Verizon shoots first in '5G ad war' against rival T-Mobile
Verizon put out a video Saturday stating its 4G network is more than twice as fast as T-Mobile's 5G network. The move comes less than 24 hours after T-Mobile released its 5G-focused Super Bowl commercial.
Verizon's ad marks the first time it has specifically gone after rival T-Mobile’s 5G network since the “un-carrier” became the first company to offer nationwide 5G coverage. It’s also perhaps the first shot in the so-called “battle for 5G dominance,” where carriers T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T are poised to spend billions in advertising convincing consumers that their 5G network is best.
Including Sprint, which T-Mobile is poised to acquire, the big four collectively spent $3 billion in measured media in 2018, according to the most recent figures from Ad Age Datacenter.
Andrew McKechnie, chief creative officer at Verizon, says the company didn't hold the video until Saturday in anticipation of T-Mobile releasing its Super Bowl spot early. Instead, he said Verizon is "educating" the public about what 5G can achieve, a message it intends to share in its Super Bowl ad on Sunday.
"There is a lot of confusion in the marketplace," says McKechnie. "We’re constantly educating consumers on not only what 5G will do, but that not everything being called 5G has actual 5G performance."
T-Mobile’s Big Game commercial has comedian Anthony Anderson switch his mother's cell phone plan from Verizon to T-Mobile because “it’s the only one to offer nationwide 5G.”
Verizon has yet to roll out its nationwide 5G network. The company is testing its capabilities across more than a dozen cities, but it doesn’t have a “nationwide 5G network” just yet—a distinction T-Mobile is clearly taking advantage of ahead of the Big Game.
One of the biggest 5G challenges facing both Verizon and AT&T is the type of frequencies they each have available to deploy coverage. Both can deliver ridiculous speeds, but their coverage is spotty. John Legere, T-Mobile CEO, yesterday put out a press release that included a link to a video showing how an umbrella could block out Verizon’s 5G signal.
Meanwhile, each company is running a single Super Bowl ad tomorrow; AT&T isn’t airing a commercial while Sprint is sitting out after making four consecutive appearances. Verizon distributed its video on Saturday across social media platforms.