Verizon and AT&T have been battling it out over who has the best 3G coverage. By now you’ve seen Verizon Wireless’ several commercials — their “There’s A Map For That” campaign — calling out AT&T for their spotty 3G coverage.

Verizon’s commercials — five of them in all — have irked AT&T to the point of lawsuit mentality. AT&T is suing Verizon, calling their ads “false” and “misleading.” Verizon doesn’t seem very worried, responding bluntly to say the least.

“AT&T did not file this lawsuit because Verizon’s ‘There’s A Map For That’ advertisements are untrue; AT&T sued because Verizon’s ads are true and the truth hurts,” Verizon said.

So, what does all this mean for your techie-, smartphone-buying holiday plans? Comparing the two companies’ coverage areas side-by-side will help you choose the right carrier for your new smartphone service.

AT&T’s wireless network covers pretty much all of the continental U.S. But, most of the coverage isn’t 3G — it’s AT&T’s EDGE service, a much slower, 2.5G network.

Rumors are swirling over Verizon’s plans to start selling iPhones on their network next year. If Apple’s hot smartphone product is what you’re after, you’re stuck with AT&T for now. If what you really want is expanded 3G coverage, you’ll have to choose another phone and go with Verizon.

Verizons self-reported 3G coverage vs. their depiction of AT&Ts 3G coverage.
Verizon's self-reported 3G coverage vs. their depiction of AT&T's 3G coverage.
AT&Ts self-reported data networks, showing 3G in blue.
AT&T's self-reported data networks, showing 3G in blue.
AT&Ts self-reported combined data network, including 3G and the slower EDGE and GPRS networks.
AT&T's self-reported combined data network, including 3G and the slower EDGE and GPRS networks.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.