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Friday, February 04, 2011, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

AT&T, Verizon fighting for iPhone 4 users in new ads

Apple's two US carriers are now fighting to sell users on their version of the iPhone 4, with Verizon touting its network capacity while AT&T stresses network speeds and simultaneous voice and data

Verizon Wireless brought its iconic "can you hear me now?" network technician character back for an iPhone 4 spot that makes no actual mention of "iPhone 4," simply showing beauty shot pictures of the unnamed device while dramatic music plays, before cutting to employee answering the phone and saying, "yes, I can hear you now."

Meanwhile, AT&T has launched a new ad that never names Verizon nor even the iPhone during a scene that depicts a man working late in the office as his wife calls with a reminder of their anniversary. While talking to her, the husband hastily performs a search for "fine dining," and scrambles to assure her that he hasn't forgotten and is on the way.

Only at the end of the spot does a narrator say "only AT&T's network let your iPhone talk and surf at the same time," a swipe at Verizon's CDMA EVDO network, which does not allow users to access data while on a call.

Fighting for the phone





Verizon's new "Does"

Prior to Verizon's announcement of an agreement with Apple to carry iPhone 4, the two carriers were pitting rival equipment against each other, with AT&T touting the iPhone while Verizon pushed RIM's BlackBerry Storm through 2009, and then focused its marketing muscle on Android-based phones throughout 2010.

Last year, Verizon's Droid campaign listed a series of unique features that Android phones from HTC and Motorola held over the iPhone 3GS, noting on its website, "It does fast processing. Does swap batteries. Does run thousands of Android™ apps at break-neck speeds." The Droid Does campaign also touted multitasking, notifications, hi-res displays, and Google services unique to Android, including the company's turn by turn Google Maps Navigation and speech recognition features.

Apple's iOS 4.0 and the launch of iPhone 4 last summer erased most of the advantages being offered by Verizon's Droid models, a factor that, along with the unique strengths of the iOS platform, appeared to sour Verizon on a Droid-centric smartphone strategy going forward.

Both AT&T and Verizon are also promoting competing phones that use Android, particularly in their efforts to sell users new "4G" data network service in the second half of this year. Apple's current iPhone 4 model does can not take advantage of Verizon's new LTE data service now being built out, nor does it make full use of AT&T's new HSPA+ service.

Neither providers' new "4G" networks currently offer data service beyond a few limited deployment areas, and neither AT&T's upcoming Motorola ATRIX 4G nor any of Verizon's new crop of LTE phones are yet available, leaving the two largest US carriers to promote iPhone 4 in connection with the relative strengths of their two rival networks.