AT&T is relying on data from a questionable — and self-commissioned — study to once again claim the title of “Nation’s Fastest Network” in a pair of new ads. The general theme with these latest backhanded attacks against its rivals is that using slower networks could lead to uncomfortable situations among coworkers: he who gets the data first is at an advantage in the social jungle, while being last could mean risking an embarrassing blunder. The campaign follows both Verizon’s post-3G LTE launch yesterday, as well as a series of T-Mobile commercials that painted AT&T’s network as a burden on the back of the iPhone.
The nation’s second-largest carrier is using data from a study by testing firm Global Wireless Solutions, which concluded that its “nearest competitor (is) running 20 percent slower than AT&T on average nationally, and our largest competitor by subscriber count (is) running 60 percent slower than AT&T on average nationally.” So in case it wasn’t obvious, the key terminology here is “on average nationally,” meaning that it’s quite possible that AT&T isn’t actually faster anywhere, but simply blankets enough people to enable a claim of fastest downstream per American covered. In other words, there are about a million ways to spin these numbers so that your company comes out on top — and with all three of its competitors now offering higher peak download speeds, AT&T has now moved on to trying to convince consumers that lower-but-consistent bandwidth trumps the supposed unpleasantness of segueing between 3G and 4G coverage.