarely have a problem with coverage. Most of MD where I live now has it, at least the important places.

@Will..remember that there's no standard to gauge signal strength with bars on the phone's screen. I'm convinced Apple lowered their standard with 2.2. I went from 2-3 bars everywhere to 5 in my basement...where my speeds slowed to a crawl.
Ferniem..relax dude, get off Fastlane's nuts.

"how sad 70 million plus subscribers and most of them get subpar service at hight prices"
You mean like no international roam and no simultaneous data and voice? :) Locked down Wifi and GPS and carrier branded "content" decks? I'm laughing my arse off that VZW announced Android stuff today... they are the antithesis of what Android is about. The VZW map appears to be their generic voice coverage map and not their 3G and/or 3G data map. Exaggeration, thy name is VZW.

I normally get great service on my iPhone but when I'm at a concert or game with lots of people AT&T basically shuts down. Couldnt even send a text during the Colts game this week but guy in front of me with verizon was sending pics and twittering the whole time.

@Jamin I don't have that problem where I am now, but used to see that on VZW where I used to live (didn't see it on ATT there, either) [MPLS vs NY/NJ].

Saw this last night. Great commercial. Verizon seems to be taking from the apple playbook here in terms of keeping things simple though biting. Luckily where I am AT&T has been quite good. No real issues. Still it's the first commercial from an apple competitor ( at least indirectly). That really works. Microsoft and palm can certainly learn something...

23rd post haha...does anyone care? I prefer t-mobile over AT&T it's cheaper yes no 3G oh well it was spotty anyways in my area phone calls were static & the 3G seemed as fast as edge so no love lost w no 3G great commercial

Amazing... Verizon just announced they have partnered with Android for (2) phones on their network. Guess what, Google Voice will be allowed!!!!!! Thanks Apple :(

Their map contradicts AT&T's 3G coverage map.. so it should be interesting if a law suit is launched from this.
@Jamin: Really? Not to be a dick but your story sounds like something a VzW rep would post... So its hard to believe especially since i have never had any of the problems at any concert or game i have ever been at.

i have to agree with VZ here iphone withough 3g is worthless... i was just in NC this past week and the only thing i could do on my iphone was make calls and that was spotty at best.... PLEASE VZ BRING THE IPHONE OVER

I wonder if the mockery will upset Apple, and push back a release date, if any that would have been coming to Verizon.. Apple has a lot of pride, too much you may say.. and this kind of thing pokes fun at them, and AT&T.. not a smart move by Verizon.

Just got my first bill from Verizon FIOS TV/internet.
With my 99$ plan my bill was 179$
This is verizon ... this is JUST how they @#@3ing are... and i'm sick of it.
Why did i sign up for FIOS? i don't even know i guess i was stupid enough to think i wouldn't have to put up with this bull crap with the TV/internet package...
Guess i was wrong.
Oh wait does it say on my bill?? pretty much nothing, there's no explaination, they just duplicated the first item line and added $ to it. This is typical verizon bill bull crap.
You guys can say what you want to say about ATT's coverage, but with my iPhone? my ATT bill has been the EXACT SAME $ amount every single month... and i'll take that over better coverage ANY DAY.
@#@#ing hate verizon! ><

iPhoneMilk, had the same issue with my Fios bill when I had it installed 3+ years ago. Very common. Called them up and they fixed it. Service has been rock solid since and it gets a workout as I work from home. Haven't missed DSL or cable at all. FiOS Cust Svc rivals Apple, IMO. Can't say the same for VZW.

They didn't have to do AT&T like that that's messed up )~; I still Love my iPhone tho so it don't matter LOL

My question is this: what does Verizon consider 3g coverage? If I understand it correctly Verizon 3g doesn't have the same theoretical maximum bandwidth as AT&T 3g. I wonder if Verizon is saying that 3g is all of the data on their network including non-broadband wireless data. I'd be willing to be that's the case. Although I don't doubt that Verizon's network is more robust than AT&T 5x the broadband coverage seems doubtful.

1...Misael Ruiz....good job kiddo. Im glad you actually accomplished being first at something in life. Now, eat you alphabet soup and then we'll let you ride your tricycle...but nex time use the pedals instead of foot peddling.
2...Ferniem27....sshhh.....don't look but your ignorance and jealous is showing. Don't worry, if you change your name now, no one will recognize you as the tard who posts unintelligent comments. You're dismissed...
3...Call Verizon pathetic all your want...but good marketing strategy. Nice way to deterrent potential customers who are in those areas with no 3G coverage and who are still on the ropes on which carrier to pick. And nice way to upset and provoke those who do have trouble with their coverage in their area to consider potential switching.
This is nothing brand new. Apple likes to take their marketing strategy head on with PC's and show their superiority. It's worked to some degree for them

@ iPhoneMilk
yeah i'll never go to Verizon. I don't care if they get the iPhone tomorrow. But i would love an iPhone on sprint or tmobile

I saw the ad a couple times last night. On the one hand it makes Verizon look a little desperate (sort of like Microsoft with the "I'm a PC" ads), but on the other hand it's kinda true, and I'm in favor of anything that pressures AT&T into improving their service. Competition in the wireless market is good for all of us on all networks.
A few years ago there was nothing like the iPhone on any carrier and now everybody is racing to catch up. AT&T had really sucky coverage and they've improved quite a bit. Verizon wouldn't even let you use bluetooth on a phone, never mind wifi. So I'm all for watching them duke it out over the iPhone, since it's given us better products than we had before, on both carriers.

@ smchrist2
Well I live in DFW metroplex (and I have Verizon) and their coverage basically does cover most of Texas. I've been to san Antonio with it, Austin, Lubbock and Abiline (where AT&T is terrible), el paso, Houston, padre island, even as far down as Brownsville and Eagle pass and always had great coverage. Even in shit hole towns where my tmobile and AT&T buddies lose signal, which does me no good to have signal if I can't call them from the corner store to see if they want miller light or bud light. Texas is big and I have family all over it.drove to san Diego and always had signal, even thru Arizona.That's why I went with them after I ended my AT&T contract. My iphone was useless to me. My uncle has had AT&T for 50 years!( ok maybe I exaggerated lol) but his major complaint is dropped calls even in a big metroplex like DFW.

"how funny a commercial would be showing frustrated Verizon users who’s 3G coverage dies every time the phone rings"
kinda like the frustrated iPhone user who's app closes every time the phone rings...
I'm not sure how you would use the data connection while talkin on the phone anyways.

Looks like Verizon is claiming CDMA 1x to be "3G". That's really stretching the truth a bit.
EDGE is about the same speed!

@frog, no it's not.... verizon's red area is the actual CDMA EVDO 3G coverage, not just 1x..
I think verizon has EVDO (3G) in every tower they have installed in the country. lol.

This commerical is kind of funny but regardless of which carrier has a larger footprint. One does need to choose a service that works in their area and areas most travelled. And not even VZ can say they work everywhere.
@frog If VZ is comparing 3G networks then it should be EVDO vs HSPA. In which case HSPA is superior in tha fact that it does simultanious voice and data. Whereas EVDO functions like EDGE which can only do one or the other. Which is why the commerical shows people surfing the web and not talking on the phone at the same time or vice versa.
@Kels Not sure how you'd use data and voice together. I use it frequently by putting my iPhone on speaker phone or using a Bluetooth headset and give someone directions over the phone using the Maps application or to continue searching for something on the internet during my conversation.

I was in the cities (Minneapolis/st. paul) with 3G on my phone, and I have to say I had better service up north with my 2G network. My internet was slow, MMS was slower, and even texting sucked. Way too many people using the same cell network.


I’m not sure how you would use the data connection while talkin on the phone anyways.

Just today, I was posting on Facebook, when suddenly my phone rang causing Facebook to close. Since I had my Bluetooth to answer the call, and Backgrounder enabled, I simply reopened Facebook during my call and finished my half-written post which was still there waiting.
Coudn't have been simpler.

I believe Verizon's characterization of AT&T's coverage is misleading. This would be no surprise, considering it's a Verizon commercial. Most ads can be boiled down to "we're great...out competitors suck". The one thing I find interesting about Verizon's AT&T map is that it shows essentially no coverage in Montana and North Dakota, to pick out two examples. Verizon sold capacity in those two states to AT&T earlier this year.
The blue map can't be right.

they wont be the number two carrier in the usa if vzw keeps shedding customers to them like they are currently

verizon is so full of shit i live in the dc/md area and i have the shitty storm aka the iphone's retarded brother and neither 3g or 2g work when u try to use 3g it connects to at@t for 30 seconds and when u try 2g there goes tmobile for 30 second then there is no signal at all and if your so 3g how the hell does calls drop in front of the fucking store 6 more months and im gone.

@ Socorro John
In reference to your stated DFW metroplex ATT coverage....bull shiz!!!! I have ATT and have not had ANY dropped calls!!! Maybe my iPhone takes priority!!! Your 50 years on ATT comment proves you have a flare for the DRAMATIC. Oh and try reading this post or browsing this page while on a boring conference call with one of your buds on VZW!!! Hahaha... Can't do it can you??

Still wish I was on Verizon or Sprint. Love my iPhone as long as I'm home. Even still, AT&T is the only phone service I've ever had that works flawlessy in my house. On the downside, when ever I go anywhere else it sucks.

The only reason Verizon is so "great" is because Verizon Wireless/Vodaone (55%/45%) have the cash to buy out smaller competetors. Like Alltel, with 15 million costomers, before it was bought out. And Qwest Wireless Comunications which 1.2 million costomers, before THEY were bought out.
But what I want to stress is how important the alltel purchase was. Alltell covered 34 states focusing on small to medium size cities providing wireless services to residential and business people. And had a wireless coverage footprint comprising the largest network in the United States by area. Verizon has money. And the've used it well.

I find it interesting that the Verizon map covers very scarcely populated areas like all of south and north dakota, death valley, mojave desert, and many more. This is clearly a lie because if they carried out 3g service to these areas where nobody lives they would be losing money left and right.

People care about saving money now days, and paying $30.00 extra for stupid phone internet its not even worth-it.I got 2 Unlocked Nokia phones from T-Mobile with 2,000 minutes and internet for$89.99 and NO one can give you that...

Where can I find the coverage maps for Verizon 3G and AT&T 3G in the USA?
(I don't need to see the ones in the commercial... I need the REAL ones.)

I have at&T in a verizon area on top of a mountain. How do I get my phone to use the verizon signal? I know one of you know. Please help. This is Orange County, CA, btw. Thanks

"However, we’re not sure how funny a commercial would be showing frustrated Verizon users who’s 3G coverage dies every time the phone rings. Then again…"
Before you go getting all defensive because you overpay for you iPhone that does everything, but nothing well, you might want to look up at the screen when you type. Those green lines indicate a grammar error. In this case, "who's" should be "whose".

@Lolipopjones: jamin is right. Picture it: Saturday, August 1, Chicago. Largest street festival in the midwest. About 120000 people flock down to enjoy the festivities, where I would say that probably close to 50% of the people own iPhone 3G phones. Those with their phones locked to the 3G network and preventing EDGE traffic lose function completely. No phone calls, no texts, nothing.
Many people living in these high-coverage areas tend to prevent EDGE because they can. But, look out with high-traffic days.
I do not own an iPhone, but use AT&T. If I have troubles with 3G, which occasionally does happen, I just use the EDGE network. Works every time, and what's more important: using your phone with high-speed data, or using your phone at all? I'll take the latter, thanks.
I, personally, like AT&T. Had VZW with work, HATED IT.

@FormCodeWizard: Switch your iPhone to allow usage of the EDGE network as well and you can do what you need. You will NOT be able to make calls and use data simultaneously, but if you have a dead iPhone outside of a 3G area, this will make it work again.
Sorry folks... this goes for any GSM 3G phone. If you force UMTS (3G) service only, you'll find yourself without service if you go to remote areas and it will be painful!!

I live in the Virgin Islands and there is no Verizon there only sprint and AT&T and AT&T has the best 3g coverage

What they dont tell you is that the so-called att map is from 2 years ago. They are currently getting sued for the bad info. On top of that verizons 3g has no where near the speed of att's 3G.

Verizon lies big time. First their maps are not right if you compair them to the FCC maps of in service towers. AT&A has more coverage area than they show. Plus AT&A towers can handel more calls and 3g service also to included all services. The FTC and the FCC should look into this advertising by verizon and verizon should be fined. Plus Verizon charges you more than AT&T for the services, Do not be folled and if you have and do not like the service all you have to do is file compantes with both the FCC and FTC along with your state AG ( asimple letter will do) and they will have to let you out of your contract. I have been in broadcasting for 30 years and have worked with compaines and their advertising, I will never let Verizon on any of my TV or Radio stations for their falst advertising.

Well living in the big cities is never really a problem with either 3G service. The REAL problem I have found is with T-Mobile (they use older towers) that keeps getting dropped calls and crappy Edge signal. That explains the lower price (did not like their customer service either.)
I think At&t has the necessary technology to keep up with the competitors, and the iPhone (no matter where it will go) still is a great piece of technology, and quite reliable (for the exception of some software updates in the past). I have tried the Blackberry Storm and honestly it froze on me or was really not as responsive.
Also, aside from all 3G coverage, At&t still gets really good network extension.

Obviously this commerical has stirred up the cell phone industry. I think the best part of the whole ad, is that it focuses on idiots, like 50% of the people in this post, who do not know what the difference between data and voice coverage are. 3G is DATA. It has nothing to do with voice. or 2G. or 2.5G etc.. it focuses on comparing 3G. So, for the people who are dumb, it looks like the blank spaces have no coverage, whereas they do not have 3G coverage. They might have 2G or something else but NOT 3G. Also, AT&T is not suing for false information. It's for the information that is misleading because they know most of the people in America are dumb and will assume they have no coverage in those areas, and leave AT&T or not pick them at all.