Silly We're-The-Best-Wireless-Network Dispute Moves To Court

from the sue-sue-sue dept

Earlier this month we pointed out how ridiculous it was that every mobile operator in the US seemed to somehow claim their network was technically superior. Each worded the claim slightly differently, because when you define the metrics in your own way, you can make anything come out on top. As we noted, Alltel claimed to have the "largest" network, Verizon "the most reliable," Sprint "the most powerful," and Cingular "the fewest dropped calls." It would appear that there's now a bit of tussling behind the scenes over these claims. Sprint claimed that Cingular's "fewest dropped calls" was false advertising, and complained to the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau. Whatever they concluded is secret -- but it would appear that Cingular came out ahead, as they've now gone and filed a lawsuit so that a judge can claim publicly the fewest dropped calls claim is not misleading, while at the same time saying that Sprint's "most powerful network" is misleading. Isn't there something better these companies can do than waste money on something like this? By this point, everyone knows that all of the different networks have their pros and cons, and no one really cares whose network is the most powerful or has the fewest dropped calls. They want to know if the network works for them, if the plans are reasonable and if the phones are decent. That's it. If one firm has the fewest dropped calls, but I live in a deadzone, I don't care about the advertising campaign. If another firm has the "most powerful network," but the phones suck, it's not going to matter either. Instead of squabbling over ridiculous advertising phrases that no one believes anyway, why not focus on giving customers better service?
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Jim, 26 May 2006 @ 1:57pm

    cell phones

    Awesome, perhaps we can have a government entity that will monitor and report on size, power, and connection?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jrock, 26 May 2006 @ 1:58pm


    My network is the most powerfullest times infinity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Dan, 26 May 2006 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Actually

    Nu-uh!! Mine Is!! ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Matt, 26 May 2006 @ 2:24pm


    Doesn't "The Most Reliable" basically mean the same thing as "The Fewest Dropped Calls"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Slartibartfast, 26 May 2006 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Ummm

    yeah it does, in the real world at least. advertising land has a completely different set of rules.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Bob, 26 May 2006 @ 2:53pm

    Or just get rid of cell phones altogether. We didnt need them 30 years ago and we dont need them now. They are just a nuisance to everyone around the person using them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2006 @ 3:05pm


    cars too. the human race survived for centuries without them. actually, why not get rid of telephones in general? we didn't need them 100 years ago, why do we need them now?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Me, 26 May 2006 @ 3:05pm

    I would still bet 'Bob' owns one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    DittoBox, 26 May 2006 @ 3:21pm

    Re: cell phones

    Oh please. Yet another horrible, payed off and bureaucratic wing of the government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Bob, 26 May 2006 @ 4:48pm

    Cars dont annoy everyone around them unless its those stupid street racer asshats with the loud mufflers. Those should be banned as well. Also I do not and never will have a cell phone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    reply-to-silly-bob, 26 May 2006 @ 5:10pm

    Re: no cell phone

    Luddites exist for everything. "I don't need not stinkn ..." exist for everything. you are taking common courtesy, or the lack there of and associating it with a cell phone.

    The same thing happens when you are having a conversation with someone, and several others or even two other people startup nearby with no regard to the interference with the parties who were already having a conversation.

    I don't agree that you are allowed to set in silence in public and have noone chatting on a phone nearby.

    Nor will you blame distractions on the part of people using cell phones on the phone. It is just another stupid way that senseless people can be distracted and do things like have traffic accidents, or whatever.

    Dumb comment about cell phones.

    the problem commented on by techdirt where Cingular asserts any claim to have good service is silly, as they have been pulling out equipment (at least cellular) rather than installing it. I have a digital / cell phone that has gotten nearly to the point of uselessness, and it would require me to sign a ridiculous contract to get a replacement, when all I wanted was continuing service from the phone. Now I'll never re-sign with them just to have them pull out all the infrastructure for the next phone I get from them in a few years and try to force another contract on me.

    Stupid company (s)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    flan4u, 26 May 2006 @ 5:57pm

    My network is bigger than yours

    All Advertising claims are up for scrutiny and "your results might vary" holds true to all cell phone services.

    If it works for you use it, if not try someone else next time, or pay the early termination to find out that they're all about the same when there is equal tower saturation in a given area.

    I use Cingular even though I am a Bell baby (My dad worked for bell AKA Verizon) and many members of my family use Verizon. The roll-over minutes are great, but not really the selling point for me, the courteous and fast service is nice (and from what I hear, I've been lucky with that), but the biggest selling point and renewal point is that even in the middle of Amish country here in PA, I have only encountered 3 dead zones between here and Philly, the Poconos, and the shores.

    Dropped calls are very rare for me, and no service is even more rare. From the Poconos to southern Maryland or New Jersey, my personal Cingular phone service has out performed my companies Nextel service every time.

    I haven't, and probably won't upgrade my phone for the Cingular PTT feature, but it has to be better than Nextel's. In this area a child's $5.00 walkie talkie works better, but that might just be here.

    Oh and didn't Sprint just change there name to something like Embarg? Or is that just a division of Sprint.

    Stupid "Way back" moment here
    Does anyone remember the time when Sprint wireless was called A9 or circle 9 or something goofy like that? I had that, and their predecessor, and pathetically enough, I still have the brick of a phone they offered. No longer used, but the batter weighs 3 or 4 time more than any modern cell phone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Tim Arview, 26 May 2006 @ 9:06pm

    Well, I'll be...

    Size apparently DOES matter. Who'd have thought?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2006 @ 7:14am

    "My network is the most powerfullest times infinity."

    Is that you, George W?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2006 @ 7:14am

    "My network is the most powerfullest times infinity."

    Is that you, George W?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Tech - Head, 29 May 2006 @ 4:43am

    Re: My network is bigger than yours

    Embarq is the local service spin off company, a by product of the Sprint/Nextel Merger.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    icepick314, 29 May 2006 @ 8:22am


    any advertisements can get around ANY claim with those fine prints at the bottom...

    "Actual milage may vary"...."This suit does not make you fly"..."Do not attempt this stunt"...."The content may be hot"...ect ect ect

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Nate, 30 May 2006 @ 9:02am

    The largest, but you've never heard of them

    Alltel is the “largest”? I’ve never heard of them. I guess you can be the largest without being in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago…

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Jeff, 27 Jun 2006 @ 11:02pm

    RE: agreed

    I dropped Cingular after being with them for almost 15 years. I live in South Florida which has an overwhelming amount of problems ever since Cingular and AT&T merged. I was losing calls, having to dial 4 or 5 times to get thru. They claimed it was my phone, so I reluctantly upgraded to a Razr (forced to another contract). The problems got worse.

    I ended up cancelling my contract and switched to Verizon. I haven't had one dropped call with them and pleased with their service. I have to laugh every time I see the Cingular commercial with "fewest dropped calls". Everyone that I know who has Cingular in South Florida is living a nightmare - something that CIngular fails to mention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    JUAN REYNOSO, 29 Jun 2006 @ 8:34pm





    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Dani, 7 Jul 2006 @ 7:57am

    Re: RE: agreed

    Funny thing you being with Cingular for 15 years...Cingular has only been around since January 2001...They were originally CellularOne...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Ryan, 25 Jul 2006 @ 5:50pm

    Re: RE: agreed

    YES! Cingular is HORRIABLE in south florida, Driving from Ft. Lauderdale to west Palm, on a single call, I would drop the call at least 10 times.. EACH DAY.. They claimed it was the phone.... I went thru 5 phones... My contract ended, I moved to verizon, guess what, Miami to West Palm on the same call, never onced dropped, ever... I would see the sign on the Turnpike "Fewest dropped calls" right as my calls would drop. Horrible way to do business if you ask me... Fewest dropped calls, maybe in another city but not in South FLA!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    anonymous chick, 3 Aug 2006 @ 11:43am

    cell service

    I have been with sprint for 7yrs. very few dropped calls. travel the east coast and great reception throughout.{ except WV hills}. I have no complaints....except for their boring phones. I want...pizzazz !!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    clarence windsor, 3 Sep 2006 @ 8:59pm

    alltel bill

    the past 4 months i have been charge for calls i did not make from detroit, wv, ky , and also have been charge for data calls that i did not make im not talking just a few im talking hunderds of them total more then $500.00 when i called to dispute it they pretty much told me tuff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2006 @ 11:31am


    until he is old and needs a pre paid for emergencys like all the other elderly people becuase cellular service bends you over 12 times a year. :-P

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Nikos, 10 Nov 2006 @ 5:30am

    Sprint Customer

    The cellular phone infrastructure in the US sucks. Due to their capitalistic system, they started having cell phones here in the US a long time ago starting with an analog infrastructure. Now that technology has advanced, they are trying to migrate into a digital infrastructure, however the cost of switching from analog to digital is to large for the companies to handdle. So who pays for that price? Us the customers. In europe they never had an analog infrastructure and they went straight into digital. The phones, the receptions and the plans are amazing. I mean here you have to pay extra for everything, where as in Europe everything is included in your plan (3way calling, texting, internet, email etc.). I have Sprint and they suck big time. We recently moved to a new apartment in Boston and I have absolutely NO reception on my phone. I literally have to leave my apartment, walk 2 blocks just so I can get 2 reception bars on my phone. When I called Sprint to complain their answer was "Since we don't guarantee reception inside buildings, there is not much we can do for you". Now why don't the sales reps tell you that when you go to a Sprint store to purchase a phone and a plan? Bad for business right? But it is mentioned in the plan contract. Yes that paperweight thing that no one reads? SPRINT SUCKS AND SO DO ALL THE CELLULAR COMPANIES IN THE US. Unfortunately they have us all by the balls, cause we live in times where everyone needs a cell phone and they need us the customers to pay for their infrastructure switch from analog to digital. By the way if they tell you that everything is digital it's a LIE. Nothing is 100% digital yet in the US!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    DP, 20 Dec 2006 @ 7:04pm


    I Just Turned 17 toda, and my parents got me my first cell phone when i was in 6th grade, because i would always have after school practice for band, or afterschool meetings, and since my parents where self employed they really couldn't stay at the school and wait for me...Anyways Back in 6th Grade i had that Cheap 3600 Nokia i think, it was the ones that you paid 1 cent for, but you had to sign a contract, but whatever thats pointless the service was Bellsouth, and the Service was awesome, there was no such thing as a dropped call, but then really bad thing happened, Bellsouth changed there Cell phone department to Cingular, which caused me to have to get a sony ericcson, it was alright, it was a color phone back then that was pretty high tech, service was good, then ATT was merged into cingular....that sadly was the End...Dropped calls became a regular thing, instead of admitting that there service was sh** the blamed it on the phone, i got so many phones that cingular, started paying for my phone bill, that stoped finally, after 2 years of this crap, they finally fixed there problem, and now no more dropped calls for me...but now...there killing me witht the phone bill im a kid and, my plan is 59.99= plus taxes and other crap which comes up to like 78.38 a month, thats way to high thats the 1st plan plan from being basic and i have nothing but there phone service no text or other stuff like that, i really wanted to get tex but that drives me to 103.00 a month just for one line...any suggestions???

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Ahsan Farooqi, 22 Feb 2007 @ 6:17am

    Wireless Network

    I have a Queary regarding Wireless(LinkSys~others) Network AND Wired(CAT6~5e) Network. i am using wired network right now as a network administrator we have many small setup on different location, and our company is spending a lot of money just on wire set utilities, which is not use full when the project is ended all wire is wasted and we cannot use on other setup.
    what i want is to make a wireless network to reuse the same equipemnt on other project. but the main use is we cannot have a proper communication as far as internet is concern we r use wireless divice for it but we cannot use a wireless divies for LAN network and company systems which is sensitive when the link is broken or the link is less in speed performance.
    What do u guys think what we have to do we r scard to make wireless network for LAN + Internet+ Compnay software. we have good servers (dell) and can spend money on wireless but still we dont go for it just bcoz of low speed or link broken.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    t-bonz, 28 Feb 2007 @ 8:56pm


    I had Cingular and switched BECAUSE I had too many dropped calls. They have the fewest dropped calls because they have
    the most dropped customers.
    Less customers = less dropped calls

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Maria, 27 Mar 2007 @ 11:40am

    I need help

    I have the same problem as yours and verizon has over charged me by 1300 and also have sent my account to collection. It is ridiculus. Which court did you submit your dispute to? Can you help me on that. DId it desolve for you? THank you bye

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    chris freeman, 7 Jun 2007 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Wireless Network

    you say you have "good servers" and then say Dell? sorry you have the "Cheapest crap money can Buy" Price isn't everything. IBM, HP, Sun. Those are good servers. Enterprise servers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Janet, 6 Oct 2007 @ 10:15am

    Cingular/AT&T connection problems

    We've had Cingular for several years and seldom had trouble connecting or having calls dropped. Ever since the merger with AT&T, my husband can no longer call from inside his place of employment, which is only a mile away. He has to go outside to the loading dock. We can no longer call each other from inside some of our favorite shopping places when we get separated. Also, calls are going directly to voice mail without ringing first. We've looking for another carrier.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)


Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.