Verizon vs. AT&T: There’s a map for that

UPDATE: Since this was posted, AT&T has sued Verizon in a U.S. District Court, claiming false advertising and petitioning for restraining orders that would keep this ad off the air. See here.

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Borrowing a line from Apple's (aapl) "There's an app for that" TV ad campaign, Verizon (vz) launched a high-profile attack on rival AT&T (t) last night in the middle of Monday Night Football's Viking-Packer game.

"If you want to know why some people have spotty 3G coverage," goes the voice over, as a scruffy-looking character frowns at his iPhone. "There’s a map for that."

A YouTube version of the ad -- captured, ironically, on an iPhone 3GS -- is pasted below the fold.

The campaign begins at a moment of high drama in the smartphone wars. It was launched on the eve of a Tuesday morning press conference at which Verizon discussed its plans to compete against Apple with devices running Google's (goog) Android operating system. (See here.)

And it follows both a new wave of complaints about AT&T's sluggish service and a widely-read estimate by Morgan Stanley that if Apple were to sell the iPhone through both AT&T and Verizon, its share of the U.S. handset market could rise from less than 5% today to more than 12%. (See here.)

Below: Verizon's new TV ad.

See also:

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