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AT&T continues to counter Verizon claims as Apple enters ad fray


Apple Monday night will debut new ads that tout the ability of the iPhone to browse the Web and handle calls at the same time, as AT&T this weekend continued to expand its advertising campaign that aims to "set the record straight" about its coverage.

Apple's two new TV spots show off the iPhone receiving e-mails and checking movie times while on a phone call. AT&T's UMTS/GSM network allows simultaneous voice and data connections, which Verizon's CDMA network does not.

According to BusinessWeek, the two ads will debut Monday evening during the shows "House" on Fox, "Dancing With the Stars" on ABC, and "How I Met Your Mother" on CBS.

The advertisements represent an indirect entry by Apple into the ongoing spat between Verizon and AT&T. In a series of holiday ads, Verizon has suggested that the iPhone is held back by an inferior 3G network.

The e-mail ad begins with a business-related scenario, portraying a situation where a caller is on a phone call with a client who asks, "Did you see my e-mail?" Apple of late has made progress in the enterprise market with the iPhone, despite its lack of a physical keyboard being perceived by some as a disadvantage for business users.

In addition, a pair of new AT&T commercials were in heavy rotation over the weekend, with actor Luke Wilson returning to state that AT&T's cell phone coverage reaches 97 percent of all Americans. The ad acknowledges Verizon and its recent attacks from the start.

"Recently Verizon has been making a big deal about maps," he says, standing atop a coverage map of the U.S. "I'm here to set the record straight."

Wilson then begins going through a list of cities where AT&T has coverage, represented by postcards he begins to rifle through. The first 30-second spot fades out with the actor and spokesman continuing his list.

As it aired over the weekend, the commercial would return later in the break with a second 30-second spot for "part two." Wilson eventually becomes visibly exasperated as the list of cities continues to mount. "I think we get the picture," he says, throwing postcards into the air.

Last week, AT&T debuted its first ad with Wilson in response to Verizon's claims. The commercial debuted as AT&T was hit with a setback in its lawsuit against Verizon over the competitor's "There's a map for that" ads. AT&T had hoped to have the commercials pulled from the air, but a federal judge denied that request.

Unlike the first ad with Wilson, the two-part "Postcards" spot that premiered over the weekend does not focus on 3G coverage. Instead, it simply speaks to cell phone coverage.